You know how they say that common sense isn’t all that common? And neither are common knowledge or common courtesy? As much as we would like to sum up the world in some sort of universal truth that can be broadly applied to every circumstance and every situation, that simply is not the case. Wouldn’t it be so easy if we could find those few guiding words to direct us through all our difficult times?
I had this thought the other day as it pertains to running a successful business. While I am most familiar with the context of freelance writing and professional blogging, this observation is worth considering no matter how you choose to make your living. And it comes from combining two common sayings in somewhat uncommon way.
Trust the Process
Especially when it comes to any sort of creative endeavor, one of the more common pieces of advice that you’ll hear is that you should trust the process. You likely won’t achieve great success in the beginning, because few people rarely do, but if you put in the hours and really dedicate yourself to your craft, you’ll naturally improve your skills. Success will come.
Practice makes perfect, right? When I first got started with freelance writing and blogging at a professional level, I was remarkably prolific. At one point, I was writing over 20 news stories a day, every day, for a technology website. I also blogged daily on my own site, and juggled responsibilities with other clients.
That’s a lot of practice. And it is through that practice that I was not only able to hone my craft, but also to develop a more streamlined process for writing the articles and blog post. I kept at it. I trusted the process. Today, I do much the same thing with my weekly vlog. I put in the hours of learning how to plan, shoot and edit a video with a fast turnaround.
If you keep doing the right thing, if you endure and persevere, success will come. Pablo Picasso didn’t get “discovered” right away, but he got to the point where he could demand obscene amounts of money for a scribble on a restaurant napkin. Because he trusted the process.
The Best Process Is…
But here’s a different thought on the concept of process. During his interview and Tesla factory tour with YouTuber Marques “MKBHD” Brownlee, Elon Musk said something in passing that really struck me, even though he’s hardly the first person to have said it. When asked about reducing costs and increasing efficiency at the Tesla factory, Musk said:
“The best process is no process.”
There is this one section in the Tesla assembly line where one of the automated robots picks up the car being made, rotates, and places the partially-built car onto another platform. This step really bothered Musk, because it seemed like such an unnecessary waste of time. If he could eliminate that part of the process, the assembly line would be more efficient. And costs would be reduced too.
And the same is certainly true when it comes to content creation on the Internet too. The fewer steps that go into your process, the more efficient you can be. This can be able generating ideas, drafting posts, editing the content, or sharing it on the social media. If you can take fewer steps — like if you can automate sharing to social media — you can make more content, more quickly.
If you’re supposed to “trust the process” and “the best process is no process,” what conclusion can we draw? Doesn’t that mean that we should trust nothing? I’m not so sure, but it is a thought that has crossed my mind on several occasions since it occurred to me to combine these two tidbits of “common knowledge” or “common advice.”
But you know what? Success is decidedly a rather uncommon thing. So, maybe we should stop focusing on these little nuggets of wisdom and start working toward developing paths and solutions of our own. Strike it out on your own, take risks, be unafraid to experiment (and fail), and there’s no limit to what you can achieve.