On Achieving My Goals: The Lesson of the Sand Castle

Updated: April 20, 2011

There are two things that Filipinos will be doing in the next few days.

They’ll either go out of town and spend time on the beach to have fun…

Or they’ll spend it reflecting upon the lessons of the Lenten Season.

Since I did the former last year, I’ve decided to stay in Manila this year and have a quiet Holy Week.

And to aptly set things for me, I received this guest post a few hours ago which made me realize how important it is to also appreciate the “journey” and the “process” rather than just the “destination” and the “result”.

To give more clarify on what I’m trying to say. Here’s Mariana Ashley sharing something she learned while creating sand castles on the beach. I hope you’ll enjoy this very insightful article as much as I did.

I just returned from a nice little vacation to the beach, and although I am incredibly sunburned, I really enjoyed my time off from work. I sunbathed, played in the surf, relaxed on the porch of the beach house in the evening, and slept in every day.

Despite how relaxing the vacation was, I did manage to come up with one particular lesson that I thought I’d share here.

See, the great thing about the beach is that, for me anyhow, it seems to remove me from any important responsibilities in my life. I have a lot of leisure time at the beach, and I can generally do whatever I like.

On my last day at the beach, I spent the afternoon making a sand castle.

Time flew by. I worked intently on the sand castle. I built ramparts, a main castle keep, and a deep moat with a long bridge over it between the inner and outer walls. I was really proud of this sand castle.

But at the end of the day, as I was pouring water into the moat and watching it flow around the castle, I realized that despite all of the work I had put into this project, it would be destroyed after I had left the beach.

Was it worth it, then, to spend all of that time, especially when I could’ve simply relaxed and rested in the sun?

Ultimately, I decided it truly was worth it, even if the results wouldn’t last. I had enjoyed myself those few hours. The experience of making the castle was perhaps more important than the final product.

This realization got me thinking on the drive home about how I approach my other life-projects. Often I found that I worried too much about the end result of my work; I didn’t appreciate the experience of accomplishing my tasks.

Certainly, a final result is important, but how much had I missed in the experience? What had I missed learning? What had I missed appreciating in how I solved problems and met challenges?

When I got home that day, I resolved to reflect more often and to be more aware of how I accomplished tasks, not just the end result of that task.

How do you approach the important tasks and goals in your life? Do you focus on the end result, or do you too have an appreciation for the process?

This guest post is written by Mariana Ashley. She is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 [at] gmail.com.

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Photo credit: williamcho and restlessmind


  1. This article made me smile 🙂 I get impatient with things not getting done easily. I can compare it to making a sand castle. I can just enjoy the beach yet creating a sand castle requires patience and perseverance. Must apply this with the script i’m working on. Thanks Mariana! 🙂

  2. lately, i got overwhelmed with tasks ahead i become disinterested then to start work right’way and i procrastinate. now i am reminded of the old me who approached work intelligently before thereby turning work fun and exciting to do,,, and that was years ago. good reminder, ‘that work indeed is fun. i shall re learn, go back to my old ways.

  3. Wow. I just came across this wonderful article and made me think. Wow. Thanks for sharing!

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