Our society is obsessed with quick fixes.
Everyone is after the “one thing”… the single solution… the silver bullet that solves all of their problems.
And while isolated experiences, conversations, or well-timed thoughts can absolutely have the power to massively shift the direction of our lives, successful outcomes are rarely, if ever, the culmination of a single event.
So why are we so single-mindedly obsessed with seeking quick fixes?
1. People are inherently lazy. We want to take the path of least resistance towards a desired outcome.
2. We are fed a constant stream of stories that reinforce this narrative.
I believe that the first point is self-explanatory. We want quick fixes. Most people would rather take a pill to numb the symptoms of a disease than to do the half a dozen things they need to do to get to the root of the issue (whether we’re talking about improving our nutrition, building greater sexual stamina, sleeping better, reducing anxiety, etc.).
The second point needs some clarification. I will explain in a moment, but first, what do I mean by the concept of event vs. process?
Event vs. Process – Definition
The difference between events and processes is simple.
Event: the idea that results could be traced back to one thing happening.
Process: the idea that results occurred because of cumulative, long-term efforts.
– My grandparents have been happily married for 50+ years. Their love is based on the cumulative efforts of the life they have built together. To ask them “Which romantic date did you go on that really created and solidified your love for each other?” would be useless.
– Apple sells billions of dollars worth of computers. Their success is based on the efforts of their brand reputation, hundreds of thousands of employees, and decades of constant innovation and hard work. To ask them “Which store did you open that REALLY put Apple on the map?” would be ridiculous.
– Arnold Schwarzenegger was once the world’s strongest man. His physique was the result of countless hours in the gym, the help of personal coaches, a strict diet, and many other factors. Asking him “Which day, specifically, in the gym was the one that made you so jacked?” would yield you no replicable results.
Event vs. Process In Marketing
There has never been more information at our finger tips. The solutions to your problems are more readily accessible than they have ever been.
With this fact, comes the reality that everyone is fighting for your attention. Buzzfeed, Cosmo, and Elite Daily need to have increasingly clickbait-y headlines in order for you to give them your attention. And what earns people’s clicks? Curiosity and easy solutions.
For example, the headline of “Do This ONE Thing To Get Rid Of Belly Fat Forever!” will garner more attention (therefore more clicks, and therefore more revenue for the company earning your attention) than a headline that states “Doctors Agree That Regular Exercise, Lots Of Vegetables, And Water Great For Health.” One appeals to our laziness, the other… not so much.
And yet, we know this intuitively. We know that there aren’t any guaranteed quick solutions that give us reliable, lasting results. And products and services that offer faster solutions usually have their own complications and drawbacks.
Want your 200-page book edited in four hours? The editor will likely miss some mistakes.
Want to liposuction 200 pounds of fat out of your body? I doubt that your body loves having someone break your skin and vacuum stuff out of you.
Want to take Viagra or Cialis instead of addressing the root issues of your psychologically induced erectile dysfunction? Your sexual confidence will be dependent on a pill, and not on your own healthy choices.
Here are some of my favourite instances of people seeking events where there were only processes.
Facebook’s “Overnight Success”
Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of Facebook, was once asked in an interview how it felt to be part of Facebook’s “overnight success”?
“If by ‘overnight success’ you mean staying up and coding all night, every night for six years straight, then it felt really tiring and stressful.”
Facebook was built into a multi-billion dollar entity over the course of more than a decade. It didn’t just happen to exist and then get massive fame and millions of users by chance.
Driving Across One Of The World’s Largest Countries A Dozen Times
I once travelled from coast to coast as my good friends’ band photographer for one of their cross-country tours (Canada is a big country, and this trip was close to two months long).
I remember one night, in front of a bonfire, one of the lead singers told me that during three separate interviews the interviewers had asked them a question along the lines of, “What do you owe Said The Whale (the band’s name)’s rapid success to?”
At this point in time, they had already won a Juno (Canada’s highest musical award… like a Canadian Grammy) and were getting a lot more press than they ever had.
But they had also toured across the country over a dozen times and slept on more floors than they could have counted.
They had been building their reputation, one show at a time, for over seven years. There was process behind their success.
The Article That Really Put Me On The Map
In an interview that I did for one of the most well-known podcasts I’ve ever appeared on, the interviewed asked me “I’ve been seeing your work everywhere lately. You’re really blowing up. Which of your articles do you mainly owe your success to?”
The question caught me off-guard. It was unanswerable. How could I possibly pin-point which of the 300+ articles I’d written was the one responsible for people knowing about me?
I said as much during the call (something along the lines of “That’s literally impossible to answer… it was the cumulative efforts of all of my writing that has gotten me to where I am today”) and that section of the interview was ultimately cut and ended up on the digital editing room floor. It wasn’t a sexy answer… it was real. And most people want sexy, easy answers.
I get it. Some people/artists/businesses do legitimately come up faster than others. But no matter how quickly you seem to blow up in the public eye, there is still process behind the event.
Instagram went from being a little startup to selling for billions of dollars in under two years. That doesn’t mean that the staff didn’t work their asses off within that time frame to build a phenomenal and streamlined product. And, even further than that, the individual workers on the development team each had their own years/decades of working with computers before they came together to create their product.
John Mayer became famous at a relatively young age and, out of respect for those who had gone before him, he admitted that he came up faster than most people do. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t rehearsing his guitar scales and practicing his Jimi Hendrix solos in his bedroom when he was a seven year old.
But regardless of the speed behind the marketable event, there is always a process. You always have to put the work in. There are no quick, easy solutions. All success must be cultivated and earned through a series of behaviours… regardless of whether you’re talking about a successful relationship, a successful business, or a healthy body and peaceful state of mind.
So where do you search and grasp for quick fixes? Where could you let go of the idea that your success/happiness/fulfilment is one event away from being a reality?
Embrace the fact that everything in life is process based… everything takes time… and you’ll be better off for it.
Event vs. Process – Final Thoughts
The title of this article is meant to be tongue in cheek. The one way towards lasting success in any area of your life (emotional, financial, sexual, etc.) is to embrace a process-based orientation to your life. The “single solution” to your problems is to let go of searching for the one thing and to accept that it is the culmination of your efforts that will lead you to happiness, fulfillment, and a sense of inner peace.
So if you find yourself searching for the quick fixes, simply let go. The energy that you put towards searching for quick fixes is holding you back from seeing the real opportunities right in front of you.
Dedicated to your success,
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