Trust the Process

“The way to do really big things seems to be to start with deceptively small things,”

– Paul Graham

Trust the Process

If 2016 was about being deliberate, 2017 is about “trusting the process.”

Former GM of the 76ers Sam Hinkie kept asking people to trust the process. He didn’t mean the 76ers star player, Joel Embiid, who has since nicknamed himself “The Process.” (All the cool people I know come up with their own nicknames, by the way).

Of course, Sam went about it differently than I intend to. He was audacious (to say the least), but if you’re a 76ers fan, you have to appreciate the fact that they’re trending upward and top pick Ben Simmons should help bolster a squad full of young talent.

Hinkie is a cautionary tale for many. You can read his resignation letter in full here. (It’s full of fantastic insights.)

Regardless of the outcome, I think he was on the right track and I admire that he was thoughtful in pursuit of the long game; therefore, I’ve set out to trust my own process – albeit with a much more incremental approach than Hinkie’s.

I’m not out to “disrupt” anything. My process is focused on the big picture, but iterative in nature – a series of experiments designed to make me better at things that are important to me.

The goals?

  • Stay aligned
  • Write more = think more
  • Read more = learn more
  • Remain reasonably fit

Trusting the process will enable me to focus more on these things and less on other things that add less value, namely: politics, social media, and television.

For those of you who are visual, this is what a week of my “process” looks like in Excel:

8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th Week 2 Avg
Daily Stoic
500 Words 914 802 258 480 0 343 0 400
100 Pushups 100 80 100 50 50 85 100 81
25 pages 29 17 0 0 29 0 39 16
Achieved
Work Trip: S.A.

 

I read a page from Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hansleman’s Daily Stoic every day. The book is designed this way and its meditations on wisdom, perseverance and the art of living help me find serenity, acquire self-knowledge and hone resilience.

I try to write 500 words every day. This has to be outside the duties of my day job, but doesn’t have to be for this blog. It can be a letter to a friend, a business consultation, a journal entry, etc.

The important thing is that writing enables me to think, construct thoughts and make sense of ideas.

I try to knock out 100 push-ups every day. This isn’t physically challenging for me, but it helps to have that constant reminder looming over me. Since Rhett came along in July, I haven’t found as much time to work out and this is a relatively easy way to maintain some modicum of fitness.

Finally, I try to read 25 pages every day. Most books are 200-250 pages so if I’m reading 25 pages a day, I should be able to knock out a book every 2 weeks or 25+ books this year. We’ll see. The goal is to go deeper. Historically, I’ve read entirely too many online articles. I’ve learned a lot, sure, but what better way to learn than spend 5-6 days reading something that took someone 2 years to write? That’s where the real insights are.

Not having that little “achieved” check mark would’ve driven me nuts two years ago. In January, I only accomplished all four daily goals three times.

Since, I’ve learned that these “goals” are merely a compass. Am I heading in the right direction? Having them at the back of my mind helps me achieve more… much more than having big, hairy audacious goals that are unrealistic such that I get frustrated and just quit.

Did they work?

Yeah, I think so.

In January, I wrote 9173 words (334/day), did 2220 pushups (72/day) and read 768 pages (15.5/day).

As a result, I wrote (and published) more blog posts in January than I had since September 2015. I feel stronger than I was at the end of the year and I finished 3 books.

The great thing about this experiment is the freedom to change it on a dime.

In fact, after reflecting on January’s goals, I’m making a change in February. The weekly average will now be based on 5 days vs. 7 days. That way, the weekends just become “gravy” and I can spend weekends more focused on spending time with my family.

So yeah, that’s the process in a nutshell.

I’m curious, what processes improve your life? What experiments are you running?

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This blog started primarily as a marketing blog, but now features much more about work/life, social psychology, health and happiness. We also explore top performers (authors, entrepreneurs, business leaders and more) and dissect what we can take away to become top performers in our own work and personal lives.

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