maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: Think How not Can.

“In contrast, a process orientation . . . asks ‘How do I do it?’ instead of ‘Can I do it?’ and this directs attention toward defining the steps that are necessary on the way. This orientation can be characterized in terms of the guiding principle that there are no failures, only ineffective solutions.”
Ellen Langer

One of the key thought processes I seek to instil in athletes is to focus on the process, not the outcome. If you focus on process and execute your process to the best of your ability the outcome will look after itself. Focusing on outcome often causes you to deviate from the process and negatively effects your performance.

Langer's question, "How do I do it?" causes you to focus on the process, the steps necessary to successfully accomplish the goal, mission or task. "Can I do it?" on the other hand will often cause self doubt, a flood of negative thoughts and a host of reasons why the answer is "No". 

In my presentations on The Pursuit of Personal Excellence and Dare to Be Great I talk about the importance of coming up with a new definition for failure. You are going to fail. It is part of life. The key is whether you view that failure as an opportunity or, as a setback or even a reason to quit. Failure can be feedback that provides you an opportunity to learn a better way and a chance to grow as a result of the experience. As Langer points out in her quote, failure is simply a method for identifying ineffective solutions.

What's Important Now? - As you prepare to wade into that next project focus on the process. Ask yourself, "How do I do it?", "What action steps do I need to take?", "What do I need to learn?", "Who do I need to get help from?" then take the first step and keep asking "What's Important Now?"

Take care.

Brian Willis


Maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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