High school Spanish class seemed like an eternity ago. Probably because it was! At the time I wasn’t motivated and I really couldn’t see the value in learning a new language. It wasn’t until several years later, in 2011, that I decided to learn Spanish at the local community college. This time I was motivated, because I had more opportunities to use Spanish than I did in high school.
My thought was that I would quickly pick up and be speaking Spanish semi-fluently in a few short weeks. After the first class, I realized it was going to be a longer pursuit than I thought. There was no quick fix for learning Spanish, short of total cultural immersion. Even that would have taken significant time. I was presented with the realization that learning Spanish is a process.
Most worthy pursuits in life are like that. There is a process to their achievement and mastery. A shortcut rarely exists. How, for example, would you shortcut the process of raising healthy, productive children? Could that be done over a couple of long weekends, or in a few short days? What about earning a degree or becoming proficient at a skill or profession? Does a person earn a college degree in a week? Are significant weight loss goals achieved in a couple of hours? Hardly.
So why then are we surprised that our big goals, dreams, and desires should take any less time? Are we so hungry for instant results that we’ll ignore known processes for success because they take commitment over an extended period of time? Sure, we read about the individual or business that seems to have “made it overnight”. What you’ll rarely hear about are all the countless weeks, months, or years they repeatedly followed a process in order to become an overnight success.
I’ve learned that you can’t shortcut a process. You can take steps to speed up the process, like devoting more time to practice and preparation. You can avoid common mistakes by talking to people who have already followed the process and can point out common pitfalls. You can even give up on the process; deciding that it’s just too hard. (If you’re reading this blog, I don’t think that’s a choice that sounds very appealing to you.) The one thing you can’t do is reach your goals by short-cutting the process.
The process is the road we travel as we pursue our goals and dreams to reality. It’s continually making the choices that move us in the direction we want to go. We build this road daily by repeatedly causing something to happen that will move us closer to our goals and dreams.
As you set out to do great things, realize that there is a process to get there. Embrace it, and don’t attempt to shortcut it. You’ll be amazed by the power of the process.