When is a goal not a goal?
Sounds like a riddle doesnít it? And why be interested in a goal that is not a goal? After all, we know that we should have goals. Explicit goals. Preferably quantitative. Certainly concrete enough so we will know when we reach them. This is the moral imperative of organizations.
If you are an organization, you need explicit goals. Organizations operate by cooperation among people. Cooperation only works when everybody understands the goal. Not just the words. The goal as it will appear in reality.
But if you are not an organization, you are entitled to a different treatment of your goals. All you have to do is cooperate with yourself. Since your brain has many parts, that cooperation is not automatic. But those parts are not limited to talking to each other in language. They have other channels.
Take, for example, the title of this page. Your language module rejects the title as a logical inconsistency. You probably see it as something like a riddle and expect that the page will give you some kind of answer. As you read the page, you may have the (unstated) goal of resolving the inconsistency yourself before the page gives you the answer.
So here is one kind of goal that is not a goal. People make implied goals by asking questions. You give other people goals by asking them questions. Other people give you goals by asking you questions. You can give yourself goals by asking yourself questions.
Some questions are just for information. The kind you could look up in an encyclopedia, a textbook, or on Google. Those questions donít give your brain much of a workout unless you are trying to answer them on a test, in front of a group, or at a job interview.
You get more out of quest questions. Quest questions send you on a search through your brain. You may have to figure out where to find the answers. You may have to figure out who to ask or what resources to use. You may have to figure out how to put the information together.
Here are some quest questions people might ask themselves about their goals:
What was I doing yesterday? What was my goal in doing that?
Why was I working on that goal yesterday?
What goal am I working on today? Why do I want that goal?
What goal will I be working on tomorrow?
Am I always working on a goal? Do I ever just sit back and enjoy what is?
If I do sit back and enjoy what is, is that a way to pursue a goal?
Do I ever reach a goal? Do I ever sit back and enjoy my success?
If I do sit back and enjoy success, what goal am I pursuing right then?
Do I know what goals I should have? Are these really my goals?
Am I working toward my goals mainly because I should work toward them?
Who manages what I should do? Is it my goal to decide who manages my goals?
What have I been doing recently? Where will that take me?
Is where I am headed a goal? Do I want it to be a goal?
One of the main reasons for thinking about goals is to find the difference between your goals and the goals you think you should have.
When is a goal not a goal? When it is not your goal.
Not ready for a goal?
Copyright (c) D. F. Dansereau & S. H. Evans