Thursday, April 07, 2005


Who sets the objectives?
Should goals be explicit or open-ended?

Appreciative Inquiry doesn't seek to solve problems.
Positive Psychology doesn't stop at merely being okay.
Self-fulfilling mindfulness produces better results than mindless copying.
Toyota's devotion to building capability trumps GM"s setting of goals.

Learning is co-creation. Hell, everything is co-creation. A fixed goal assumes the co- part is over.

In school, the institution can set the objective and how it will be measured. No child left behind. Or from my personal experience, trigonometry. Numerically scored. No judgment. Memorize and play back.

In retirement, the individual can set learning objectives. Underwater basket weaving? Why not?

Can maturity be defined as taking responsibility for one's learning objectives?

But are objectives the right way to think about this? Objectives may result from fixing a deficiency. Don't leave that child behind. The danger is reaching the target and going no further. The glass ceiling. Satisfaction with mediocrity. Certifiably sane.

Better to come with a mindset of "Be all that you can be." It's unbounded. Lets you get into a flow state. You may blow the doors off. You can't fulfill a goal to paint a masterpiece or write the Great American Novel.

Langer suggests that mindless assignments lead to pedestrian outcomes, while mindful challenges are the path to greatness. Symphony orchestra musicians who are told to "do their best" (a mindless request) play less interesting music than those who are told to "play a little differently" (a mindful request).

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