Are you result or process driven?

Are you result or process driven? Have you given it some thought? It was recently on my mind.

We like to do puzzles. We’re puzzlers. We stick to smallish ones, five hundred to seven hundred and fifty pieces that we can complete in an evening. I don’t want the stress of an unfinished puzzle torturing me, and my son is the same way. Plus, the cat views unguarded puzzle pieces as the ultimate toy.

What to do with the puzzles once they’re done, however, was a puzzle. The boxes of the done pile up, and it’s a bit before one wants to tackle a done one again. It takes time to forget.

I thought about trying the peel-and-stick options, a way that seemed terrifyingly fraught with error, but then remembered Mod-Podge. Smack a few layers of craft glue on a puzzle front and back and suddenly you’ve got a board. I’ve now got them up on various walls around the house. Maybe I’ll start turning them into gifts (insert evil laugh here)? [i]

I was putting coat two on the back of our most recent puzzle this morning while grumpily reflecting on my lot. First-world problems – I have to be inside during an Arctic cold snap, doing puzzles. I like the finished products (though I have buyer’s remorse as I write about it, thinking of all the things I could’ve done better in the hanging thereof), but the applying of glue is boringly time-consuming.

It takes me minutes. Plus, it doesn’t spread nicely and I have to take extra time to daub into the spaces the foam brush misses on the first pass. This is when I start to think about myself and my processes. I’m not great with the concept.

I like results. I like good results. Part of the problem I have with processes is that they’re imperfect. I suspect I’d like the glue application more if flowed easily and if I didn’t worry about a directional uniformity of brush strokes.

This isn’t a new problem. Among other things, it’s dogged my piano practice since I was a child. The desire to play piano always conflicted with my distress over the imperfections that come with doing something new. That fear and dislike holds me back when it comes to expanding my repertoire.

It holds me back in various ways.

I was applying the glue, despairing of my thoughts and the way perfectionism has become a fatal and life-destroying flaw (I seem to have perfected the art of being overly dramatic) when it occurred to me that it isn’t always true. I’m process-driven on occasion.

Yoga was the first example that sprang to mind. I work to perfect the poses and the flows, true, but this is part of the process and I don’t despair because I’m not there. I persist and take pleasure and pride in my advancements. Weight training is much the same way. I find them meditative, not results-based.

What a fabulous segue.

Meditation is also process-driven for me. I don’t remember if I ever obsessed over perfect results. I suspect I did in the early days of starting out, not only because I am who I am but because the early days are when the monkey brain is particularly intense. It gets quieter when you give up focusing on results and “doing it right.”

And then there’s parenting. Some parents are results-driven, who push for high marks at school, for captaincy, for the first chair, and for social popularity. There are comparative parents who note milestones only to quiz everyone they encounter to see how their child ranks.

That isn’t my style. I approached parenting like a research paper – I did a lot of reading. I also had an end goal going in, not for my children but for me – I wanted to be different than my parents. I wanted for my children some of the parenting I didn’t receive. That is one lesson I learned about parenting from my mom and dad.  Whatever issues I have with their parenting style, they treated it like a process as well.

The realization that once again I wasn’t all black or all white was comforting. I wasn’t happy with the glue-based epiphany – that I was a result-obsessed perfectionist. That’s there, for sure, but we’re almost never just one thing. This is a good thing – a life solely dedicated to only processes or only results would be a sad one.

Much of life is a work in progress.

[i] I obviously don’t Podge every puzzle, just the ones I like most. This one looks like American folk art, a style I enjoy. But this is the worst kind of gift – handmade. Handmade gifts are an albatross and it takes years for people to reach the statute of limitations for discard.

13 thoughts on “Are you result or process driven?

  1. Oh, I laughed about “(I seem to have perfected the art of being overly dramatic)” How interesting to think about process versus result. And the process things you named – yoga, meditation, and parenting (thank goodness for that since no one gets that right!) Maybe no one gets yoga or meditation perfect either.

    I love this post because it reminds me that learning is a messy endeavor. And as you said, a work in progress.

    Wishing you wonderful holidays, Michelle!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We dislike winter for these reasons: dry skin and itchy varicose veins from the furnace; danger of falling on ice; lack of living things in nature; no fucking daylight (good morning: sun sets in 5 minutes); getting less exercise and immersion outside cuz we are nature folk; the plow creating Everest at driveway’s end over and over

    Why we like winter: choices are fewer, which calms ocd a little; with all the layers on and everyone else inside, it’s pretty quiet out there when we do venture out; winter birds ❤️💕

    We must be process people cuz we don’t always finish things or achieve goals or necessarily set them. The biggest disappointment presently (other than, you know, life destroying trauma and mental illness) is inability to get better fast enough at Nonviolent Communication because we have no one to practice with outside of one therapist. Process sux and no result.

    In a week, above freezing here: wait for it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “good morning: sun sets in 5 minutes” 😅 True story.

      One thing I do like about winter is the weight of the clothing. Heavy clothes are calming to me – I wore a winter parka indoors for year for most months.

      (other than, you know, life destroying trauma and mental illness)
      I love your dry sense of humour. It matches mine.

      I bought the book about NVC but I haven’t started it yet. I’m good at procrastinating when I think things might be triggering.

      Fingers crossed the weather prediction is correct. It’s been -15C plus wind for nearly a week here. I don’t like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I thrive on processes, but always have goals and rejoice in results—so, I guess I’m both. Being OCD probably plays into the process-loving…and it rules until my impatience kicks in (or my inner voice telling me to stop obsessing).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Keep going lady! That’s one thing I admire about, you know the areas in your life that need improvement and you’re always ready to work on them. Reality is, we all have flaws, but not too many of us are willing to accept that we are not perfect and could use some self-improvement. Happy Holidays to you and all the best for the new year.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My motivation is laziness, and that has me wondering if you could find what solvent is the in glue and ‘water it down’ with something similiar. Maybe acetone from the hardware store would work, but it also could not work, so don’t quote me on any of this! But more liquidy glue sounds like it’d be ideal for you.

    By coincidence my wife and daughter started a puzzle yesterday. I’m easily a results person. I hate putting them together, it’s just a challenge you suffer through until it’s finished. They were enjoying the process until I show up; Mr. Results, let’s get this stuff put together! I don’t like it. Maybe I’ll give the process some thought and enjoyment.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What an awesome suggestion. I had considered water but recognized that wouldn’t work. I will investigate some more. If only someone had invented a way for me to do quick research 😉

    Process can be calming, at least for me. I’ve come to really appreciate calmness.


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