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.