Discovering What You Want
“I don’t want to be a butterfly, said the caterpillar, because I’ve never been one.” Stewart Edward White
There has always been a lot of warning about getting what you want. For example: “Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.” The only thing worse than not getting what you want is getting it. G. B. Shaw. What you want is your future goal. This blog is about discovering your goal, “goal mining”. Human choice behavior is at least as much a process ofdiscovering goals as for acting on them. James March
My advice has been to “Use goals to guide you, not govern you”. Using goals to govern you is like putting blinders on horses’ eyes. Horses eyes, on the side of their heads, work well for seeing the periphery. Blinders keep them focused on the destination. In the same way, a zoom lens keeps you focused and a wide-angle lens helps you to be flexible. Using goals to govern you is like using a zoom lens. Knowing what you want should be flexible.
“Decision making is using what you know to get what you want.” This is one of my simplified definitions of decision making I have used for years. The early conventional wisdom of the decision making process was to focus on what you want. “Be Focused and Flexible About What You Want”, was one of my four Paradoxical Principles in 1991. Too much focus usually eliminates being flexible. Goal-mining”, discovering what you want, means paying attention to what you don’t know, and what you can learn.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.” A focus only on the destination could cause you to miss the journey; you won’t pause to smell the roses. You won’t even notice the roses. “Take detours” has been my advice. Sometimes the objective for your decision might be to find out (to discover) where you want to go. Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing it is not the fish they are after, Henry David Thoreau. On your life journey, being flexible will be useful, helping you to discover what you are after. To discover is to learn. To be flexible is to be open to influence, responsive to change. Goal mining leads to learning and change. Be open to outcome, not attached. Angeles Arrien
What we are seeking so frantically elsewhere may turn out to be the horse we have been riding all along. Harvey Cox