Mastering the Process — Success

“The problem with all students, he said, is that they inevitably stop somewhere. They hear an idea and they hold on to it until it becomes dead; they want to flatter themselves that they know the truth. But true Zen never stops, never congeals into such truths. That is why everyone must constantly be pushed to the abyss, starting over and feeling their utter worthlessness as a student. Without suffering and doubts, the mind will come to rest on clichés and stay there, until the spirit dies as well. Not even enlightenment is enough. You must continually start over and challenge yourself.”

― Robert Greene, Mastery

Everywhere you look there is a quote, a book, and a video giving us everything we need to get going with whatever it is we are neglecting in our lives.

  • It comes down to mastering the process. It comes down to the understanding — a deep, visceral understanding about the importance of the the Way — process — journey over outcomes, goals, and destinations.

Everyone has done it. Set a lofty goal and start excitedly only to fizzle out. A lot of times it’s because we focus on the GOAL — the outcome instead of the process. Processes make up the smaller, chunked down checkpoints to help reach the larger goal or outcome.

But once we start centering the focus on the outcome we start to become unravelled. The day to day becomes boring and we give up or find ourselves in procrastination. We start to make excuses — we don’t want this goal anymore. I’ll never get there. Whatever the reason is we stop and fizzle. And then we become either anxious and stressed out because this worthy goal of ours is getting further and further away or we chalk it up to “I decided I don’t want that goal anymore.” Either way, the excitement you had at the start is inevitably gone. And it’s because your focus is off.

The journey — the process is the most important thing to consider and act upon. Within the process are daily disciplines and habits. These habits frame the person you will become along the journey. Choose quality daily habits (exercise, adequate water intake, conscious gratitude breathing, injecting your mind with mental vitamins like books, doing the work, etc) determine the person you will become.

Take it from Robert Greene from his book The 50th Law with 50 Cent:

“Once you start down this path, two things will happen: First, having the larger goal will lift your mind out of the moment and help you endure the hard work and drudgery. Second, as you become better at this task or craft, it becomes increasingly pleasurable. You see your improvement; you see connections and possibilities you hadn’t noticed before. Your mind becomes absorbed in mastering it further, and in this absorption you forget all your problems –fears for the future or people’s nasty games. But unlike the diversion that comes from outside sources, this one comes from within. You are developing a lifelong skill, the kind of mental discipline that will serve as the foundation of your power.”

It’s not about the THING — It’s not about the OUTCOME — It’s NOT about the goal. It’s about who you are becoming along the way to the goal. If we are not able to handle the smaller disciplines we are not going to be handed the larger disciplines — the larger challenges — the larger opportunities.

Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why” illustrates the importance of starting with WHY and Friedrich Nietzsche before him…

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”

This means that when things get to be unbearable, a simple reflection and reminder of the deeper purpose can and/or will help you overcome nearly any adversity you encounter.

We must realize the steps involved to getting to the goal are of the upmost importance. Of course getting the goal would be great but that is living in the future. We live in a forever of NOW’S. The time will come but to live in peace while pursuing our goal is the ultimate meditation.

“To the extent that we believe we can skip steps, avoid the process, magically gain power through political connections or easy formulas, or depend on our natural talents, we move against this grain and reverse our natural powers. We become slaves to time — as it passes, we grow weaker, less capable, trapped in some dead end career. We become captive to the opinions and fears of others…This intense connection and desires allows them to withstand the pain of the process — the self-doubts, the tedious hours of practice and study, the inevitable setbacks, the endless barbs from the envious. They develop a resiliency and confidence that others lack.”

― Robert Greene, Mastery

Reframe your mind — understand and embed in your nervous system the importance of PRACTICE. You talking bout’ practice? Yes, practice. Everything you do from now on is practice. When you run into an angry person, practice patience. When you encounter traffic, practice breathing.

“In dealing with any problem, you must train yourself to look at how it inevitably connects to a larger picture.”

― Robert Greene, Mastery

Daily disciplines and habits are the most important things we can focus on — because as OG Mandino wrote in his book “The Greatest Salesman in the World” — We are all slaves to our habits so we must make them good ones.

Again — practice. Don’t become a guru on a mountain. Don’t become an expert. Stay a student and practice.

“The problem with all students, he said, is that they inevitably stop somewhere. They hear an idea and they hold on to it until it becomes dead; they want to flatter themselves that they know the truth. But true Zen never stops, never congeals into such truths. That is why everyone must constantly be pushed to the abyss, starting over and feeling their utter worthlessness as a student. Without suffering and doubts, the mind will come to rest on clichés and stay there, until the spirit dies as well. Not even enlightenment is enough. You must continually start over and challenge yourself.”

Robert Greene, Mastery

The approach I’ve learned and applied from studying people smarter than me is the following:

Goals:

  1. Set larger goal
  2. Set smaller goal
  • Make smaller goal a period of time consisting of habits and disciplines
  • Why? Life won’t give us larger opportunities if we don’t handle the smaller disciplines
  • “You may be capable of great things, but life consists of small things.”

— Ming-Dao Deng

Approach and Strategy:

  1. Learn from the best in their fields in whatever you are pursuing
  2. Practice their maneuvers to perfection
  3. Adapt to current situation and mold it accordingly
  4. Start small and gain momentum

Daily Habits and Disciplines

  1. Start with Physiology
  2. Exercise — 5 minute Flow
  3. Breathing — focused on Gratitude
  4. Optional: Journaling after breathing
  5. JFDI — Just F****** Do IT

That’s it — hope you enjoyed this, get something out of it, and apply 1 thing today. I define success as completing my daily habits and disciplines — master the process.

Education without action is worthless

Action without education is dangerous

Vision without action is a hallucination — that’s what crazy people do.