When we invest in a process, outcomes become less important and have less of an impact on our happiness.
One of the downsides to investing in outcomes is that we drive ourselves to believe that if I had X, then I'd be happy. This causal relationship, however, keeps us changing the target, so we're never really satisfied.
However, by focusing on the process, we accomplish two things:
- We are actually thinking about how to move towards a goal.
- We remove our dependency on the outcome, and are free to actually get there.
I am reminded of an interesting perspective on Steve Job's approach to avoiding the Innovator's Dillema: by reducing the focus on profits, Apple was able to focus on passion—which actually produced higher profits.
Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator's Dilemma at Harvard Business Review for a discussion of how focusing on passion increased profits at Apple.
Patient Problem Solving for our discussion about focusing on the process of learning math.