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Process driven approach: The secret of life

Process driven approach: The secret of life
The book has been translated and interpreted by thousands of people around the world. It can be called the book of life for being a dictionary to living life happily
A book, which stands applicable even today after thousands of years, is the Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Lord Krishna is believed to have spoken the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna at the Battle of Kurukshetra in approximately 3137 BC.

The book has been translated and interpreted by thousands of people around the world. It can be called the book of life for being a dictionary to living life happily. Every phrase in the book is filled with meaning. One revelation that stands out and has been widely researched by scientists is that of choosing a path between 'result driven' versus 'process driven'.

Chapter 2 verse 47 of Bhagavad Gita: Karmanyevadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, Ma Karmaphalaheturbhurma Te Sangostvakarmani, meaning: You have the right to work only but never to its fruits. Your motivation should not be fruit of action, nor be attached to inaction.

This verse essentially talks about the way to live life, focusing on the process rather than the outcome. This may seem rather counterintuitive as the outcome drives us to work harder. But social psychologist Ellen Langer in her book Mindfulness critics what we have been taught since childhood, that is to focus on outcome rather than the process by which they are achieved. She believes this restrictive way of thinking blocks us and leads us to a 'mindless' state.

What's wrong with being focused on outcome?

People are encouraged to set high standards like high marks or goals at work. The problem arises when all we do is stress about that benchmark. All efforts taken are directed towards the result with no joy in the process.

For example when a student sets the goal of 95%, his work towards achieving it is purely driven by the result to be attained, with no joy in learning the subjects or gaining knowledge. The process where we spend most of our time and effort does not give us joy but just a burden to get over in order to achieve the goal.

Instead of asking, "How do I do this?", result focused work gets us stressed, we are worried about whether we can do this at all or the possibility of failure looming over our head. Self doubt, tension and fear of failure are the only things we feel.

Comparison with others gets us further depressed and a feeling of worthlessness sets in, as we have not met the mark we set for ourselves. This can lead to a phase of inaction where in spite of setting the goal; there is no motivation to work for it as fear and self-doubt crushes us.

Why should we focus on the process?

When our focus shifts from the result to the process, there is a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment as we have enjoyed working towards the goal. Work becomes a joy, as every step is a new learning experience or a challenge.

Hardwork becomes exciting, as the result is not the only priority.

The pursuit itself is a fulfilling experience. When we are not in the clutches of the result, we are open to trying out new experiences, experimenting and taking risks. When we give our 100% to what we have to do, the outcome is immaterial and the problem of worrying about the result just drops off.

People who define themselves through effort rather than outcomes do not think much about the outcome. The outcome does not lie in our hands; it is out of our reach. There is no use of stressing over it. The only thing we can do is put in the efforts.

In every sport, the players aim to win every game but on the field they play with their heart and soul without the burden of the result. There is joy in the process of playing and whether they win or lose, they have the fulfillment of having given their best. Similarly in the game of life, the process is what matters and it is those people who are left with the best outcome.

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