Tiffany Perez is a Junior Process Advisor at Cavi Consulting. Having only recently begun her journey into the world of process science, Tiffany offers some reflections on what she’s learned so far and why “understanding Process Science will help you understand how the world works.”
I’ve gone through my life so far with a simple goal: to “do things good”. I think most of us recognize the inherent pull to be better; to work smarter, not harder. It’s the nature of all beings to grow and evolve to their optimal level, becoming more efficient by using their energy in a continuous flow. Note Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: survival and reproduction of the fittest are how we evolve as a biological imperative.
Since I was a child, I’ve judged processes and people based on how well they’d fare in the wild, and compared their survival “fitness” of other beings of the same species or community. Does this sound competitive? The word “competitive” might be an oversimplification, because it’s more than just a game — it’s how we go through life. And when it comes to life, the more we can optimize our own processes, the more time and energy we gain to create great things. This is how the world works.
Where does Process Science come into all this? Process Science is the study of process — ie., how energy moves through the universe in ways that create value. One of the first principles we learn in Process Science is that “everything in motion is a process”. Simply put, understanding Process Science will help you understand how the world works. And what I’m discovering is that when we can apply an understanding of Process Science to help us optimize our own processes it makes it possible to “do things good” at a whole new level.
To illustrate what I mean, let’s start with a little process story.
3 years ago, I quit my 9-5 in New York and decided to be a vagabond blogger traveling the world. I had the opportunity to spend a year in Madrid as an English teacher, and during this time I was determined to take full advantage of the time and resources I was afforded. Traveling gave me that spark of desire in my heart, and so I became a frequent traveler. I would take trips about 3 times a month for 10 months, and so I became very familiar with the Barajas, Madrid airport and the overall process of traveling.
As most people know, traveling can be a real pain in the ass. From the initial planning phase, deciding whether to travel with others or solo, where to stay, where to go, how to get there, should I fly, take a car, train, boat, sleep on a random person’s couch, etc, the entire experience can become very stressful. If I traveled without a good process, I’d inevitably waste money (on travel costs, on touristy places that aren’t worth it, etc.); I’d waste time (not knowing where to go, what to visit, going to a horse show in Rome because it’s happening and why not?, etc.); and I’d waste emotional energy (losing morale).
I’ve been that person, standing at whatever popular tourist attraction, totally unimpressed…because I was tired, alone, homeless, cell phoneless, or broke due to bad process planning! And I didn’t want to make that mistake twice.
One might think, well that’s just a fact of life! You do things and sometimes they suck so get over it. Fair. There are definitely some elements of any plan which can be totally out of your control. But there’s a lot more opportunity to optimize the process than one might think. Am I the first and only person to take weekend trips? No. Am I the only person to have spent a weekend exploring a given European city while on a working holiday as an English teacher? Definitely not. So why would I reinvent the wheel by believing I have to figure it all out myself from scratch? Or worse, pick random things to do, hoping one will be good. Someone has definitely done it better than me!
I quickly realized that vast amounts of time and effort could be saved if I simply took a step back and imitated the process of someone else who’s already done it. Heck, I could even use my time and energy to make that process better, not just for me but for the next person! So that’s exactly what I started to do. Instead of spending energy figuring everything out for myself, I spent that same energy reading blogs of others who had already done this, learning their tips and tricks what is necessary, what isn’t. I turned my travel planning process from a scattered mess of unorganized thoughts and scribbles into a straight, coherent list of actionable and tested ideas that were known to work. I organized flights, itineraries, modes of transport, and tips & tricks in an easy-to-read format so that others could pick it up if necessary. Less time spent, less energy exhausted, less stress. These benefits not only extended to me, but also extended to the world around me. It meant that I frequented less crowded hotels/hostels/events/cities and I helped more evenly distribute my spending dollars based on demand. This contributes to less stress for all parties. And even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had stumbled onto the very thing that now I am spending my days immersed in studying: applying process science principles to the world around me to improve my own experience and the experience of those around me.
Are you starting to see the magic of Process Science?
Process Science is the study of how energy flows through the universe. This concept extends to understanding the best way to do something (ie., to move energy through a process) and then sharing that knowledge so that others can do it easily, and continue to optimize it!
This might sound simple; after all, we often do this instinctively. That’s how we’ve advanced so much in the last few thousand years: we keep building on top of the creations of people who came before us. But sometimes things which are simple are not necessarily easy. We humans are not always so organized and well thought-out when it comes to knowing and enacting the obvious. We often think so much that we run in circles and forget what the most direct and efficient way to do things is. We let thoughts, emotions, and ego blind and distract us. Full disclosure: it happens to me all the time.
The cool thing about energy is that it wants to flow freely! This sounds so obvious but a lot of times in our efforts to make something work a certain way, we end up getting in the way of the natural flow of a process. Energy by its nature is focused on creation, and it therefore wants to be as direct and efficient as possible, without blockages or waste. Nature does nothing blindly; all its seemingly random behaviors are part of a much larger masterpiece which follows the principles of organic optimization. For example: humans don’t have two stomachs…because we don’t need two stomachs! Flowers bloom exactly when they do because it’s the most optimal time for them to bloom. Energy flow at its most fundamental level is like the curves and dips and rises of a powerful river. It doesn’t want to get stuck behind rocks and it certainly doesn’t want the boat of illogical thought to create a barrier to its motion (until the dam breaks down and explodes into a watery mess).
This may be an oversimplified example, but this is the human experience. We do things, with a purpose, hoping each time to do them better and with the least amount of stress, waste, and resistance.
So what is Process Science to me and how does it apply to my experience as a traveler? Simple. Process Science is about taking a given process (in my case, traveling), and breaking it down into its component pieces to see the bigger picture. When I step back and take a look at my process with new eyes, or give my process to someone else to look at, I’m able to paint a clearer picture of how the process might be made better, where there are gaps in the process, and where there are extra time-consuming or expensive steps in the process that aren’t necessary to get to the end result. (This is what a process scientist would refer to as process vision). The goal is to facilitate a process that flows freely, without a bunch of extra stuff making it more complicated.
What I have learned from my own experiences, both while traveling and now as a student of process, is that Process Science exists everywhere. It is all around us. We can learn about process from watching the way natural processes happen, as nature is where process flow is most natural. We can observe our own personal processes and the processes of others and take action to improve those efforts, reduce waste, and make things better for the next guy.
My advice to everyone is to study process science at a small scale and see how you can change simple processes in your life for the better. Once you’ve got your permanent process goggles on, open your eyes to how process science can affect whole businesses, organizations, states, countries, and the world. Energy likes to flow freely, and it rides on the back of more energy. When we use process science to make the flow continuous, we’re contributing to a mass improvement for ourselves, all beings who inhabit the Earth, and the world itself.
Process Science is an incredible discipline that once understood, can change your life. Once you start to look at the world in this way, you’ll start to develop your own process vision and you’ll likely never see things the same way again. It’s been a fun and exciting journey so far and I can’t wait to see what else lies in store as I continue to delve into the fascinating world of Process Science!
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