Americans are goal-driven. At work, we focus on getting the project DONE. At school, it's about doing what we need to do to get that "A". We're constantly working towards that next promotion, that next job, the next thing. Always the next thing.
But what about the process of getting there? What about all the steps we take in the middle while we waiting for that next big thing? The next outcome?
That's where the learning happens.
It's not the promotion or the "A" that makes us any more valuable. It's how we judge our success in life, but in and of itself, those things are only markers. They signify the end of a process, the attainment of a goal.
It's the learning, the growing, the ability to solve problems that makes us become more. When we allow ourselves to be okay with the process, with doing the work we don't necessarily want to, when we read the studies and write the papers, we are expanding. And that's practically magic.
We want to get happy so we throw ourselves at therapy, support groups, whatever to get to that mysterious place. But we don't stop to savor the joys of discovery. We don't allow ourselves the childlike wonder of finding knowledge. And so we miss most of the message (and in the case of finding happiness, probably don't find as rich or deep a happiness as we really wanted).
Enjoy the process. You are moving in the direction of everything you are going to be, believe that. Stopping to revel in the beauty of the place that you are will not slow you down.