When Goals Go wrong
How Being Too Specific Can Derail You
We’ve learned to admire the goal-oriented person: the character who states what they want and then goes out and gets it. And to be sure, there is something about a person that actually does what they say that is remarkable enough today to be remembered and admired. But what happens when goals go wrong? This technique is great for self-development, sales targets, gym workouts and such like. But when your goal is innovation, disruption and change, you cannot be so specific.
But wait, WHY?
Well, it is a bit odd. And, it’s got a lot to do with the nature of creativity itself. When we create, we meld existing information together in a new way, to create a new configuration or result from that information.
But what exactly does ‘new’ mean in this context? Often, it merely means a new iteration of an existing pattern. Humans are great at patterns. It is the key skill that allowed us to kick start scientific study, invent all the wonderful stuff around us and build this civilisation.
Because we can recognise patterns, we can predict things. Not always entirely accurately, but in certain spheres, accurately enough to say, if we repeat this action A, we will always get this result, Z. This way of thinking has proved so beguiling that we have based an entire education and business system on it.
Seek Out The New
When goals go wrong is when NEW information emerges of is discovered. Then we need to adapt or change. And then, setting a firm, well-defined goal is just going to get in the way.
Because a well-defined goal is the result of an existing pattern. It is based on what we already KNOW. If you desire is to innovate, change or disrupt, you need to swim a little further, deeper, darker. You need to avoid being really specific so that you can ignore the pattern and see what else is going on.
If you want to be truly innovative, you need Fuzzy Goals. You need to be able to set off in a DIRECTION. You need to be open to deviation, unexpected developments and change. When you have a goal, you will seek to discount the unexpected, write it off as coincidence, rebuild the test to give the desired answer.
Embrace The Unexpected
When you have a fuzzy goal, the unexpected becomes something to explore, learn from, grow with. These are things we as a species need to do more of. In the current crisis, we are busy with immunisation, lock-down, control. It seems that no-one is looking further afield… to the source, to what can be done to prevent this again… is factory farming already re-introducing COVZID19 into our food stream on an ongoing basis? We don’t know because it’s seen as an aberration, something that doesn’t fit the pattern. Instead, we should be looking at it as new information that is telling us something… and we should be finding out what.
Concrete goals are a form of confirmation bias: they give us more of what we already know or have. This is inescapable as concrete goals are constructed from what we already know.
Fuzzy goals, on the other hand, seek out what we don’t know in order to take us further along a path, a new direction.
Give yourself the best chance to change the world: keep those goals fuzzy.
Do you need inspiration or just help with getting Creativity inline for you or your team? CONTACT ME and lets talk!