Stop Playing The Outcome Game – Here’s Why

The art of prioritizing process over paychecks

Want to find meaningful work that you’ll never have to retire from?

Stop chasing outcomes.

Here’s why…

Paycheck Purgatory

The biggest mistake I made during my tour of 19 jobs and early self-employment years?

Focusing too much on the outcome, and not enough on the journey.

The outcome? That was the paycheck.

Sure, paychecks were a lifeline when I was young and needed the cash to survive and not be a loser. But as time wore on? The paycheck alone just wasn't cutting it.

Each day felt like a constant drip from a leaky faucet—slowly eroding my patience and gnawing at my soul.

Drip, drip, DRIP, DRIIIIIIP… and another freaking DRIP...

The present? Couldn't stand it.

I was just doin’ my time during the week, living for the weekend.

Come Monday? Rinse and repeat.

Putting all your chips on outcomes, like I did with that paycheck? That’s a road to nowhere.

And oh, the pitfalls that come with it.

Downside Of Chasing Outcomes

I could go on and on about the downsides of chasing outcomes, but I won’t.

I’ll let the bot do it instead.

Check out what ChatGPT found when I ask about all of the downsides of chasing outcomes:

🤖: Focusing strictly on outcomes can have several downsides. Here's a list with references to further illustrate the point:

1. Performance Anxiety: Fixating on outcomes can lead to heightened stress and anxiety, especially when the results are uncertain.

  Reference: Beilock, S. L. (2010). Choke: What the secrets of the brain reveal about getting it right when you have to.* New York: Free Press.

2. Short-Term Thinking: Outcome-oriented individuals might prioritize immediate results at the expense of long-term benefits.

  Reference: Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk. Econometrica*, 47(2), 263-291.

3. Aversion to Risk: When the focus is solely on positive outcomes, individuals might avoid taking necessary risks, limiting innovation and growth.

  Reference: Sarasvathy, S. D. (2001). Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency. Academy of Management Review*, 26(2), 243-263.

4. Reduced Intrinsic Motivation: Extrinsic rewards, when used as the primary driver, can undermine intrinsic motivation.

  Reference: Deci, E. L., Koestner, R., & Ryan, R. M. (1999). A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. Psychological Bulletin*, 125(6), 627-668.

5. Burnout: Chasing outcomes, especially in high-pressure environments, can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion.

  Reference: Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology*, 52(1), 397-422.

6. Neglecting the Learning Process: A strict focus on outcomes might cause individuals to overlook valuable lessons from failures or setbacks.

  Reference: Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success*. New York: Random House.

7. Compromising Ethical Standards: An undue emphasis on achieving specific outcomes can sometimes lead to unethical behavior if individuals feel pressured to achieve results at any cost.

  Reference: Treviño, L. K., Weaver, G. R., & Reynolds, S. J. (2006). Behavioral ethics in organizations: A review. Journal of Management*, 32(6), 951-990.

While it's important to have goals and strive for results, a balance between outcome and process orientation can help mitigate these potential pitfalls.

While aiming for goals is great, finding a balance between the journey and the destination. That's the secret sauce.

Side note: Isn't tech wild? Ask a question, and bam—a deep dive with references in seconds.

Retirement Shmirement

Retirement? It's an outcome. Not a journey.

But here's the kicker: if you're always pushing what you love to "someday" in the distant future, you're playing a dangerous game.

Imagine hitting retirement and realizing:

A. That endless weekend you dreamed of? Not all it's cracked up to be. You need a purpose.

B. Seriously, what was I waiting for? Why not start this joyride way earlier?

Living with regret? That sucks.

What To Focus On Instead

The trick? Start valuing work that feels like a reward in itself.

Sink into the journey, and immerse yourself in the art of your craft.


  • Stephen King? He didn’t churn out hits by just gunning for bestsellers. No, he thrived because he loves writing and bettering his craft daily.

  • Michael Jordan? It wasn't all about the championship rings. He succeeded because he reveled in the game, improving day in and day out.

  • Prince? It wasn't about cranking out hits. It was his love for music and honing that unique Prince sound, every single day.

The bonus? Any cash or acclaim you get from doing what you love is just the cherry on top.

To unlock what that dream gig might be, ask:

When am I so engrossed that time just stops?


What's that thing I can't help but want to master?

Embrace The Journey

At the end of the day, it's not about the destination—it's the ride that counts.

Whether you're penning the next great novel, shooting hoops, or crafting melodies, remember that it's the desire, the daily grind, the little moments of triumph, and even the stumbles that make the journey worthwhile.

So why wait for "someday" when today is begging you to dive in?

Find that thing that gets you out of bed every morning, chase it, and let the outcomes be the unexpected surprises along the way.

After all, a life well-lived isn't measured by the finish line but by the adventures you had getting there.

Why Wait

Ok, I know, I shared this in another post, but it fits so perfectly with the theme of this post I had to share it again.

Here’s my song, “Why Wait.”

It’s about the talk I had with “the voice inside” my head.

Press play!

It’s crazy to think that I wrote and recorded that in 2012 while I was still employed.

And now, here I am, 11 years later, doing exactly what I set out to do.

If some ’80s dirtball who partied too much and couldn’t keep a job can do it, so can you.

See you over there!


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