• Daniel Bowman PhD

Being Process Oriented

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing a number of clips from recent talks I gave at the Thompson Golf Academy. Although the audiences for these peak performance talks were golfers and their parents, these mental strategies will improve performance in all sports, as well as in weight loss, business, and stock trading.

This first clip is about being process-oriented. Being process oriented means that you focus on proper execution as opposed to outcome. In golf, which makes you happier? Making a great swing that hits the green, but takes a strange bounce and goes into water near the hole, or making a poor swing that lands shy of the green, takes a strange bounce and goes into the hole? Your answer tells you whether you are process or outcome oriented.

While our society favors outcome to process, to perform at your best, you must learn to value process more than outcome. Getting lucky in business or a stock trade will not carry you as far, in the long run, as learning and striving to work or trade with excellence. In stock trading, I have seen people succeed in the short term by acting on illegal insider information, but such behavior is not only illegal but also eventually leads to large losses. As Jesse Livermore, the greatest stock trader in history, once said, "Taking inside information is the quickest way to go broke. The information can change on a dime and you will be left holding the bag." Trying to cheat in the stock trading is like trying to cheat in school. In both cases, people only care about the outcome and are cheating themselves.

Similarly, when it comes to weight loss, you should be happier when you eat right and exercise regularly for a week and lose one pound than when you eat poorly on couple of days, don't exercise at all during a week and lose two pounds. Weight fluctuates greatly based on a number of factors, such as how much water you have recently drank (drinking 16 ounces of water will immediately show one pound of weight gain). You should look at outcomes in sports, business, stock trading, and weight loss to get feedback on whether your processes are right, but you should focus at least five times more on process than outcome and look at long term outcome trends, as opposed to daily ones. Day to day outcomes are affected by numerous things, many of which are beyond your control. Focus where it counts and where you have control: Be process oriented!