Sunday, June 23, 2013

Thought for the Day - The Outcome or the Process

This is a puzzle. Should one be focused on the outcome or the process. In my opinion they are both part of the process and the goal.

Being entirely goal or outcome driven may take all the enjoyment out of the process, the journey. By not enjoying the journey, you may not enjoy the results of the journey. You may miss the forest for the trees. You may lose your soul in a mad rush to reach the goal.
The goal and the process, trees and the forest

On the other hand if you are focused on the process and keep improving on it constantly, you would certainly garner enough expertise to get to the goal anyway. You would be reaching the outcome that the process throws up by itself consistently. You would be more aware, compassionate and understanding of both the goal, the process and the medium (yourself).

The second method is advisable certainly because it is more wholesome and growth oriented. The three aspects to this endeavour of excellence - the goal (long term, comprising of several short term goals), the process and the medium (yourself) - must be employed jointly and harmoniously for a healthy growth. However it is easier said than done because you must first go through the process of goal-oriented work to understand what the process is all about. You must first learn to be honest about the endeavour and commit yourself to it.

In my opinion, being goal oriented at the first stage is not a bad thing to start with (unless you are already an evolved soul who can see everything in perspective). It makes the amateur honest. It makes you understand the need to be honest, to understand the purpose of striving for something, to also understand the importance of intensity and earnestness. Competing hard and winning makes you stretch and push. It makes you understand that the process comprises of many parts and not merely the actions. And it makes you realise that achieving goals require sacrifices, commitment and constant improvement. When one goal that is aspired for is achieved, it is a great revelation, a complete education in the process. If not for the goal oriented approach, you may not understand the process itself.

In the second stage, as the amateur matures and takes on the pride of a professional, there is more focus on the process. As the professional you hone your tricks, learn new tricks, learn to fall and fail, and still smile and get up. You know that you are there for the long haul, that you are there to make a difference as only you can, by being the medium and letting your art flow through you. It makes you compassionate, understanding and unyielding, in a loving manner. This is the stage where the process reigns supreme, where the practitioner knows how infinite the journey is and how capricious the route can be. It requires patience and love.

A shoe maker begins to make the shoe with an outcome in his mind. His understanding and love for the process, the shoe and the customer, can elevate it to a fine art. But this elevation happens only after repeatedly making shoes in a goal oriented manner, after knowing how shoes are made. One cannot just begin making shoes without a goal, a shoe, in mind. Goal orientation is very much part of understanding the process itself and the learner's evolution. With considerable practice, he will embrace the process for the love of it. The process then becomes the goal.

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