Focus On The Process
May 25, 2020
My son was thrilled yesterday. He had a top score in one of his internal assessments. He had genuinely put in a lot of hard work preparing for this internal assessment. As a family we celebrated his achievement. While appreciating his effort, I also reminded my son about something I always do him whenever he gets excited about good scores.
Always focus on the process, not the outcome.
Good outcomes are always a consequence of proper preparation. My son prepared well, and hence he scored well in his assessment.
Typically there are two approaches towards any goal achievement.
One Approach- I am invested in the outcome.
Here is where I am today->Here is where I want to go->To achieve the goal, these are the steps I will take to go from where I am to where I want to go-> If I succeed, I am thrilled. If I don’t, I’ll feel disappointed that I have failed.
When I invest in the outcome, I feel good only if I achieve the result. The result is everything. If the result is not in my favor, I take it to heart- “I am a failure!”
The other Approach- I focus on the outcome, but I invest in the process
Here is where I am today->Here is where I want to go->To achieve the goal, these are the steps I will take to go from where I am to where I want to go-> I know what I have to do -> I invest in sharpening my skills, my capabilities->I give my best->If the results happen, I feel vindicated that I have taken the right steps. If the result does not come through as planned, I look for what I could have done better-> I work on that.
I focus on the outcome to give myself a clear sense of direction. Once the path is clear, I immerse myself entirely in doing what I have to do to get the outcome. The emphasis is on my effort and my contribution towards the result.
John Wooden is considered one of the greatest coaches of the US Collegiate Basket Ball league. The team he coached, UCLA had an amazing record of winning seven championships in a row from 1967 to 1973. John Wooden’s UCLA teams also established a NCAA men’s basketball record winning streak of 88 games and four perfect 30–0 seasons. John Wooden apparently had this to say to his team after every match.
“When it’s over, and you look in the mirror, ask yourself if you did the best you were capable of. And if you did the best you were capable of, the score does not matter. Some you win, some you lose. But I suspect if you did the best you were capable of, you would find the score and the result to your liking.”
John Wooden was teaching his team the virtue of investing in the process and to not get too obsessed with the result, which was not in the team’s control. He just wanted his team to focus on giving their best.
That is also what I want my son to always remember as a life lesson.