Process Not Product
If you’re rushing through life on automatic or holding off enjoying it until you’ve accomplished something, you might be focused on product rather than process. This could be the case if you’re highly goal-oriented or intent on success at any cost to yourself or others. One obvious example is thinking only of the number on the scale rather than putting attention on eating mindfully. You yearn for the finished product and don’t much care how you get it: by dieting, fasting or bariatric surgery. Here are examples of valuing product over process.
- You meet someone who’s your type and kind of nice and go out a few times. Although you notice things about them that aren’t what you’re looking for in a life partner, you ignore them because you’re already picturing yourself married with a house and two kids. Because you’re not valuing the getting-to-know-you part of the relationship, you miss many clues that would have told you that walking down the aisle with this person isn’t going to lead you to happiness.
- You love to read, or rather you love to finish books because then you can say you read them and talk about them with other people. Your goal is actually to finish rather than to enjoy what you’re reading. Others are very impressed with the quantity of books you manage to read, but they bring you little joy because you’re so focused on finishing them that you miss out on all the wonders of a story well told.
- Your boss asks for someone to do a presentation on a new widget your company is thinking of investing in and you volunteer before anyone else can snag the opportunity. You’re anxious preparing the presentation because you dislike talking in front of a group. Because you’re so overly focused on the kudos you expect to receive when the presentation is over, you overlook the fact that every time you do public speaking the period leading up to the event is sheer agony for you.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do a topnotch job, receive praise for it, or feel as if you’ve put another feather in your cap. It’s fine if this is your aim once and a while and you make the choice with awareness of why you’re doing it. However, if this is how you generally operate—on-autopilot until you reach your desired destination or dragging yourself along kicking and screaming because you want that damn proverbial brass ring—you won’t end up a very happy camper.
When I get an idea for blogging or for a book, I don’t think to myself, well, I’ll knock that one off and get it out of the way. Instead, I can’t wait to sit down and have fun writing about a subject that interests me. I’ll take process over product any day.