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Trust The Process

By: Michael Blankenship |

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.” 

– Thomas Edison

Good morning!

Did you know you’ve got (at least) 7 minutes of additional brain activity after you’ve kicked the can? That’s bad news if you’re hoping for a quick transition. The good news, though, is that some research shows a big release of endorphins during people’s final moments. So at least you’ll feel good. And let’s be honest, your thoughts probably won’t be very coherent, anyways. You’ll be a bit too… busy… to think about paying your taxes or catching up on Amazon’s LOTR series. 

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– Mike & Alec, Co-Founders of The Tonic

Trust The Process

I’ve always wanted to get a tattoo, but whenever I’ve thought about taking the leap, I’ve struggled to find a piece of artwork that I thought would remain meaningful to me for decades. 

At one point (when I was religious), I thought about getting Jesus rock climbing on my back (I liked Jesus… and I liked to climb). 

At another point, I thought about getting a certain video game icon tattoo’d on my forearm, like a close friend of mine had. 

In reality, those would have felt obsolete just a few years down the road. 

I’ve always admired Ryan Holiday’s tattoos — they aren’t just the titles of his bestselling books… they are important reminders of how to live a meaningful life. 

And I think I finally came up with a tattoo idea that would remain relevant.

It’s simple: “Trust The Process”

We live in a world full of quick-hitting pleasures (video games, television, social media, pornography, etc).

Yet I’ve always found the pursuits which require resilience — or as Angela Duckworth calls it, grit — are far more fulfilling. 

Writing a book. Building a business. Strengthening your marriage. Raising children. Mastering your craft. 

These things are hard. 

They require you to stumble in order to learn. 

You can’t hack them. Or inject them. Or download them. 

Their power lies in the process — the doing… and the trying… and the learning

Meaningful effort is fulfilling. 

Moreso than any other treasure I’ve unearthed. 

But you’ve got to trust the process. You’ve got to have faith that if you don’t quit on the process, the process won’t quit on you.

What’s the process? 

It’s what happens when you keep working with passion and perseverance, every day for years, toward the things you care about. 

It’s the magic, fueled by persistence. 

In the words of Angela Duckworth, “Greatness is doable. Greatness is many, many individual feats, and each of them is doable.”

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Playing Vs. Performing

In this 11-minute heartwarming and hilarious TED Talk from, Simone Giertz explains how inventing useless machines — such as a toothbrush helmet or this device that helps her wake-up on time…

… has changed her life and made her capable of doing what she loves without dealing with performance anxiety. 

She says, 

“I was a super ambitious student growing up… on the flip side of that, I struggled with very severe performance anxiety.”

At some point, she became fascinated with robots. 

“But building things with hardware, especially if you’re teaching yourself, is something that’s really difficult to do. It has a high likelihood of failure. And moreover, it has a high likelihood of making you feel stupid. And that was my biggest fear at the time. So I came up with a setup that would guarantee success 100% of the time… instead of trying to succeed, I was going to try and build things that would fail.”

Sound crazy? 

“Building stupid things was actually quite smart. Because as I kept on learning about hardware, for the first time in my life I didn’t have to worry about performance anxiety. And as soon as I removed all pressure and expectations from myself, that pressure quickly got replaced by enthusiasm… and it allowed me to just play.”

There’s an important lesson here. 

Namely, about the importance of playing rather than performing.

Creativity only remains creative so long as you’re allowed to try new things, fail, and try again. That’s part of the process. It’s also part of the fun. 

“How Are You?”… “Gud”

Ever have this near-to-meaningless conversation with someone? 

“How are you?”

“Good. How are you?”

“Good.”

That was unproductive. 

While there’s a time and place for every type of human interaction, we could all likely do a little bit better than that (particularly, with the relationships that really matter to us). 

So… here are five questions you can ask instead to have more meaningful conversations.

  1. What did you do today?
  2. What have you been thinking about lately?
  3. What’s something you enjoyed lately?
  4. Is there anything you need right now?
  5. What’s one thing you’re looking forward to?

And if you don’t have time for a deeper conversation, consider simply saying, “It’s good to see you.”

Extra Stuff

Here is some other stuff we found interesting this last week!

This Week’s Image

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

How many bricks does it take to complete a building made of bricks?

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt. 

Have you been trusting the process recently? Or relying on pleasures that don’t require such faith and effort? Why? 

This Week’s Challenge

Play this week. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Find an opportunity to do something creative… just because you find it fun. You might discover a new passion or hobby. 

Riddle Answer: One brick – “complete a building.”

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