How do I focus on the process instead of the outcomes?

How do I focus on the process instead of the outcomes?

How do I focus on the process instead of the outcomes?

What is the process?

The process is loving what you do on a daily basis. It's an understanding that by focusing on this work, you will (eventually) achieve your outcomes. The process is the incremental wins, the joys of doing something because you love it, and ultimately trusting yourself.

Why do we lose sight of our process?

As humans, it's natural to want validation. Whether it is from awards, competition, promotions, family, or any number of places, we want to feel acknowledged.

The problem with external validation is that we start focusing on outcomes. Unlike the process, outcomes are:

  • Winning tournaments

  • Getting a certain title at work

  • Socioeconomic milestones like buying a house or getting married

  • Getting accepted into a specific university

If you want these outcomes, you can still set them as goals. However, your daily focus needs to be on your process.

How do I develop focus on my process instead of the outcome?

In order to develop focus on the work, you have to learn to love the work. The key here is the little things. Let's take a silly example to illustrate the point.

Say your goal is to make the best scrambled eggs. This is the outcome. You could make scrambled eggs everyday, and just try to fix what went wrong yesterday. Maybe yesterday’s was too salty. Today’s texture isn’t quite right. Your scrambled eggs do improve, but you start to wonder if you’re really making the best scrambled eggs.

Here's how you might approach this goal in a process focused way:

  • Today I want to work on my whisking technique. I will try it with a large whisk, small whisk, a fork, as well as whisking it in the pan while cooking. I'm feeling curious about what I can learn from these different techniques.

  • Tomorrow I want to find the best eggs for scrambled eggs. I will travel to several farmer's markets and talk to farmers. I will inspect eggs, weigh them, note their color, and record this information.

  • Next week I want to experiment with different temperatures. I want to try cooking eggs exclusively on low heat, high heat, and changes in heat levels.

What you might notice is that the process focused methodology is filled with curiosity and love. Even in a description of a fictitious day, you can see that these steps exude joy. Otherwise, why make scrambled eggs over and over?

You might also notice that the goal statement, without the process, feels futile. Can one really make the best scrambled eggs? But with the process, you almost start to believe… anyone can make the best scrambled eggs. That is the process.

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