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Process First

Life choices: thousands per day

Our guidelines for making choices, consciously or by default, whether those choices be more or less consequential, are continually informed by a set of priorities that we rarely question. All these choices, taken together, create the design, the process, and the results in our life. They create the quality of our life. 

Priorities we use in making life choices

These priorities are fundamental in determining our life and its quality or lack of quality. The most important of these priorities that most affect our life regards the relationship between process and results. 

Results First

The priority that most of us make decisions from, whether agreeably or unagreeably, and is sourced by the civil war between Now and Next, is driven by the thoughts, "accomplish more," "be more productive," and "I'll get my reward in the future." I call this priority Results First.


Major problems of Results First


This priority has several major problems:

  • In making decisions, we're likely to forget that the ultimate purpose of life is happiness, not just in the future, but also now and along the way.

  • We're likely to over-commit and over-promise to get more results faster, damaging the Personal Ecology of our life and making it difficult for everything to work together smoothly without a lot of breakdowns and stress.

  • We're likely to neglect to give adequate consideration to what our Now wants and needs by ensuring that the processes of our life are enjoyable. This also makes it more likely that we won't get the results we want. We don't design the processes to ensure long-term sustainability.

  • We're likely to be less reliable in keeping our promises, both to ourselves and to others.

  • We're more likely to indulge in toxic expectations, creating upsets for ourselves and others, and hamstringing our ability to get results.

  • In messing up our own life, we negatively affect the lives of others and our relationships with them.

Process First


The alternative to this priority is Process First.

Understanding and implementing this shift in priority is a fundamental lifehack. It's a change that will affect all areas of your life, sourcing your choices and building your life from a new bedrock that's durable and robust.

Major benefits

This priority has several major benefits:

  • It ends the civil war between your Now and Next.

  • It aligns easily with the possibility of maximizing happiness and avoiding suffering, both for now and the future, both for yourself and others.

  • It's easy and natural to maintain adequate buffers, especially time buffers, and to under-promise both to yourself and others so that you are more reliable to yourself and others.

  • You're more likely to achieve the results you're going for because you've paid attention to the process of getting those results.

  • The issues of procrastination, lack of persistence, frustration, impatience, and laziness disappear.

  • Your tendency to indulge in toxic expectations disappears.

  • You're able to create and maintain a Personal Ecology that, not only allows for all aspects of your life to more easily flow together but also is sustainable long-term.

See What's the full idea of process first?

See Lifestyle first; results second

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