Focus On The Process!

The idea for this entry has been brewing in my mind for quite some time now. My psychology minor from Lafayette College may be in play here. Or not. That could be wishful thinking.

I graduated in May of this year. The event in itself culminated four incredible years with incredible people. But it was time to move on. That was the harsh reality.

Time is the beast that cannot be stopped.

I love that saying because it is oh so true.

Now is the time to face new obstacles and adversity. Now is the time to learn new skills. Now is the time to meet new people. And all of that is rather exciting. I hope you feel the same way. I think you do, considering how often I hear from my friends of their ambitions to experience new events and places and activities.

Most of you who will read this are 20-something-year-olds. Some of you have started full-time or part-time jobs. Others are still looking, which in a different perspective can be classified as fun-employment. Some of you are still in school.

The employment talk will stop there though. I won’t fill this page with middle school clichés in motivation attempts either.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Just one, actually.

Think of a time recently when you had this sudden and exciting urge to build a new skillset. For me, it was computer coding. I watched a colleague of mine from the Steelers fix this issue with the website one day during my internship. It looked like a foreign language to me, but to him, it was effortless.

It was impressive. It spurred me to build that skillset. I was motivated.

Where to begin…? There was so much to learn but so little time, I thought. I have no idea what to do! I started focusing on the finished product of fixing that complicated issue rather than the process of building that skillset.

And now, folks, after 321 words, we have arrived at the meat of this entry.

Too often, when attempting to build these new skillsets, we have this ideal image of perfection set in our minds. The process of how to get there is forgotten. Each mistake we make derails us from that ‘perfect path’. We nitpick over the tiniest details.

And then in the end, or at least when we give up, no real progress is made. We are back at square one and have suffered a considerable amount of frustration and stress.

Now before I proceed, please understand I do not deem myself some expert of this subject matter. I simply am writing out my thoughts that stem from my experiences and wish to share them with you, the reader. Take them or leave them or tell me how shitty they are in the comment section… your choice.

So back to where we were. The majority of your focus should be on the process, not the finished product! I take daily lessons on Udacity. I learn tidbits of coding here and tidbits there and then put those skills into use. It’s exciting. It’s fun. And the frustration and anxiety with achieving that perfect self-set standard drifted away.

All because I am finally enjoying the process. That’s how you excel, at least in my mind.

It could be weight lifting or training for a marathon. It could be the path to becoming a published writer. It could be brewing the world’s best beer. It could be achieving that 4.0 GPA.

Immerse yourself in the process and I think you’ll find yourself on a much smoother and happier road to achieving that goal. Take pride in completing those sometimes little annoying details.

So next time you feel that urge to build a new skillset, take a step back and a few deep breaths, write down the necessary steps, and get after it. Immerse yourself in the process.

And I know it won’t be long before you feel that urge. We’re motivated 20-something-year-olds.

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