What's a common idiom that advises against being results-oriented? It should essentially mean "focus on the journey, not the destination". In a cliché fairy tale, this idiom could be the moral of the story.

This comic kind of describes the idiom I'm looking for.

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4 Answers 4


The classic Latin phrase for living for the present, not the future, is "carpe diem" or "seize the day."

A widespread English idiom (if a bit dated) for living in the present is "gather rosebuds" -- best known in Robert Herrick's line "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may".

The more recent version of that is a travel metaphor of the kind you seem to be lookin for: on your journey, don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

However, you may also want to consider the more direct: "life is a journey, not a destination." It is commonly mis-attributed as a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, who never wrote it although he shared similar sentiments. There is a great investigation of related quotations down through the years from Quote Investigator.


One such proverb is "getting there is half the fun." People who believe this believe that the process is at least as important as the outcome.


How about can't see the forest [or wood] for the trees?

The Free Dictionary:

not see the forest [or wood] for the trees: to pay too much attention to details and not understand the general situation

In your comic, the treasure represents the trees (the details, the desired outcome or result), and friendship represents the forest (the general situation, the bigger picture). The characters were so focused on finding the treasure that they couldn't see the real treasure.

Being overly results-oriented is one way of not being able to see the forest for the trees.

Edit: Another possibility, which I mentioned in a comment, is live for the moment.

From The Free Dictionary:

live for the moment: to live only for the pleasures of the present time without planning for the future

Living for the moment is inherently "against being results oriented", at least against those results that cannot be achieved instantly or without even an epsilon of planning. By the same token, "planning" is inherently results oriented, about achieving a result at some point in the future.

While living for the moment fits your question title well, and could be used to express the importance of the journey as opposed to the destination, it doesn't capture the essence of your comic all that well -- a bit of a disconnect there. Not seeing the forest for the trees works better for the comic.


The idiom "give it your best shot" summarizes the sense of putting one's best effort regardless of the perceived chances of succeeding.


give it your best shot
to do something as well as you possibly can, although you are not sure whether you will be able to succeed

Greg will be a tough opponent to beat, but I'll give it my best shot.

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