I was helping my brother smoke some ribs a few weeks ago. When we were pulling them off and getting them ready to serve he commented, “I actually like the process of smoking the meats better than I like eating them. The eating is always a bit anticlimactic.” Profound thought.
I have a theory why your food tastes better when you weren’t the one preparing it– I think it has to do with olfactory overload. You can’t taste it as well because you’ve been smelling it too long–but that’s beside the point, or rather, the question I want to ask….
In your work, do you prefer the process or the product? The making or the showing? The rehearsal or the performance? The solitude or the publicity?
Most of us would probably say it’s a mixture of both. The view from the summit is extra spectacular if it took a difficult, risky hike up the mountain. Yet, if the view turns out to be disappointing, or if we have to turn back prematurely, was the climb itself satisfying?
If we can get to the place wherein we deeply love both the process and the product, the journey and the destination, I think our overall joy increases. But how do we grow to love both?
First, if you’re more product oriented, and don’t love the process–Celebrate along the way. There are lots of views before the summit view. Lot’s of beautiful sentences before beautiful books. Lot’s of delicious smells before the final tastings. Lot’s of rapturous musical moments before the recital. Take time to notice, to be thankful to the Giver of every sacred breath–and we’ll find the joy of the present.
Second, if you’re more process oriented, and chronically feel disappointed with the product–Look for the joy that your work is producing in others and drink it in. Resist the temptation to point out the flaws. And give thanks to the Great Finisher who is preparing for the faithful a place that will never disappoint.