Process versus event

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There are two ways to get the things you want in life. One way, the very easy one, is that someone gives it to you. You inherit it, you win the lottery, you get lucky, your family or someone else simply gives it to you. You may have gotten good genes, you may have been born in a rich family, you may fall in love with the right person right away, you may have been born with good looks or intelligence. There’s nothing wrong with that, but almost nobody on Earth is born with all their big desires fulfilled; and if there were no other way of getting the things you want, the world would really be very unfair.

That’s why we know the second way of getting the things we want in life. It’s called following a carefully orchestrated process. We can give different names to the thing you want, we can call it your endgame, your desired outcome, the final event or simply event. But to come to the event you want, process comes into play first. If you don’t respect and follow the process, it’s most likely that there won’t be a final event for you.

The sad truth is that most people want the big events in their life without investing into the process. Most people look at the few people who were born lucky and feel sorry for themselves, wondering why they aren’t that lucky in life; even more: they see people who put all their effort into the long process as lucky. They see success, but they refuse to see years and years of hard work and the vigorous process that successful people have followed.

As a consequence, people get mad at life as if life owes them something. But life owes you nothing, it was here first. Disregarding the process and giving away your personal power means giving away your potential to live a full and quality life. It means giving up your desires and dreams.

You should remember two things. The first is that you’re never given a wish or a desire without also being given the power to make it come true. And the second thing is that life rewards those who master its rules and respect the process.You have to work hard for what you wish for.

But it’s also true that following and respecting the process isn’t easy. You need a long-term view. First, you need to put in the effort and you only reap the rewards after a long time of investing. Following the process takes discipline, stamina, persistence, resilience, fast learning, competitive mind-set, smart work, hard work and much more. It’s only after years of hard work that the rewards and the events you wanted follow.

The events you want in your life

Having desires and needs is in the human nature. It’s in your nature to want things in life, especially avoiding pain and striving towards pleasure. It’s in our bones to progress, evolve, achieve and experience life as much as possible and be happy. It’s true that happiness has more to do with our inner state than outer rewards, but we still need achievements and good events to happen to us. You need to respect your own desires and needs.

Here are the events most people (90 %) want in life:

  • Health: To have a ripped body and be fit
  • Relationships: To fall in love, have the spouse of your dreams and many honest friends
  • Money: To get rich or be financially well off
  • Career: To be respected and promoted, to have a good job/business
  • Competences: To be really good at something and contribute to the world
  • Emotions: To be happy and strong

And here are the most important facts of life:

  • Having a ripped body is the final event, but to get fit, you must first follow the process
  • Falling in love with the right person is an event, but to get to that, you must first follow the process
  • Getting rich is the final outcome, but to get wealthy, you must first follow the process
  • Getting promoted is your endgame, but first you have to follow the process that will lead you to the promotion you want
  • Being good at something is the final event, but before that, you have to invest into the process
  • Being a happier person is an event, you can’t just decide to be happier, you must first follow a specific process to get there.

All these are final events you probably want in life, at least some of the outcomes you might desire. Being aware and knowing what you want in life as clearly as possible is very important and the first step towards a better life. But after you know the events you want, it’s time to follow a carefully orchestrated process. As I already mentioned, the process is usually the thing that creates the events and final outcomes that most people see as luck.

An interesting fact to mention here is that the same philosophy is the foundation of the lean start-up methodology. To quote Eric Reis, father of the lean start-up movement: “Start-up success is not a consequence of good genes or being in the right place at the right time. Start-up success can be engineered by following the right process, which means it can be learned, which means it can be taught.” The same rule applies to all other areas of your life.

The process

Let’s say that again, so you’ll really become aware of it. The process is the overnight success that comes after years of hard work. It’s the effort you put in that leads to the results you want. The process requires discipline, sacrifice, commitment and delayed gratification. The process is your sweat and tears, it’s the life’s test of whether you really want something badly enough. Because if you really want something badly enough, you’ll always find a way, if not, you’ll always find an excuse.

In most cases, the process consists of:

  • “Bottom lines” or core of the matter
  • Educating yourself and levelling up your skills
  • Searching and experimenting to find the right thing for you, your fit
  • Identity shift and changing your inner world
  • Building a superior strategy with all your creativity and strategic thinking
  • Regular adjustments, staying flexible and constantly innovating
  • Choosing the right environemnt
  • Putting in smart and hard work for years (usually three to ten years)
  • Constant improvements and adjustments

We can divide the process elements into five phases that are called empathy, stickiness, virality, revenue and scaling. More about the phases in some later post. But now, let’s look at the process elements in a little bit more detail.

First are the bottom lines. The bottom lines are simple, in most cases eternal, truths about life. They are the core guidelines for what to do, you only have to find your own way for doing it. Here are the bottom lines for the most desired things in life:

  • Health: You have to exercise (aerobic, anaerobic) regularly and mind what and how much you eat
  • Relationships: Mutual value added that has to be in balance, you have to meet enough people
  • Money: You have to spend less than you earn and invest the difference or build your own business
  • Career: The more ambitious career you want, the more people you have to impact (preferably in a positive way), fighting for a cause or providing and delivering the value people want
  • Competences: To be an outlier in life, you have to invest 10,000 hours into something
  • Emotions: To be happy, you have to increase your capacity for love and your feeling of self-worth

The bottom lines are very simple in theory. There’s no need to complicate them more than that. The problem is that there are unlimited ways of discovering these bottom lines; and everybody has to find their own way.

Although there are many ways to achieve bottom line results and that can be quite confusing, there are also some other general rules about how to follow the process and what to do.

First of all, you have to educate yourself and level up your skills. No matter what you want to do or achieve in life, acquiring and applying knowledge is power. Go straight to the best resources and study them carefully. In the information age, we have an inflation of information, and most of it is shit. A copy of a copy of a copy.

Don’t just consume information, go for the best knowledge and apply it to your life. Read constantly, keep talking to people who are smarter than you, and never stop educating yourself. And applying knowledge in your daily life.

Nevertheless, no matter how much knowledge you acquire, no matter how many role models you study, you must find your own way to success. We are all different. Something else works for me than it does for you. Thus you must search and experiment in life to find the winning combination for you only. Life is like a puzzle, you have to build your masterpiece for yourself. You have to be you, since everybody else is already taken.

After you find your fit, hard and smart work follows. Making an identity shift and changing your inner world. Using all your creativity and strategic thinking to build a superior strategy, which should then be your own personal system that leads you to better odds for success. Making regular adjustments and staying flexible. Putting in smart and hard work for years. Constant improvements and adjustments. You have to focus yourself, you have to push yourself, and you must never give up.

Sooner or later, the process will lead you to your final outcome. The beginnings are usually the hardest. You first have to set strong foundations, but you’re also doing something new, something you’re not really good at. In the beginning, you may even be surprised about how much innovation and effort it takes to achieve an outcome you desire. But remember, every master was once a disaster.

When you see your first early wins after starting to follow your process, you’ll get more motivated. Your effort will accumulate, your skills will level up and you will see your progress clearly. Remember that with time, the hard road becomes easy and the easy road usually becomes hard.

It usually takes from three to ten years of following the process each day to really achieve the final outcome. During the process, there are always setbacks, disappointments and obstacles. They are like little tests to see whether you still really want something badly enough. Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward. Sometimes your progress slows down. But you don’t have to be afraid of slow progress, what you have to be afraid of is giving up.

Never give up, always trust and follow the process. Without the process, there is no final event.

There’s another important thing. If you skip the process, you won’t really enjoy the event as much as you could. If something is given to you, you don’t respect it as much; and even more: you don’t evolve, your skills don’t level up, you don’t improve and become a better person. Following the process has many other benefits besides achieving the desired final event.

Things that influence the process the most

There are, of course, many things that influence how fast you can go through the process and how much time it will take you to get to your final event. Here are the six most important things that influence the process and that you have to take into consideration when building your life strategy.

  • Your starting point – The worse your staring position is, the longer the process will probably take.
  • The resources available to you – The more resources you have available, be it inner (intelligence, skills, stamina, knowledge…) or outer assets (money, connections, brand, technology…), the faster you can go through the process. That’s why focusing and acquiring resources is so important in life, and why in the long run, success brings success.
  • Market trends (financial, job…) – Market trends can accelerate or slow down or even stop your progress during the process. Never forget that markets always win, take them into consideration very carefully. Changes create new winners.
  • Your environment – From your country, company and spouse to your friends and colleagues. You’re also the product of your environment. Make sure that your environment supports your process and that it’s possible to achieve your desired outcome in the environment you operate in.
  • Creativity and innovation –. On your individual path to success, you always have to invent and create new things. There’s no successful process without good and creative ideas. If you find yourself stuck, you have to innovate your way out.
  • Rituals and habits – To follow a specific new process, you need a new reward and value system in your life, with new rituals and habits. The more flexible you are and the faster you can upgrade your thinking and introduce new rituals and habits into your life, the faster you’ll start following the new process.

About the author

Consulting and management coaching

Blaž Kos has managed venture capital investments over the past 12 years and participated in the development of the start-up ecosystem in the region. Today, he advises companies on growth strategies, process optimization, the introduction of lean agile methods and the digitalization of business. In addition to the Slovenian blog, he also writes an English blog, which was selected among the 50 best bloggers in the world in the category of personal and business growth.
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