From my own 193-country journey to the stories of many other people who were kindly willing to share, The Happiness of Pursuit attempts to extract and convey the lessons of modern-day quests. This series explores some of these lessons.
Lesson: Before Beginning, Count the Cost.
In the early days of my journey to every country, someone criticized it by saying all it required was a certain amount of time and money. I later realized that this perspective could actually be helpful. If I clearly understood exactly what was involved in “going everywhere,” and if I then began working on each part of the goal step-by-step, it no longer seemed overwhelming.
In the case of going to every country, I had to answer a few basic questions:
- How much money?
- How much time?
- What are the other costs?
- What could go wrong along the way?
- What could go right?
In the book I told the story of Matt Krause, who walked across Turkey. Matt was a meticulous planner (far more than me!) and created detailed spreadsheets in advance of his quest.
I don’t think everyone needs to create detailed spreadsheets before setting out to pursue a big goal or change the world. But thinking through as many details as possible helps a lot.
Whatever you choose to do, count the cost before beginning.