There’s a phrase coined by the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, “Trust The Process”, in basketball terms, trusting the process means supporting a team who is in the process of tanking loses on purpose in order to hoard draft picks as well as assets.
This process takes a long time and the believers of these will recite “Trust The Process” like a mantra or TTP for short to demonstrate their belief in the process working and it paid off after a few years for the Philadelphia 76ers, I think, I don’t know anything about the NBA.
You may have seen that phrase in Twitter and Instagram bios. It has from the basketball world, entered mainstream lingo, pop-culture lingo, a lot of people use it in some way without even knowing what the process originally means above. I didn’t know either till I researched that phrase more what the original process actually was.
It has also reached the point where a lot of creatives/people love to use this phrase “Trust The Process” in regards to their creative process or life.
The word “process” here can for creative people refer to the creative process, the idealization process or the actual technical creation process or all three.
A lot of people take it at face value and believe in it greatly. However, I believe more thought to this phrase is required especially for creatives. For general people, if you are actually not putting in the proper hard smart work and still chanting “trust the process” like a mantra, it still won’t work for improving your life for example.
I believe that as a professional creative, you should know, master and correct your process first, before giving it any trust whatsoever.
Scrutinize your process. Are there useless bits that can be trimmed away, are there ways to make it better, are there any aspects of it that you don’t understand that you can perhaps know more about, are there any aspects of it that can inform other aspects of your life.
Some practical examples: The process of getting a commission, do you charge a nonrefundable reservation deposit to the client for them to book a slot so that it shows they are committed and you won’t be wasting your time drawing something only for them to come to you and tell you they have no money to pay for the thing in full?
The process of painting, do you know fully how your choice of medium works enough for you to more easily paint more pieces? What ways can you make it easier for yourself to work?
The process of idealization, a common design thinking, does your idea and ensuing product/piece from idea solve a problem that people have or a problem that you yourself have. Is it worth the energy and time you are going to put into it?
Imagine if your process, the process you have been trusting, is actually holding you back in some form, you actually haven’t been putting in the work and the research, or you have put in the work but its in the wrong area, you are grinding/spinning your wheels in place and think you are working hard but you are not going anywhere and wasting fuel, etc. Any one or any combinations of those things will only hinder your progress.
Improvement in art tends to only show months after first starting to deliberately practice. You can only trust that to happen even though the improvement doesn’t show immediately, if you are actually doing/practicing the right things. You can choose trust the process that way but only after you properly scrutinize it.
Trust only after proper scrutiny, refinement and feedback of your creative process.
Here are some other articles I have written about art: