I noticed a disturbing trend in my life, in my work, and in society.
I noticed that I can have a tendency to worry more about process than about results. Somehow the ability to finish becomes secondary to how you finished.
The terrible thing about the process being more important than the result is the micro-management that happens.
This became apparent to me while I watched a TED talk with my wife over breakfast. The talk featured Michael Green talking about his desire to reinvigorate the architecture world with wooden skyscrapers. The problem is that most states have outlawed wooden buildings over 4 stories tall.
With all the major urban fires that have happened it makes sense that cities didn’t want wood buildings. The problem is that rather then making laws that set standards for fire safety, they began making laws forcing building procedures and materials.
So that means that when better building procedures are found, our towns have effectively stopped progress.
Tracy and I found this out a few years ago. Before we chose our RV lifestyle, we wanted to buy land and build a strawbale house. The problem? Wisconsin said a house must have a wood roof and wood frame. So we can build a strawbale house, as long as we built a wood frame around it. We checked on a steel home. Same problem. You can build one – just have to put a wood frame and roof on it as well.
The home building rules in our state are for safety. The problem is our state messed up. They didn’t make safety standards. Instead they made building procedures.
This isn’t just a government problem. How about work? How many people are filling out reports designed over 10 years ago that fail to fulfill their original function? How many companies have internal IT departments when they could have outsourced IT that is cheaper and more reliable? If goals aren’t met at work do they try new ideas or demand you keep refining the old ways that used to work?
How about our personal lives? You don’t care about the results of a clean room – you instead worry about how your kid cleaned it. Did your kid clean the room too quickly for your taste? We worry about what route you take when you drive over getting to the destination safety.
This kind of thinking is what keeps us from finding new ideas and having new experiences. When a friend comes over to help with a chore we want them to do it our way rather then learn a new and possibly better way. We want people to conform – to the point were we lose out on knowledge.
I learned this the hard way a few weeks ago. My kid saw me cutting up a grapefruit. He wanted to cut his grapefruit as well. I was about to correct how he was cutting. It was totally wrong! Instead I watched him. His way of cutting was far superior. Who knew I was doing it wrong the entire time?
I am not saying that process is not important. Process is important. The problem comes in when we measure progress by process.
If you are pursing a dream then you want that dream to happen. If your path varies from the path of other’s, that is okay! Take the path that leads you to your goals – just don’t confuse the path with the goal!
When you want to live an awesome life- follow your goals and values. Don’t get hung up on other peoples methods.