Most of us grow up in an environment where we are taught to focus on the process. What do you want to do when you grow up? What do you want to study at uni? What internship are you planning to look into? This kind of questions inevitably places our mindsets at one side of the scale I will be talking about today. It makes us process-oriented. If you look around yourself, most people are focused on the process, they care about the “what” rather than the “why.” In this article, I want to touch upon the reason why you might be caught up in the confusion of the process with no significant outcomes.
Process Orientation Vs Outcome Orientation
You might have heard the saying that you should focus on the process and the outcome will come naturally. But will it? If you have no idea what the outcome you’re looking to reach is, can you really reach it? Does that even make sense? The truth is, you should enjoy the process, you should be grateful for the lessons, the mistakes and the little successes, but you should always know the reason why you are doing something. In other words, you should always bear the outcome in the back of your mind and you should be looking into ways that can get you there. However, the looking part comes after understanding where you want to end up. You can’t arrive at a destination if you don’t know what the destination is. Simply put and as I always say, find your strong why and you’ll figure out the rest.
A Little Story To Make It Clear
Once upon a time, Jack had to make a 5mm hole into a wall so he could hang up his favourite picture. However, he found out that he needed to buy a new drill. So he packed up, changed and went out to get one. When he arrived, he walked past the cashier and headed straight to the section with drills. But when he got there, he froze. There were so many of them, different brands for different prices. He looked at them and he decided to go to another shop because he thought that the brands weren’t really good as he saw some bad news about the companies in terms of financial crises and their weaker position in the market. So he got in the car and drove to another shop. When he got to the section with the drills, he froze again. He found out that good brands with a better image were too expensive. So he got to his car and drove back to the first shop to buy one of the cheaper ones. When he got back home, he unpacked the drill, plugged it in and made a 5mm hole. Then he packed the drill and hid it in the garage. The outcome of making the hole took him about 3 seconds. However, the process of buying the drill took about 3 hours.
Can you see my point? Jack got hung up on the process not realising that all he needed was to make a 5mm hole in the wall. All he needed was the first drill he got his hands on that would be able to make the 5mm hole. If he focused on the outcome, he would’ve gone to the shop, got the first drill, went back home and made a hole. That’s everything he had to do. Why would he complicate things so much for 5mms?
What should you take from the story? People do this in their daily lives! Apply this analogy to your work life. Why do you work where you work? What do you do what you do? What is going to happen if you do what you do for the next 10 years? Are you going to achieve something you wanted to achieve or are you going to “survive” on the monthly income with no specific outcome in your mind? We often fail to realise how much time we waste being all hung up on the process not realising that there is no ending point in what we’re doing. Focus on the outcome, find your why and make it happen. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”