I really love being on the beach. But I hate getting to the beach. That whole process sucks and like most things in my life, I want to get to the goal, the destination, the finish line. I want to get there already!
I hate the process and love the product. And we know the pitfalls that come with focusing on the product. That juicy feeling, we get when we’re done, we’re there, we’ve made it (I mean, there's nothing like setting up your chair at the beach and taking a seat, looking around and just being like “oh thank god”). We’re lectured all day about the perils of focusing on the destination.
You know, stuff like:
“You only live one life, don’t let it pass you by.” (insert wagging finger)
“Savor the moment” (insert Hallmark card cover)
“Be here now” (insert aesthetic wellness influencer)
And all that “chop wood carry water” stuff.
I get it. I read The Power of Now. And I do want to “be here now" when I’m trying to get to the beach- but the truth is, I'm grinning and bearing it the whole time I’m organizing snacks, packing the car and collecting various UV shielding unguents from the closets around the house.
The pitfalls of loving the product and hating, or at least just merely tolerating the process are clear: We spend our time focused on the future, never really being present to the actual life we’re living now.
We can be in a constant state of mild or severe frustration that “we’re not there yet”.
We can spend more energy being miserable in the process than we do in the feeling we get when we cross the finish line, accept the award or unfold that beach chair.
But what about when we love the process more than the products? What about the rest of us who, for some things, revel in the process and kind of get a little blah about the product? What about you guys who don't hate the road trip because getting there is just as great as being there? Or for me, and maybe you, the few areas in our lives where the process is the thing?
Is that better? Na. Maybe. Sometimes? It’s not a yes or no question. But it is important to notice when all that “be here now” stuff gets in the way of crossing that finish line. When the process, and how much you love it, can get in the way of getting shit done and letting the product flourish into its full potential.
Last month I listened to a story about a guy. He wanted to put on a one-man show. He’s an actor, comedian and improviser. He’s a great Producer and even runs a small theater project in his hometown providing stages for other performers and for the troop he’s in. But he wanted to do something solo. He had a dream of living in a van, traveling the country with other solo performers, and being on stages night after night cracking everyone up with the witty and white-hot one-man show he’s going to write … is writing … is thinking about writing … is taking classes on how to write … is going to conferences about writing … is sitting in his room with a spiral notebook planning his writing. Being a student has him stuck because that just feels so good.
He loves the process. But the product? We’ve yet to see it. And he’s complaining about not having done it.
He loves the process, scared of, or can’t quite ship the product.
Pitfall number one: Can’t ship shit.
[READ ABOUT PITFALL 2 AND 3 OVER ON MY NEW SUBSTACK “Far Fetched” and subscribe]