By Seamus Anthony
We’ve all heard the cliché “it’s all about results”. But is it?
It’s easy to have a passion for results. Bank robbers have a passion for results, so do suicide bombers. But results don’t really last long. If you need to rob your way to wealth, then you probably don’t understand life or money well enough to hold on to your cash for very long. And some results, let’s face it, are probably fiction.
You can dream up the result for your business in a moment and put this into a detailed plan in as little as an hour. Then what stands between yourself and the end result? Process.
Process is going to account for countless hours whereas results are fleeting (a glance at your bank balance, a thank you speech, an article about yourself in the newspaper). So if you’re doing it all because of a love of results, which in and of itself is not bad (probably necessary), but you don’t enjoy the process, well you’re either a rare bird who can work relentlessly with only the thought of the dangling carrot to motivate you, or you’re never going to stick with the process long enough to succeed in achieving any results (let alone the rewards of this result).
Results Come to Those Who Enjoy Process
I used to be in a band (cue eye-rolling).
It was doing pretty good but we had a long way to go. But then it was suddenly over; we were young, restless and back then 5 years seemed like a lifetime. We had only made it so far in those 5 years (further than most) so we figured this was a problem and quit. Trouble was, two of us didn’t really want to quit, and kind of had a tactic agreement to continue at some point, preferably with the 3rd band member.
Years flew by, as I now know they do, and due mainly to geographical separation, me and Pete couldn’t put the band back together, but we kept talking about it. I had many adventures, so did Pete. But in and around study, travel, careers, home buying and child rearing we continued the conversation about how one day we should get it together and pick up where we left off.
Over time the “should” turned to “would” and in time, slowly, we started actually doing it. We are soon to release our first single under the name Zuiiza. (Watch this space baby!)
It’s been about 15 years since we started having the “we should get the band back together” conversation and I can tell you, it’s been quite a process. Along the way we’ve had to deal with things like:
- the fact that neither of us wanted to live in the same place
- the fact that the 3rd band member didn’t want to reform the band
- finding a suitable 3rd band member
- deciding that this was in fact a new band
- naming it
- finding the money to buy equipment
- buying equipment
- finding the time to cross the country and get together
- collectively exploring new music ideas (i.e. jamming)
- turning these ideas into actual compositions
- recording… the list goes on…
And all of this against a backdrop of collective “wisdom” that said “this is a fool’s mission: why make it hard for yourselves, form a band with some locals and get on with it”.
But we did it – we made it to “Start” again – it took us 15 years, much longer than we thought it would (to say the least) but we made it – and my point is we wouldn’t have made it if we didn’t enjoy this whole, belaboured, inefficient, foolish, illogical, protracted, process.
But we did enjoy the process. We enjoyed catching up sporadically and having some beers and talking about how we “should” get the band back together.
And we continue to love this process. We enjoy emailing back and forth and figuring out when the three of us can all swing a weekend away from the demands of family and work to travel halfway across the country to hole up in the studio and jam.
If we hadn’t enjoyed the process – there would be no band. But we did – and so against the odds, we have now created a platform with which to, well, rock out, for years to come.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t frustrating, it certainly was just that and still often is. And not every moment was in and of itself specifically “enjoyable”, sometimes just the opposite, but happiness is not the sum of many happy moments strung together. If it were, believe me, there would be no rock bands – and probably no families either!
How To Be Good At Stuff: Enjoy It
Meditation is a similar deal. If you don’t enjoy the process of meditation (overall, the painful or boring moments notwithstanding) then you are never likely to get to the end pay-off, the elusive good feelings of inner peace and physical bliss, not to mention increased health and well-being in your daily life. But the fact that a lot of people never manage to get to a place where they enjoy the process means that most people never get to experience the benefits.
Writing is a classic for this. A lot of people seem to fancy themselves writers but from what I can tell they do a lot more drinking and talking about writing than actual writing. I suspect these people haven’t actually learned to consistently enjoy the act of writing, which can be a long, lonely and hard slog, and are in fact enamoured with the results of successful writing, none of which they’ll ever get to enjoy because they simply don’t produce anything publishable.
So if you want to bask in the glory of “results” then you’d better find a way to enjoy process or give up now. I personally have given up on a lot of things, because I liked the idea but the process gave me the shits. In the end, I think this is best, because process is what fills your day, not results, so filling it with something you love makes sense.
Maybe this accounts for the clichéd Billionaire entrepreneur who just keeps working to accrue ever more wealth, leaving ordinary mortals to roll their eyes and ask “how much do you need?”. “More money” isn’t the point, they keep at it to experience more process, because they love the process that made them rich in the first place.