The Missing Piece of the Process

by Cam

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how important the process is, and how, instead of focusing on results, you should focus on the process. Focusing on the process helps you avoid becoming dependent on the outcome, which otherwise only leads to you becoming frustrated, building resentment and developing negative momentum. In order to see your goals through, it’s kind of important to avoid frustration, resentment and negative momentum.

Everybody knows that in order to accomplish your goals, you need to create smaller, mini goals along the way, typically called milestones. After writing down both your goal, and the milestones you need to hit, only one thing is left standing in your way of completing the goal you desire: action steps. Through the process of doing these steps, you will ultimately reach the finish line and meet your goal. The key word though, is: action. Without taking action, you will not hit your goal. That much should be obvious.

We like to call your action steps the processes. These are organized into an actionable regime called a system, allowing you to focus on the process properly. Now you can see your goals through.

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” ~Proverb

Now that we understand the process, let’s talk about what is missing.

missing piece of puzzle

The Missing Piece

This post was inspired by a friend of mine. You see, my friend understands that you need to be process oriented. He understands that in order to obtain your goals, you need to follow the processes that get you there. But it’s not all glory for him. Even with his fundamental knowledge of the process, and having successfully applied it to reach his goals many times over, I’ve noticed a pattern in his success: it seems to take him much longer to get there than it should.

This doesn’t come from a lack of effort either. The dude works harder than most people I know. After analyzing why this might be happening recently, I figured it out. He seems to take the hard road to success every time. Instead of working smart, he works hard. This isn’t always a bad thing, and it’s of my opinion that you should work smart and work hard. The combination of the two is best. “Work hard at working smart.” My friend seems to consistently learn things the hard way. Applicable as learning things the hard way sometimes needs to be, this got me thinking:

Should You Really Make the Same Mistake Twice?

In today’s society, it’s incredibly common to hear case studies of people “failing their way to success.” And rightfully so. Making mistakes is absolutely crucial for growth and success. Let’s not be ridiculous here, or take anything in this post out of context. No case study is better than that of Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb. Legend goes that Thomas Edison had over 10,000 failed experiments before the light bulb finally worked, as he famously says: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” But I wonder. Did he waste his time trying any of those experiments over and over again if he already knew that experiment didn’t work? Or did he learn from it and move onto the next one.

My question isn’t one about whether or not you should “makes mistakes and fail your way to success”, but simply: should you really make the same mistake twice?

Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like society is too accepting of people making the same mistakes over and over again. Is that the case? Is this a mindset we all have? My friend definitely holds this certain mindset. When he makes a mistake, he views it as part of the process and he just needs to keep plugging away. This is right, because he does. But he’s missing the key piece of the process, the one where we need to learn from our mistakes. Everyone always talks about learning from your mistakes, and viewing them as feedback not failure. “Every failure as a learning experience.” But is it optimal to make that mistake again? If you make the same mistake twice, shouldn’t you have learned the first time?

I already know that some people will talk about how sometimes it takes making a mistake more than once in order for it to stick. And sometimes I agree. But realistically, how much effort do people really put into sitting down and thinking about the mistake they just made, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again. How much thought honestly goes into learning from this mistake? I’m not convinced very much. And I’m just as guilty as the next guy.

These are some things to think about for sure. I’m not even set on my view yet, but a few examples of this come to mind.

Here’s one:

You go to school and write a test. Your teacher marks it and gives it back to you. You got 77%. Congratulations. Now comes the real test. Do you read it and practice every question you got wrong over and over, so if you wrote that same test again you would get 100%, or do you revel in the validation you received from the 77% you did get right, and hand it back to her? Which path do you choose? Which path leads you to be better prepared next time? Which one would lead to greater success?

The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going. ~ Napoleon Hill

rubex cube

If you think about it, the habit of studying before a test is one society encourages often. “Take the time to study so you are well prepared before an exam, and this will lead you to get better marks.” But do we carry this same mindset to other areas of our life? Do we “study” in life as much as we need to? Or should? Do we not prepare for life enough? If we prepared better, could we avoid making the mistakes we seem to make time and time again in order to learn from them? And if we do make a mistake, do you actually learn from it, so it never happens again?

Is ACTUALLY learning from your mistakes the missing piece of the puzzle? I think so. What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments below.

About Cam
Cam Adair is a Motivational Speaker who dares you to live a life you're proud of. Watch his TEDx talks on Escaping Video Game Addiction and The Surprising Truth About Rejection. Follow him on Instagram. He is the Founder of Game Quitters, a support community for those who struggle with a gaming problem.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Max November 6, 2011 at 2:14 am

Nice. My theory is that, when: You do understand and you fail, that’s ok – if you don’t understand and you fail – then its not ok, there is something has to be worked out and looked at.

Life is a learning process, some people tend to learn from mistakes longer then others which is cool, that’s why we break it down into small pieces and analyze it as much as we can, and look for feed back when we’re done and look forward to comments and suggestion, there is nothing wrong with that.

Cam November 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Completely agree Max. Great comment!

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