Last Friday I posted an interview I did with Joel Tauber for an Episode of my Podcast “The Process & The Path“. (Full episode below)
This Wednesday I’ll be posting the video of that interview on my YouTube channel.
As I was listening back through the conversation in making my final edits to the video , I realized just how much we talked about searching, experimenting, exploring, learning, growing, and all the ambiguous uncertainties that come along with being in “the process”.⠀
That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise given that literally everything I do is wrapped up in the endeavor of “learning” out loud, documenting “the process”, and “practicing” the path.
The “process” is defined as “a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end”. What I think is so interesting about this definition is not so much what it says but, rather what it doesn’t say. What the definition leaves out, what it goes unsaid, speaks volumes.
More often than not, when we set out upon the undertaking of a process we have “a particular end” in mind. We have a particular goal, a desired outcome. There is a specific destination we are striding and striving towards. This end goal guides our steps and actions. It is the catalyst to the initiation of our “process”. It is the propellant that pushes us further into the process. Yet, that “particular end” is not guaranteed. Where we end up may very well be different to where we set out to go.
In other words, what the definition doesn’t define is whether or not we ever reach that desired end.
Whether its the creative process, whether its the spiritual process, whether its the intermingling of the two, or whether its just any process, I think one of the things that gets missed is that the process is the process because it is laced with ambiguity and uncertainty. If we knew where the process would lead then it wouldn’t be transformative.
The point is that a lot of this is trial and error, creatively and spiritually. A lot of it is experimental.
In the book, Make You Mark: The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business With Impact, there’s a line that says “To make great ideas a reality, we must act, experiment, fail, adapt, and learn on a daily basis”.
We have to be willing to go through that process of trial and error, knowing that there is a risk that we might fall, a risk that we might fail.
There is an element of failing with purpose. Its the understanding that failure isn’t what we imagine it to be. Failure isn’t final. Failure isn’t conclusive. It’s simply part of the process.
Here, there is also the recognition that “experimentation” negates failure. It makes failure meaningless. In the light of experimentation “failure” becomes null and devoid of meaning. There is only the testing of a hypothesis and the collection of data. We re-run the numbers. We re-calibrate and we try again.⠀
The process is thrilling and terrifying because we don’t fully know where we’re going, and we don’t fully understand where the process is taking us. Sometimes we don’t even know where we are in the process.
To be in the thick of the process is to be in the midst of something unknown.⠀⠀
And that’s precisely the point…⠀
“Yet that ‘particular end’ is not guaranteed”?
This applies, doesn’t it, only when we define the ‘end’ or process goal in terms of a preconceived result rather than simply in terms of finding an answer? If we set off to find what the answer is to a particular question, the end is ‘guaranteed’ insofar as we appreciate that the end of the process will tell us that what we initially thought we would find is right, wrong or currently unascertained or not ascertainable.
I’m inclined to agree. I am all too often guilty of entering into an endeavor with a preconceived or desired result already ready at hand. And yet, what I continue to learn, both intellectually and spiritually, within the space of creative and artistic practices is that the most fortuitous discoveries often arrive within a kind of experimental exploration without the expectation of a particular end.
Pingback: Of clarity and questions: mystery builds upon mystery... - Duane Toops
Pingback: goals not met... - Duane Toops