How focusing on the outcome can backfire


Let’s say you’re a graphic designer and you land a project with a big client. You’re excited to get started, but then they tell you that they want the project done in two weeks.

You know that’s not enough time, but you also know that this is a great opportunity to get your work in front of a lot of people. So you agree to the deadline and get to work.

But the work is harder than you thought it would be, and the two-week timeline starts to seem impossible. You start to get anxious and stressed, and your quality of work suffers as a result.

Finally, you finish the project, but it’s not your best work and you’re not happy with it. The client is happy, but you feel like you let yourself down.

This is an example of how focusing on the outcome can backfire. When we focus on the end result, we often sacrifice the process—and the quality of our work suffers as a result.

This week, we’ll explore why focusing on the outcome can be harmful and what you can do instead to stay creative and maintain your sanity.

Why focusing on the outcome can backfire

When we focus on the outcome, we’re putting pressure on ourselves to succeed. And while a little bit of pressure can be helpful, too much pressure can lead to anxiety and stress. This can adversely affect our health, both mentally and physically, and it can also lead to burnout.

Additionally, when we focus on the outcome, we often lose sight of what’s important: the process.

The process is what allows us to be creative and produce our best work. But when we focus on the outcome, we often sacrifice the process in favour of speed and efficiency. This can lead to lower-quality work, which is why it’s so important to focus on process over product.

What you should focus on instead

So if focusing on the outcome is harmful, what should you focus on instead? The answer is simple: focus on the present moment. When we focus on the present moment, we free ourselves from worries about the future and regrets about the past.

We also become more aware of our surroundings and more attuned to our own thoughts and feelings. This allows us to be more creative because we’re not bogged down by anxiety or stress.

And when we’re more creative, we produce better work—work that we can be proud of regardless of whether or not it meets our original goals or expectations.

If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious about a project, take a step back and refocus your attention on the present moment. When you do this, you may find that your creativity improves and your stress level decreases—and as a result, so does your need to focus on outcomes.

Outcome is an enemy of creativity.

It's easy to become preoccupied with the outcome of our creative endeavours. We want to make money, be successful, and have people like our work. However, focusing too much on the outcome can backfire and result in subpar work.

Again, when we are solely concerned with the end result, it is easy to lose sight of the process. We become so preoccupied with creating something that will sell or be popular that we forget to enjoy the act of creation. And when the joy fades, so does the creativity.

It's important to remember that not every creative project has to be financially successful. In fact, some of the best art is created solely for the purpose of creating art. When we get too caught up in what our work will become, we risk suffocating our creativity and producing something soulless and uninspired.

Try not to think about the end result the next time you sit down to create something. Instead, concentrate on having fun with the process and seeing where your creativity takes you. You might be shocked at what comes to mind.

Thanks for reading!