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Should you focus on process or results?

Bill Walsh has a saying I love,

The score takes care of itself.

Concentrate on what will produce results rather than on the results, the process rather than the prize. (Source: Nat Eliason)

But Patty Azzarello also has a quote that makes a lot of sense,

You don’t win the game for running up and down the court; it’s the points on the board that count.

In the former, you focus on process. In the latter, on results.

So what should you do – focus on process or results?

I’ve finally figured out the answer:

  1. Envision the desired results
  2. Focus on process

In basketball and any sport, the desired results are clear and obvious. You win games by getting the most points. Everyone knows that. This is how Bill Walsh can say that the score takes care of itself.

However, these important preconditions – knowing what the score even is, much less how to get it – are not available outside less defined games. That’s why in work and in life, we first need to envision the results. Only once we’ve done that can we focus on process.

Otherwise, we risk working hard, exhausting ourselves running up and down the court, yet never win any games.

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