Forget the End Result, Focus on the Process

Posted on 10. Jul, 2017 by in Get Motivated, Lifestyle, SUPERHUMAN30 Challenge

“My thoughts were directed toward preparation, our journey, not the results of the effort (such as winning national championships). That would simply have shifted my attention to the wrong area, hoping for something out of my control. Hoping doesn’t make it happen. Mix idealism with realism and add hard work. This will often bring much more than you could ever hope for.” – Legendary NCAA Basketball Coach, John Wooden

This is a quote from a book I recently finished, “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court,” by John Wooden with Steve Jamison.

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Focusing on the process is one of Coach Wooden’s main values. I will save another post to dig deeper into the book and his values, and instead share a personal story of a time the process helped me.

This story goes all the way back to 1999 when I was a sophomore at Jupiter High School.

Throughout grade school I was an “A” student with very few “B”s mixed in along the way. I wouldn’t say I was one of the smart kids, I just took a lot of pride in getting the job done. Something my parents instilled in me at a very young age.

School was going oh so well until I met the devil herself, my high school “typing” teacher. I put typing in quotes because I’m not sure that’s an actual thing anymore. When I got the mid-term report card for her class I was shocked to see a D-. I had never gotten a C before so this was clearly not my fault. I remember at the time, thinking how bad of a teacher this lady was.

Coming into this class I was fast at typing in the chicken-peck style, using my pointer fingers to stab at the keyboard. My teacher would not let this fly. Every day we sat there with our fingers on “asdf jkl;”, and we’d have an assignment to do for time. I grew more frustrated with every assignment. As the lesson planned progressed, I could not get this formal way of typing to click for me. (Much like my frustration for double unders as I watched everyone progress around me.)

Halfway through the semester, my parents got me one of the more fun programs we used in class to practice with at home, “Slam Dunk Typing”. I committed to typing on this program for at least a half hour every day, sometimes I was on it for hours at a time. I still sucked at typing at home, but at least I could do it without my neck hairs being burnt off by my fire breathing teacher. I was determined to get this right, no matter how much work it took.
By the end of the year, I saved my grade to finish with a B+. I was ecstatic, exhausted, and thankful that dreaded class was finally over.

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(Thank you Slam Dunk Typing.)

I learned three very important lessons from that class.

First, I learned that creating a habit can consume a ton of energy in the beginning, but if you stick with it, the habit becomes much easier to complete with repetition.  And the best part is, it can pay you back forever. I can’t tell you how much easier typing up reports became, and taking notes in college was a breeze once I could type as fast as I could think. I still can to this day and I’m grateful to have this skill. When writing can flow from your mind to the computer screen with the ease of some keystrokes you become a much better writer.

Second, the hardest things we go through in life can often be the most rewarding. Without the failures, the D’s and the F’s, I would not appreciate the B’s or the A’s. I could have easily skipped over taking this class had I realized how tough it would be. To create real change we need to hit real adversity. It was so hard for me to step backwards from my “fast”, “chicken pecking” typing style, to re-learn a new method. It was a hard physical task, but mentally it drained me completely. Had I given up at the D- mark, I would have missed out on one of the coolest skills I’ve ever taught myself.

Third, a teacher can only do so much for you. My typing class was so frustrating because I felt like my teacher wasn’t teaching at all, she was simply programming and grading, programming and grading. It wasn’t until I took matters into my own hands and got the typing program for my house that I finally made some progress. (Just like how you can get my Master the Double Under book to take matters into your hands, wink wink.)

A coach can program new habits for us, but it’s going to take a lot of personal action to follow through on those habits and make them routine. Teaching a lost cause like myself to type made that teacher look like a freaking genius, and maybe she was a little better than I give her credit for, but I would have never made any progress if I didn’t choose to dedicate a half hour each day to working on my typing.

That half hour a day has saved me countless hours, days, and probably months at this point in my life.

I started that class with the same goal I’ve always had, to get an “A”. As I drifted really far away from that goal I lost sight of it and could only see the habit right in front of me. I could only see that half hour of practice every day. By forgetting the end product and focusing on the process, I finished with a grade that I was ecstatic about.

Sometimes our goals get so far away from us they seem impossible. That’s ok. That can even be a great thing. That 20 pounds you want to lose…that 300 lbs you want to squat…that six figures you want to make…it ALL starts with a daily habit.
Begin to love the process. Begin to love your practice. Start the habit, grow the habit, and let it blossom into results you never thought possible.

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