Existential Psychology

Trust The Process

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A very understandable reason that people quit their endeavors is that they put in a lot of hard work yet don’t see progress, at least not enough in their minds to justify how much time they have put in. Also it secretly feels pretty good to throw up your hands in exasperation, saying “Screw this!” to yourself and almost righteously leaving what you have been up to behind, in effect transferring responsibility outside of yourself for things not working out.

These are the times where you’ve got to remember to trust the process, to realize that often growth is occurring even though you can’t really see it, and that the cumulative effect of small movements can turn into something substantial. The first thing you can do to help you keep going is to put aside your frustration, just for a minute, and visualize the positive emotions of hope and determination that you had when you started out. These are the emotions that come naturally at the beginning of an adventure, but sometimes you have to actively cultivate them later on, and there’s nothing wrong this.

The reason ‘trust the process’ works as a mantra is that it normalizes your own struggle as you remember that many other people have been exactly where you are in the journey, but they kept going despite their setbacks and ended up getting where they wanted to go. Seeing results right away is obviously a great reinforcer, but luckily we are intelligent enough organisms that we can consciously choose to override reinforcements as the predictors of behavior and just keep at what we are doing anyway.

Good things take time. Be happy with whatever progress you have made thus far, and have faith that if you trust the process and keep working hard towards your goals there is a good chance that you’ll end up getting the results you want, even if they don’t occur as quickly as you hoped or in the form you imagined.