Websites and Beyond: How We Experience the World (and a Fascinating Possible Tweak)
Recently, one of my business mentors/coaches and I had a fascinating discussion about becoming more aware of how we experience the world: do we think of what we experience as processes (that change with time) or things (that are static)?
By trying out the exercise of simply asking "Do I think of this as a process or thing?" throughout the day, it’s fascinating to discover just how much we interpret our experiences, abilities, relationships, situations, habits, personalities, preferences, mindsets, etc. as things that simply "are the way they are". Things that are finished and set. Things that are long term, permanent, or facts of life.
Give it a quick try yourself
Do you have a tendency to think of the items in the list below as things? Or as processes?
- Your relationship with a particular significant other or family member
- Your relationship with your customers/clients
- Your ability to feel comfortable talking with new people
- Your athletic ability in XYZ sport
- Your ability to cook a delicious meal
- Your home
- Your income
- Your career
- Your body
- Your vocational skills
- Your biggest worries, concerns, and fears
Boxing ourselves in
When we automatically think about what we experience in life as things, we create boxes and boundaries.
When we habitually and automatically experience our life as being filled with static things, we shut ourselves off to...
- new opportunities,
- better experiences,
- improvement and growth.
A habit we don't even realize we have eventually constructs more and more limits in different parts of our lives. This can cause an overall sense of a lack of well-being—one that when we try to figure out what's causing it, we just can't put our fingers on.
Why yes, this does apply to your website
In going through this mental exercise from time to time recently, and in connecting it to the web industry, I’ve kept coming back to how typical it is for businesses to think of their websites as THINGS.
In fact, one of the most common mindsets we encounter with clients goes something like this: “We’ll rework the website, it’ll be sparkly and new, then we’ll be done and we can get back to doing business.”
The website is being thought of a thing. It’s being thought of as static, completed, done.
Over the past 11 years we’ve seen that the clients who (knowingly or not) think of their websites as processes instead of things end up with websites that contribute far, far more to their businesses through increased traffic, leads, sales, bookings, customer loyalty, trust, etc.
Because they never think of their sites as being THINGS that are done, these clients take actions like...
- investing in monthly continual improvement plans
- scheduling quarterly website reviews and checkups
- A/B testing parts of their website to see if small changes might make meaningful differences
- investing in long-term search engine optimization plans
- checking in on occasion to ask about recent changes and improvements in web technology
- asking questions
- reviewing their analytics and website reports
- generating content and regularly adding to the value their website offers its visitors
What would happen?
With your website:
If you began thinking about your website as a process instead of a THING, you'd find the opportunity for vastly better results would suddenly open up and become an exciting new path that stretched out before you.
Taking this a step further beyond the world of websites:
What would happen if you started thinking about more pieces and parts in your life as processes instead of things? What other opportunities might suddenly unfold if you stopped unconsciously thinking of the various aspects of your life as permanent? What would happen if you stopped habitually, unconsciously thinking “that’s just how that IS”?
I encourage you to start asking yourself “process or thing?” as you go about your day, and I’m exceptionally curious as to what you notice as you try out this exercise. I'd be honored if you felt inspired to share in the comments section below.