Results are shiny. Results are loud. Results are the big parade we all look for, the moment of relief after a goal has been accomplished, the air punch after the dream has been achieved.
Results are the finished manuscript, the personal best race time, the promotion, the end of that long project you oversaw. They are the carrot at the end of the stick, the shining star guiding you through the desert, the orientation and the object of our affection.
And they do deserve our affection. But something deserves it more, and more often than not is left unrequited.
Most people hate the process. They consider it a means to an end. Or worse, they don’t even consider it.
We want the muscles, but not the hours in the gym, the healthy food. We want the book to be finished, but not the hours of research, the early mornings or late nights at the writing desk, trying to coax and cajole the brain into focusing. We want to start that business on the side, but don’t want to give up the evenings and the weekends.
And in doing so, we devalue the results, so that when they do come they pass us by like a ship in the night, a momentary awareness that something is there, and then our gaze is drawn to that next mountaintop, that next peak, oh so far away.
We may get things done this way, but we will never enjoy what it is we’re doing.
And if we’re not enjoying it, what’s the point?
What if it was the act itself we came to love, and not the outcome of the act?
If we learn to look within the thing we do, day in and day out, and find solace, joy, and a measure of peace within it?
Then we’ve already won.
We’ve already beat the game.
Because now it doesn’t matter as much that despite all the work, the book won’t be finished for another 3 months, the first sale of your new product is on the other side of 100 more hours of work, or that we’ll see the gym another 100 times before we see the larger shoulders or smaller stomach we want.
Because we’re loving the process of putting pen to paper, the feeling that comes with working on your own business, and the endorphin rush after you push yourself physically and fuel your body with good food. These become the things we enjoy, look forward to, provide context and placement in our days.
And when we love that process, when we make it the object of our affection, results will idle up to use, abashed and impatient, and tap us on the shoulder.
We’ll take them, but we don’t need them.
Because we’ve already won.