We are all familiar with the saying that life is a journey, so make sure to enjoy the ride. Easier said than done? Since we live in a very goal-driven society, not achieving something “at the right time” can be a source of great anxiety. So how do we learn to love the process instead of the goal?
Life is a Process
There is probably no other time in your life where every single step that you’ve taken mattered more than in your first year of life. Parents are so proud of every tiny development they see in their child, be it the ability to hold up their head, independently roll over, start crawling, and ultimately learn how to walk. They patiently support the child’s growth and never count the times their child falls.
All of these critical stages took time and followed a process. However small they seemed, these and subsequent “baby steps” have brought you to where you are now.
We take for granted how far we’ve come. We also tend to linger in the setbacks and failures or even in the fear of failure instead of recognizing the positive baby steps we make every day. Learning to savor and enjoy the process can give you much more satisfaction in the present, rather than reserving that potential satisfaction for if and when a goal is reached.
Improving the quality of the processes that comprise our life will improve the quality of life itself.
The Philosophy Known as “The Process”
Ryan Holiday in The Daily Stoic writes about a philosophy created by University of Alabama coach Nick Saban. Saban “taught his players to ignore the big picture—important games, winning championships, the opponent’s enormous lead—and focus instead on doing the absolutely smallest things well—practicing with full effort, finishing a specific play, converting on a single possession. A season lasts months, a game lasts hours, catching up might be four touchdowns away, but a single play is only a few seconds. And games and seasons are constituted by seconds. If teams follow The Process, they tend to win. They overcome obstacles and eventually make their way to the top without ever having focused on the obstacles directly.”
Holiday says that if you follow The Process in your life—assembling the right actions in the right order, one right after another—you too will do well. Not only that, you will be better equipped to make quick work of the obstacles along that path.
Finding Meaning in the Process
Changing your mindset about what you find meaningful can also help you to enjoy the process. To illustrate this point, Michael G. Pratt, Ph.D., a professor of management and organization at Boston College tells the old tale of three bricklayers hard at work. When asked what they’re doing, the first bricklayer responds, “I’m putting one brick on top of another.” The second replies, “I’m making sixpence an hour.” And the third says, “I’m building a cathedral — a house of God.”
Like the third bricklayer, you can also cultivate a sense of meaning in what you do by connecting it to a larger purpose. Brick by brick, or step by step, you are going somewhere. Remind yourself of how far you have come and what you are capable of.
If you want to enjoy more of the process of life, AllBe offers intensive and immersive courses to help you regain the connection, strength, optimism, and confidence to fully embrace a purposeful and meaningful life.