Posts Tagged ‘P’

Make the Process Your Priority

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

We’re seeing more warnings all the time. Our mobile phones are demanding our attention most of our waking hours. We’re quickly learning that they can be dangerous instruments when driving, walking, and performing many other everyday tasks.

It seems obvious to me from this new reality that we humans are not designed to focus for very long on more than one thing at a time. I have been reading reports on “multitasking.” The term describes computers – not humans.

It reflects on a life-lesson that I have found to be of critical importance.  A life of growth toward being a productive, intentional person only becomes a reality by focusing on the process rather than the results. It’s either one or the other. There’s a very subtle but significant difference between them. Results flow from a process. Regardless of the endeavor, we are much more effective as people when we focus on process and let the results flow from there.

As a student of the Bible I see it in Psalm 1. The Psalmist says that the person who desires a life of substance and prosperity focuses on a process. The process is simple, but profound – -spend less time with people who will drain your spiritual and emotional resources and all your waking hours meditating on God’s truth.  He outlines the process that will produce positive results. The person who focuses on the process will, in time, be like a tree “which yields its fruit in season.”  

It may not seem like much to you but this principle has made a radical difference in my own thinking, and behavior over the past several years. I think most of my life I was taught that “results” mattered more than the process by which they were attained. Maybe that’s just what I wanted to hear and filtered the messages. Or perhaps my own impatience for results in my life and work predisposed me toward that conclusion.

This principle is a constant in the world of sports. In almost any sport the participant or team who can focus on the process more than the result most often ends up on top.  In fact when a player gets consumed with the results more than the process that’s when they tend to freeze up and fall apart.

I saw it just this past weekend at the Ryder Cup in Medina, Illinois. The US team had a large lead after two days play and completely went into meltdown on Sunday, giving the tournament to the Europeans. Who was focusing on the process and who on the results? My take on it is that the Americans started looking too much at the fear of losing (results) and abandoned the process that was working for them the first two days. On the other hand, the Europeans stuck to a team game plan (process) and came out on top.

Some years ago I worked closely with some people who had struggles with depression and addiction. I found that they had some positive progress in recovery if they stuck diligently to a plan.  There were some who became more complacent with their new-found results and stopped following the plan that brought them there.  That marked the end of recovery and the beginning of a relapse. When the process was not in focus the results were sacrificed.

In almost everything we set out to do – diet, exercise, learning new skills, or developing a closer walk with God the process should be the focus. If the process is wholesome and healthy the results are most likely to be positive. Whatever goal you may be pursuing in life, make sure the process is your priority.  Who knows, it may just lead to true prosperity – for you and for those you love.

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