The most popular post on this blog, all time, is titled "trust."
You might be doing something, and not know exactly why. The real purpose might be concealed from you, although you know you should be be doing this.
Maybe you are making baskets, or doing yoga, or developing an interest in Blaxploitation movies. Maybe you are singing, camping, or studying Chinese.
By the same token, the real meaning of your scholarly project might not be apparent to you as you are completing it. This meaning will only emerge after. You will say, "Why did I waste my time with this, when what I really want to do is that?" But the time is not wasted. You couldn't have known beforehand. Maybe that was the only route you could have taken to what you think, now, your destination should be. Maybe you still don't know, and have to complete another project before a third object looms into view.