Big Events are Overrated, Trust Process.

“Trust the process” has become cliché. Yet many don’t understand it, let alone mean it. In fact, most people are more attracted to big events and striking occasions but the aim of this article is to show that these are overrated. We are attracted to the big bang, amazing testimonies, the one time lottery win, that miracle… all of which are good but in the long term, those are not the things that sustain societies, grow businesses or deeply transform us long term. It is process, process, process.



These thoughts have been coming to mind over the last couple of weeks because of two recent incidents, one in the church and one in the corporate setting. Regarding the former, l led part of an annual discipleship capacity building workshop for my local church at the University of Ghana. Discipleship is the word Christians use for spiritual mentorship. I inquired what they would do if they were God and came on Earth in the person of Jesus Christ (as Christians believe) to do an effectual job of changing the world. What would they do?

Well, many would go head-on and prioritize filling stadia with people (and there were stadia  in the time of Jesus) or fill the plains like where he fed 5,000 then 4,000 (not counting women and children) day after day, as the rule not the exception. Some would constantly go to the royal palace and do some leadership workshops for Herod and his ilk etc. But the Rabbi did none of that routinely. First of all, He took 30 years to prepare Himself from conception through childhood to turbulent youth years to adulthood. He came as a foetus, endured nine months of pregnancy and went through a 30-year process of learning–of obeying His parents, of apprenticing to be a carpenter like His earthly dad, of learning the Torah like other children of His day etc. Yes, all of that. Process.

Eventually when it was time to launch His ministry at 30 (phew! finally!) what does He do? Nothing prime-time TV worthy (oh, of course apart from His spectacular baptism). The baptism in the Jordan by Cousin John was a big event. But the rest, again, process. After all-night prayer, He goes around town and handpicks 12 people, just a dozen, and decides to walk with them, life-on-life, for three-and-a-half years. As Professor Robert Coleman points out in his magnum opus, His method of training was His life itself, it wasn’t just “read this book.” No! Process, day by day by day by day by day for nearly as long as we have to wait for the next Olympics or World Cup tournament.

Only a few years down the line these ordinary fisherfolk so got Him that each was martyred for what they had come to see and taste and know. In a few years, it was reported of His followers, “the people that have turned the world upside down.” Two thousand years later, what do we see? There are 2. 3 billion Christ followers on every continent and in every country and geopolitical space today. Yet the original leader Himself never travelled beyond 50-100 km radius of where he was born. The farthest he went to was Egypt, in His childhood, when his family temporarily migrated to Africa as refugees. Why this impact? How? The law of process.

He knew if he took 12, focused on the few and worked on them life-on-life for years, that the few would bring another few who would bring a few more, who would mentor a few, who would bring a few and over years this kind of impact would happen. Deep transformation doesn’t happen in rows, like we sit in events, but in circles. It happens in circles, small groups, day by day, week after week, month after month.



At the said workshop at the University of Ghana, I showed the attendees a simulation: if one person who comes has a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ decides to disciple another person, just one person per year, life on life, week by week, studying scriptures, eating together, praying together, travelling to places together etc. Just a person a year. At the end of the first year, there would be only two disciples of Jesus. The original then instructs the ‘graduating’ disciple to do same for another, just as Paul admonished Timothy: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 , NKJV).

At the end of the second year what happens? You still mentor a second person so there are two of you. But the original person you discipled in the first year has now also discipled somebody else, thus there are four of you. First year it was just addition, the second year there was multiplication. By the third year and onwards, there isn’t just multiplication but exponential multiplication. And if it continues like that, just one person each annually, by the end of the tenth year, you would be over a 1000 people (quantitatively impressive) deeply transformed (qualitatively impactful). You’ve gotten the mass that you wanted, yes, a thousand people you would have wanted to fill an auditorium with to impact all at once (but would leave the program and achieve nothing). Now you’ve gotten that same 1,000 people after a decade but they would be solid movers and shaker.. It may seem inefficient at first but it is deeply effective and with time it becomes powerfully efficient as well. Within 10 years, you would have a 1000 people who are deeply transformed and now you also have the numbers. That’s the law of process.



Then, about the training for the core leadership team at Perbi Cubs we talked about how leadership is built day in and day out and not in a day.  John Maxwell talks about that as the fourth ‘irrefutable law’ in his New York bestselling book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I have been teaching this book for over 20 years now. “Leadership is built daily and not in a day,” Dr. Maxwell says. So is anything else of enduring value. Daily; not in a day.

To illustrate, I actually showed the EdTech leaders an investment chart I created a couple of decades ago in my book Financial Whizzdom, comparing a youth who starts investing at 20 and his uncle who starts investing at 30.  Both invest the same amount (say GHS 2,000) at the same annual interest rate of 10% p.a. The lad invests for 10 years, stops investing but leaves the money to keep growing. The uncle who started at 30 doesn’t stop and continues putting in GHS, 2,000 every year till the age of 65. At the age of 65, this boy who started and stopped and just let his money keep growing would have more money, about GHS 200,000 more, than his uncle. All because the young man started earlier and got the Law of Process working for him a whole decade prior.



Process works. It gives sure and deep and lasting results. Don’t skip processes. Build your leadership daily. Build your spiritual life daily. Build your health daily. Build your intellectual capacity with a little reading everyday rather than just binging once or twice a year. Something you are doing everyday is determining your future. Or as Tag Short put it, “the secret of success is found in your daily agenda.” A related Chinese proverb really intrigues me. Here’s my paraphrase: “Do not fear growing slowly, what you should fear is standing still, not growing at all.” Trust the process. Truly, trust process. Process would beat big events and one-time shiny experiences any day, all day, long-term. It’s a timeless, universal truth. Trust it.

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