Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome

Taken from

It seems like the best way to reach a desired result would be to focus on that result, try to move toward it, and judge each attempt by how closely you approximate it. But actually that approach is far from optimal. If you focus your attention and effort less on the results you’re hoping for and more on the processes and techniques you use, you will learn faster, become more successful, and be happier with the outcome.

By default we tend to be forward-looking, goal-pursuing, results-focused. Why? Because we’re wired for a discontentment with the present and a striving for a better future. Because results are easier to measure and evaluate than processes. Because we know others judge us based on results and we tend to care too much what others think.

But focusing on process rather than outcome is a much better strategy. Why?

  • It eliminates the noise of external factors. Success can follow a flawed effort and failure can follow a flawless effort. In those cases, judging performance by outcome will reinforce the wrong techniques. You’ll achieve mastery of a new skill more quickly if you can learn to detect those cases and reinforce the correct processes whether or not they happened to lead to the desired outcome in that instance.
  • It encourages experimentation. When you’re wholly focused on a specific desired result, you’re less willing to try long shots, less inclined to experiment, less open to serendipity, and less likely to stumble on an even better outcome than the one you were aiming for
  • It lets you enjoy the process more. Life is lived in the present, not the future, and happiness is a process, not a place. Focusing on process will let you engage more deeply with the present and experience it more fully, which will help you learn faster and experience life more completely.
  • It puts you in control. You have only partial control over whether you reach a specific external goal. But you have complete control over the process you use. Whether you give your best effort is entirely within your power. An internal locus of control leads to empowerment, higher self-esteem, and success, all of which contribute meaningfully to life satisfaction.
  • It lets you enjoy and benefit more from whatever outcome does occur. In the long run things rarely turn out the way we expect them to. If your happiness is predicated on your success, and if your success is predicated on a specific outcome, you are setting yourself up for a high likelihood of frustration and disappointment. If you instead let go of the need for any particular outcome, you increase your chances for success and contentment. It’s fine to desire a certain outcome; just don’t make your happiness contigent on it. Instead, derive happiness from knowing that you gave every attempt your best effort.
  • It will give you confidence. Not confidence that you’ll succeed in the current attempt, but confidence that you’re on the right path to mastery. You’ll worry less about the future because you’ll know that you’ll be happy regardless of the outcome of any given situation or event. You’ll be more free to get out of your comfort zone, to be spontaneous and take risks. And being unattached to a specific outcome means you won’t be needy, or get upset when things don’t go as you had hoped. The more you focus on process over outcome, the more confident you’ll become, and there’s nothing more attractive than confidence.

So how can you focus on process over outcome?

  •  Don’t pursue the rewards directly, trust that they will come. Focus on the process with diligence and effortful study, and let the outcome take care of itself.
  • Stop worrying about what others will think of your performance.
  • View each attempt as merely practice for the next attempt.
  • Choose for yourself how to rate your performance. Rate yourself based on the effort, not the outcome. Don’t try to win today, try to become a winner. Be happier when your best effort results in defeat than when a weak effort results in victory. Determine what your best effort would look like, and then make it happen.
  • Bring awareness to your performance, either during or immediately after it, so you can learn to identify when bad results follow good processes, and vice-versa. With practice you will build the confidence needed to avoid second-guessing yourself when the results are bad but your technique is good.

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In doing what scares you daily – Tips

To get out of your comfort zone:

  • Bring awareness to your comfort zone and your natural tendency to stay inside it.
  • Change your frame of mind. View your comfort zone not as a shelter but a prison. Embrace constructive discomfort. Don’t take the safe, known path. Choose challenge over comfort, and set goals that force you to get out of your comfort zone. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • Gradually expand the perimeter of your comfort zone. Lean into the discomfort. Don’t sprint out of your comfort zone, take small but frequent steps. Push the walls out, don’t try to knock them down.
  • Periodically check your progress to confirm that you’re going further out over time.

As your life continues to improve it will become easier to expand your comfort zone, because when you’re happy, optimistic and confident, you’ll be more inclined to take risks and live adventurously.

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To Live Authentically:

  • Bring compassionate awareness to conflicts between your fundamentals, and to anything inauthentic you say or do.
  • Be proud of who you are and who you’re becoming. Realize that you’re worth sharing with the world.
  • Let the outer self be defined by the inner self.
  • Show up fully, with integrity, in each moment. Don’t censor yourself, and don’t let perfectionism constrict your self-expression.
  • Don’t trade authenticity for social approval. Be, don’t seem. If you act inauthentically in order to be loved, then it’s not you that’s being loved.
  • Be courageous. Embody your fundamentals audaciously, even if it occasionally leads to uncomfortable situations. Favor external conflict over internal conflict. If you agree to a demand or request that’s against the way you want to live, you lose a little of yourself. Those who love you shouldn’t want you to be someone you’re not, or should trust you to become who you want to be. And those who don’t love you don’t deserve a vote in how you live your life.

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Your life is right now. It’s not later. It’s not in that time of retirement. It’s not when the lover gets here. It’s not when you’ve moved into the new house. It’s not when you get the better job. Your life is right now. It will always be right now. You might as well decide to start enjoying your life right now, because it’s not ever going to get better than right now, until it gets better right now. ~ Esther Abraham-Hicks

Messages from Robin Roberts-Oprah’s Master Class

I was so grateful to have watched this show last night.  Highlighted quotes I’d like to remember from Robin Roberts:

1st Lesson:  You may not be the prettiest, brightest, most put together, but if you keep positioning yourself good things will come.

“Be flexible with your goals.” 

 “Dream big, but focus small.” 

 “Stay in the game.  Be patient but persistent.” 

 “Be grateful but never content.” 

 “You have to fight the battle in front of you.”  – I know this all too well.

 “Optimism is a like a muscle that gets stronger with use.”

 “Make your mess your message.” 

 “Reach beyond your dreams.” 

 Favorite saying – “THIS TOO SHALL PASS.” 

 “Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely.  Just be silent and listen.  This has served me very well.”

 “God answers prays 3 ways: ‘yes,’ ‘not yet’ and ‘I have something better in mind.’  It takes courage to believe the best is yet to come.” 

 About going through adversity: “Don’t try to help yourself or have someone help you out of the cocoon.  It’s there to make us stronger, keep beating those wings until you are ready to fly.” 

 The last one is my favorite as it resonates with what I’ve stated in several posts–This is my time in the cocoon.  A time for me to be made stronger and be transformed.

Here’s What I’m Grateful for Today

  • Severe thunderstorms – Who can resist the awesomeness of severe weather–The thunder and lightning, the extreme wind and rain.  It’s humbling to know nature can so easily take us out.  And it’s just totally beautiful! 
  • Thunder and Lightning – Obviously the thunder and lightning are the best part of any thunderstorm.  The symphony of lights and sounds are simply amazing.  Nature puts on a spectacular show!
  • Shelter – It’s also nice to be inside, in a dry place, during such a show.
  • Severe weather alerts – Nice to live in a time in which the national weather service can alert you immediately through text via your cell phone of approaching tornados and other severe weather.  That’s an awesome use of technology!
  • Flashlight app on cell phone – How handy I find this feature to be since I’m always at a loss to find a working flashlight in my house.
  • Candles – Marvelous, if not ancient invention.  Now days we mostly just use candles for ambiance, but what a simple and effective solution in the absence of electricity or battery powered devices.
  • Matches – Always come in handy.  This is one thing no survival kit should be without.
  • Google lookup on cell phone – When I lost electricity during the storm, I was curious to know just how long my refrigerator would keep my fresh produce and Greek yogurt; so, right then I looked it up on my phone–a whole library of information.  Wow, super cool to have such technology, and something we SO easily take for granted.
  • Great neighbors – I have some of the best neighbors in the world!  The kind that check on me when I’m sick, mow my lawn for me without me even knowing and ask if I need anything during a thunderstorm when they too are without.
  • Ability to text with neighbors – Nice feature to have the ability without going out in the storm to find out information that’s happening around your immediate area when things go awry.
  • Having a smart phone during severe weather – Need I say more than I’ve just stated above?
  • Electricity – Well, I think we all can agree this is certainly something most of us take for granted daily, until we’re without it.
  • Being without electricity – Keeps us humbled to the fact we modern humans can’t live without it.
  • A beautiful day after the storm – Doesn’t a beautiful, sunny day just seem more enchanting after severe weather?  You appreciate it a bit more!