We’ve all heard of the Ironic Effect before. The most popular example is the golfer, in front of the pond, thinking to himself “Don’t hit it in the water, don’t hit it in the water, don’t hit it in the water” and what does he do?  Well, we know the story. However, this seems to be the negative side of the ironic effect. Is there a positive side? What I mean is, can we get to where we want to go without really trying to get there? Let me try to explain….

Every team/athlete wants to win, every student wants an A, and every consultant out there wants to make a good living and have financial security. However, is it possible that the more we focus on these outcomes/results, the further and further away they stay? Can we achieve these results in a roundabout way?

Although the outcome goal obviously has to be determined, and the process seems to be much more important. You reap what you sow, as the saying goes. Being totally involved in the process, and the commitment, adversity, failures, pain, and joy that goes with it, seems to be the way to go. Forget about the corner office or winning the championship. If the often arduous (and largely invisible) process is not only accepted but embraced, success appears to follow. If you deviate from the required path in any domain, (academics, relationships, business, sports) it looks like you’re in trouble. My last question is, how do you know when to change the process? If the process doesn’t seem to be working, should we continue to believe it in (in the absence of results) or change it up? Isn’t the definition of insanity ‘repeating the same behaviors and expecting different results’. Isn’t that what sometimes happens in sports? (Okay, maybe I had a few more questions). This indicates how important the preparation of the process really is…

 

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