Process Oriented Versus Result Oriented

When it comes to doing things there are two main schools of thought: process oriented and result oriented. A variant of this idea is the systems versus goals discussion. The best reason that I can see to be process oriented as opposed to result oriented is because your life is a process – not a result.

Let’s say your goal is to climb a mountain. It might take you 2 days to climb this thing and when you finally reach the top you will have accomplished your goal and it will feel great! But that’s such a small part of the journey. You just spent 2 days getting here. It was a serious process. That’s where you spent 99 percent of your time and that’s what you should focus on. Because this applies across all areas of life. 

Life is a process. Accept the process. Learn to love the process. Because if you can learn how to enjoy the process – the sort of in between phase – you will be enjoying the vast majority of your life. Once you’ve mastered the process, the results will inevitably come. 

“Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work.” -Kevin Hart

Fame is the result. The work is the process. Trust the process. Do the work.

Another thing to note is that throughout the process, things can change. That’s okay, we can adapt. One of my favorite examples of this is the company Slack. When they started, they were trying to build an MMO RPG video game. A year into their journey, things weren’t developing quite as they expected. The game part of their game wasn’t going so well. However, the chat system that they developed for their game was fantastic. In the process of trying to build the next World of Warcraft, they inadvertently built a communication platform. And Slack has gone on to be very successful. Now in hindsight this all makes perfect sense, but what if they had been too result oriented? What if instead of realizing the potential of their chat platform and pivoting, they continued to bang their heads against the wall trying to force their original goal? It’s possible that also could have worked. Who knows. The point is that they adapted and it served them well.

The process might not be quite what you expected. But that’s life.

“In complexity… you define a direction of travel, not a goal, because if you start on a journey you will discover things you didn’t know you could discover which have high utility. If you have an explicit goal you may miss the very things that you need to discover.” -Dave Snowden

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