TIB #5: Change is a process, not an event

Written by Arno Jansen
Change is a process, not an event
Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Today’s mantra is: ”Change is a process, not an event.”

Let that sink in for a moment. 🤯 Mind blown yet?

“Events are the results of an executed process.”

There you have it. The whole gist of this post. You’re welcome. 🙂

Loose weight, run a marathon, ditch the cubicle to travel the world; we all dream about what our lives could be. Unfortunately, most dreams go unfulfilled. Most changes do not stick.

It is not for lack of trying though! That is why you have that pile of opt-in PDF’s. That is why you keep buying self-help books.

That is why you are reading this.

And that’s great news, because it means you are still trying and have not given up on your dreams yet! That is awesome! 

The reason it is so hard to make lasting life changes is because you are focussed on the wrong thing. You are trying to achieve a specific result. An outcome. Something that irrefutably shows that our efforts have paid off. That we survived the grind. 

Except that it does not produce lasting change. Let me help you change that.

Results are overrated (most of the time)

A results focussed mindset, means you are focussed on the ‘short-term’ outcomes:

  • Loose 15 kilo’s (or 33 lbs)🙂  
  • Run 10km’s (or 6.21371 miles) . 
  • Make 100 sales. 

Focus on the results and events are the outcomes. For better or worse. 

A results focussed mindset achieves only one of two possible outcomes:

You do not achieve the result you were after. You do try, but at some point you loose focus and get distracted. After a while that voice in your head tells you that you failed. We feel bad for a little bit and move on. But we do carry this experience with us . Every next resuls we want to achieve comes with a growing feeling of doubt and insecurity. Not good.


You do achieve the result, bask in your glory, brag about it. You feel good for a little while and then loose focus and interest and move on to something else. What once was a challenging goal to look forward to has now become something in the past. Congratulations on achieving your goal. Be careful that your change of focus, does not detract from your achieved result!

Process is where it’s at

Instead, focus on the process and events will happen along the way. The better the process, the quicker or bigger the events. Optimise your process and keep it running for as long as possible to ‘grow’ an increasing number of results.

Recipes are a documented process

Chefs are focussed on process: in order to produce the same high-quality dish to many different customers, every day of the week, they need a solid process. The recipe is the documented process.

Using the same ingrediënts and processing them in the same way (process), creates that same amazing dish every time (event). For us eating at the restaurant, that event is why we are there. For the chef, that process does not stop. 

Let’s take it one step further: The recipe for making that dish is itself the outcome of a process. Figuring out what ingrediënts go well together, combined with deliberate experimentation to find new dishes to serve. A new dish, means a new process.

The Olympic gold medallist

The athlete winning a gold medal at the Olympics, is the event. It is an heroic achievement. He or she has proven to be the best in the world. What an amazing event to witness! We call these “momentous occasions”. 

Michael Phelps, an (ex) competitive swimmer, has won 28 Olympic medals. 23 of which were gold. And all that between 2004 and 2016. That is not just one event. That is 28 events! 

You already know where I am going with this, right? 

These events were the by-product of his process. Years of training, exercises, diets, as well as finding new technologies and techniques to improve. Those are all part of the process that can eventually lead to record breaking results.

We know it, but we don’t do it

We all know that. Yet, when it comes to our own dreams, we are looking for shortcuts. For quick wins, so that we can get it over with and move on. Let’s look at weight loss for example: What is the real change you want to make? Do you want to “Loose 10 kg” or do you want to “Be Healthy”? “Loose 10kg” is an event, “Be Healthy” is a process. 

The opposite is also true: an undesirable result or event is also outcome of a process.

Being unfit is the result of a process. The moment you realise you are unfit may feel like an event if you walk up the stairs gasping for air. But it was a process that lead you there. 

The National Geographic TV series “Aircrash Investigation” had a line in the intro of their episodes that stated along the lines of: “an airplane disaster is never the result of one thing gone wrong, but a string of events that lead to the disaster”.

Once you change your focus from events to process, you will see processes everywhere as well as the results they produce.

What this mindset looks like if you make the shift

Many people want to loose weight. Losing 10kg means we switch into ‘hero mode’ and go on a diet. For as long we can muster the energy and willpower, we will deny ourselves the stuff we want so badly. 

We skip meals, drink juices, go on a fast and suddenly we work out 3 times a week. You meticulously track your weight and one day you have achieved your goal! 

And what happens once you made it? You celebrate, you feel awesome! You mentally tick that box and feel healthy and happy. Then you start to focus on the rest of your life again. 9 out of 10 times, that is the moment you fall back into the old behavior. And ‘behavior’ is just another word for ‘process’.

When you change your mindset from “trying to loose weight” to “being healthy”, you make the change to focus on process instead of results and events. Being healthy means making many small choices in favor of that process. Keep that up long enough and the event of “losing 10 kg (or 22lbs)” will happen at some point, followed by “I feel so happy and energized”, possibly followed by more weight loss. You have now changed your behavior.

Focussing on process, means you are aware of your day to day choices. It also means you don’t have to be perfect in all those choices. When being healthy is the focus, it is no problem te eat ice cream every once in a while. You know you are consciously deviating from the “being healthy” process. It is ok. We are not machines. Just make the next choices healthier. 

As long as the majority of your choices over time are in line with “being healthy”, you keep that process going and many more events will happen over time as a result. 

That is what “Trying is Being” is all about.

Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

Join my free Focus Finder email course to transform yourself from deeply distracted to fully focused.

    Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

    Join my free Focus Finder course and go from deeply distracted to fully focused.

      "With a sprinkle of charm and a bucket full of practical wisdom, "Trying Is Being" is a radiant beacon of motivation for entrepreneurs. Grounded in a deeply relatable sense of humanity, it’s a newsletter that helps you put your anxieties to rest by reminding you of what truly matters.

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