Trying to reach where you want to go, trying to be successful can have it’s obstacles.
Maybe you procrastinate a lot.
Maybe you have some doubts that you’ll be able to get there.
You may feel anxiety when creating something new as everything has gone well so far. You don’t want to fail and disappoint the people around you.
Like most obstacles in life these obstacles are inner, mental obstacles.
So what do you do?
One thing that has helped me to keep striving towards where I want to go is to focus on the process instead of the outcome. You just focus on what you are doing. You don’t think about the possible outcomes of what you are doing when you are doing what you do. You detach from that. You just keep your mind focused on doing the work.
You don’t think about how you may fail, disappoint yourself or have great success. You don’t think about how you may disappoint, amuse or in some other way be seen through the eyes of others. You just focus on what you do.
For instance, don’t focus on getting great reactions from your audience while writing your blogposts. Focus on writing excellent articles without thinking about what people will think about them.
Don’t focus on losing 10 pounds. Focus, for instance, on walking for 45 minutes each day or running for 30 minutes every other day. Just go and do it and don’t think about the outcome while walking/running. In time your pounds will come off.
7 powerful advantages of focusing on the process
You feel less anxiety and stage fright. As you detach from the possible outcomes – like what your audience will say about your new post or song – you can just focus on the moment and your performance.
You don’t care about outside pressure as much. Regardless if it’s real or mostly in your head. And you’ll put less pressure on yourself. As you detach from the results inner pressure and outside influences matter less. You can only focus on one thing at a time. If you focus what you are doing you’ll enjoy just doing instead of worrying about what may come up.
You are more creative. When your mind isn’t stuck in worrying about potential negative outcomes it opens up and allows you to be both more creative and open to your own, perhaps slightly odd ideas.
You procrastinate less. That has been my experience anyway. It’s often the negative feelings described above – stage fright, worry, pressure – that makes you procrastinate about important stuff. If those feelings lessen then you’ll also have less of a need to procrastinate.
Bad days don’t stop you as easily. Your focus is on the process, not on what happened yesterday or might happen today. And even if you feel bad about what happened I’ve found that the feeling isn’t as strong as when you are wrapped up in potential outcomes. This makes it easier to keep going.
Following up on a success will be easier. You’ll have less of a problem with living up to perceived expectations after having done something well. Expectations can put a bit too much pressure or doubt in your mind.
You have less fear and more freedom overall. If you are detached from the outcome you can – from what it may look like from the outside – take larger risks. You’ll have less fear of failure and rejection since those fears to a large degree are based on worrying about outcomes.
Focusing on the process doesn’t mean that you stop planning or tweaking your processes. Focus on your goals while you plan. Focus on educating yourself so you can improve and tweak your processes. And focus on what you are doing while performing the tasks that will get you where you want to go.
Focusing on the process works well in combination with a Just do it! mentality. The combination gets you out of an overthinking state and into action. It helps you get going and do the things that will give you results. Results that sitting around thinking can never give you.
Patiently building your own inner freedom
Now I’m not saying I’ve got this down perfectly, that I never worry and that I stick to focusing on the process every time I for instance write. But I’m pretty enthusiastic about this because it gives you an inner freedom to do what you want and less power to your own, inner mental obstacles.
I have found two things that make it easier to become process-focused. One is that focusing on the process instead of worrying about the outcomes is like working a mental muscle. At first it’s weak and your old worrying habit often sneaks up on you. You have to be patient just like when you are improving your discipline or anaerobic capacity.
Two is that worrying is just a habit and a pretty useless one. And the important thing is that you don’t have to keep it up just because you are used to it. It’s easy to assume that you should keep on worrying because you’ve always done it and everyone else seems to be doing it. But leaving this habit behind and instead focusing your mind on what’s important and on strengthening your new habit is a possible and more useful choice.
So, focus on the process and it becomes easier, smoother, more relaxing and more enjoyable to do your work. Focus on the process and doing what you are doing right now in an excellent way. Focus on the process to rediscover the joy you once felt when doing something but that lately has been buried in a pile of expectations and negative feeling.
Do that continually and you’ll be in a much better place to achieve the success you’d like.