Process mindset, release of expectations, peripheral vision, problematizing documentation • 20 July 2008

All those terms have the same meaning here.

A client who is also a personal coach says she chose me as a teacher in part because I have a “process mindset.” This disposition “makes everything ok,” and turns experimentation and “failure” into play. It doesn’t give a shit about accomplishment. Doesn’t think about “results.”

This student, who describes herself as “fixed mindset” and “goal oriented,” has the, well, goal of becoming process-oriented. Because it seems like someone goal-oriented is less able to experience flow, does not experiment or learn very much from foul-ups, is less happy in general, and is more attached to getting things.

Ok. This is a useful conceptualization. Process and fixed mindsets. And I guess for YOGA practice, a process mindset is pretty helpful.

But what if you’re a writer? What if you’re a scientist? What if you want to contribute something for godsakes?

Not so helpful: this spontaneous, flow-oriented, “screw accomplishments” sensibility. Let me just confirm that.

Should I really be immersing myself in a practice that makes me even more process-oriented and even less interested in objectifiable results?

There’s the rub. This whole personality-definition just legitimates my endless playfulness. At a time when fixating on results would particularly annoying and painful.

Here’s what I’m thinking. If I can generate results as a byproduct of happy but sincere action, staying in process-mind is possible and—this I can verify—way more fun. I don’t swear off or denigrate results, but as long as they keep coming, they can stay parenthetical. They can be at the periphery of my field of vision. Just like my body parts when I put them in an asana. This is ideal, though. An anti-goal that is really a goal. I'm not there, when it comes to the writing-practice. It means being good

Here is what else I’m thinking. Of the blogger called CP. Cody Pomeray, Dean Morarity: alternate names for the man who catalyzed a whole movement of obsessive thing-creators. But what did Neal Cassady himself create? Enthusiasm, relationship, life. His life was his art. That it got documented is an accident: how many other artists- detached- from- product never made the history books? What unwritten, unpraised current lies there?

But then… getting praise isn’t the point, in that current.