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Now that the anxiety of a first post is behind me, my 2nd post is going to be about the anxiety of my first post.

I’m serious.

For my first “Going Mental” post, I was stuck on it being “something”. A real SOMETHING, you know? I wanted it to be important. Impactful. I wanted it to MEAN something…

…And then I remembered that nothing means anything and I softly cried to myself.

After the tears subsided, the first post came out of me with exactly the ease that was intended for it. It was a matter of shifting my thinking from ‘I NEED TO FINISH THIS AND IT NEEDS TO BE AMAZING’ to ‘I’m just gonna say what I want to say and make it super simple.’

That’s the thing about results-based anxiety. It’s so common to put pressure on what should be, could be, might be, might not be, NEEDS TO BE, that the damn thing can hardly even snag a chance to “be” period!

Anytime I’ve been able to actually MAKE something, whatever it is, it hasn’t come out of that place of tense pressure, that baited breath demanding nature, rigid and objective-driven and forced and gross. Anytime I’ve been able to make something, it’s come from a simple, light-hearted place of ease. It almost sounds counterintuitive, but it’s not. This more creative, fun way of thinking actually has a name, and it’s called…

Process thinking.

Process thinking, also known as ‘”the process”‘ is a philosophy that emphasizes preparation and hard work over consideration of outcomes or results.

I first learned about process thinking in January and since then I’ve increasingly utilized the style of thinking more and more in my own life.

As a naturally goal-oriented, list-making, creepy-level results-driven lady, process thinking can simultaneously feel liberating and terrifying, like a free fall through your own mind.

I found that when I switched from results/objective based thinking to process thinking, I was initially anxious and doubtful. How could I POSSIBLY get anything done if I wasn’t fixated on the objective of making every single thing THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER BEEN MADE?!

(I think I need to cool it with the caps, it’s getting to be a little much…)

Anyway, after the initial process thinking growing pains, I found that the ideas coming out of me were less judged, more suited for my point of view, and frankly, way more abundant.

When I was exclusively results-oriented, I’d get frustrated with my progress (or lack thereof), quit goals frequently, assign new ones, beat myself up for not finishing, and the negative cycle would continue.

With process thinking, I noticed I started finishing more of my projects, taking less time on projects because I was so passionate about what I was working on, and I didn’t have as much worry or negativity toward myself. I couldn’t come up with a downside to process thinking if I tried.

I think that difference in thinking is a key to creativity and a better quality of life. Chasing outcomes and results can cause the process of whatever it is you’re working on to feel arduous and frustrating. Encouraging and focusing on the process itself can cause the process to feel rewarding, fun, and motivating.

Have you heard of process thinking? Do you use it in your own life? Are there other styles of thinking that you find helpful for you?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

– Jennette

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