Posts Tagged ‘goal’

Beneath And Beyond Feeling

November 4th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

‘tis nobler wants to show you a painting.  More accurately, ‘tis nobler wants to show you a painting of a painting.  To be fully truthful, it’s a painting of a painting of a painting.  No, that’s not quite right; it’s a painting of a painting of a painting of a painting.  Still not there, but it’s time to change direction otherwise we’d continue to follow the paintings of paintings deeper and deeper.

And, as you explore ever deeper, you realise that this is just like experiential learning and behavioural change; whatever way you look at it, you should always try to look beneath and beyond the immediate.  The ‘painting’ may be nice but what can be found beneath and beyond the immediate ‘painting’ represents true value and perhaps your true values.

Beneath and beyond don’t just shape what you do, they can also shape how you feel about it.  According to some recent research, beneath and beyond feelings can reach the surface without you being aware of what lies beneath and beyond.  When ‘tis nobler stresses the core principle:

What you do tells me more about the situation than it does about who you are,

it is important to remember that there are situations beneath and beyond the immediate situation being observed.  Why are you doing that?  Why are you feeling like that?  Answers to these questions may be partly anchored in the immediate but they are also always likely to reflect goals, attitudes and values beneath and beyond the immediate.

Beneath and beyond are measures of depth and distance that indicate where valid and enduring answers may be found.  Where will you find your whys?  Will you always find it in the obvious and immediate or will you explore beneath and beyond?

Forward Is Not Straightforward

October 28th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

We realise from the last post that around is not forward.  Around is around, and around is anything but forward.  Around can be a backward step in many ways, and not one of those ways is forward.

Trying to unpack ‘forward is not straightforward’ can also lead us in many directions.  One of the main reasons why forward is not straightforward is that going around is comfortable and non-threatening.  How do you break away from going around (in circles) in order to move forward?

It’s interesting that the last thing to do is often the first thing done – reduce the challenge and complexity involved in breaking away to simple catchcries and empty slogans.  If ‘just do it’ enabled people to ‘just do it’, then ‘it’ would always get done.  It’s just not that easy.  There is some general guidance from research studies that might make moving forward more straightforward (and remember, be positive, think comparative).

To move forward rather than around, realise firstly that everything is more important than it may appear, for the opportunity to move forward is ever present.  This does not mean that everything is crucial or critical; neither does it mean that you must never miss an opportunity for you will miss many, many opportunities.  But if you move forward more often because you understand that things are more important than they seem, it’s a step in the right direction!  And these steps form a pattern, and we all know how important patterns are to learning and behavioural change.

At the tipping point for moving forward, implement rather than create.  Thinking ‘on your feet’ might be all you need to decide that it’s safer to go around rather than forward.  Make symbolic changes as a means to an end; many think that symbolic change is an end in its own right for it is, after all, a change.  Real change, demonstrated by moving forward, can be made more likely by making small changes that symbolise a commitment to change.

Don’t focus on the process and ignore the occasional stumble; remember and reinforce the reason for moving forward.  You can avoid the process and the stumbles by going around but you also avoid the reason for breaking away from just going around at the same time.  Regardless of how you do it, the principle underpinning all of these strategies is a simple one:

Don’t hold back, just push things forward!

Forward does not necessarily mean straight so only you can decide whether ‘crooked’ is forward or around.  Straight or ‘crooked’, though, forward is never straightforward.  Can you get your head around that?

Around Is Not Forward

October 26th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Movement does not necessarily signify progress; neither does change necessarily signify improvement.  Deckchairs on the Titanic or chickens parted from their heads represent evidence that around is not forward.  Around poses problems for individuals but it is an almost irresistible temptation for groups.

Around does have particular appeal for it alludes to effort – satisfying a pre-requisite that people must be seen to be doing something – while progress eludes those making such ‘effort’.  The latter satisfies a second pre-requisite for many such activities – retention of the status quo.

Not only is around not forward, around prevents forward.  In a standard twist, forward must not only be prevented, it must NOT be seen to be prevented.  Prevention is better when unclear!

There is significant evidence indicating how this happens within groups but no clear explanations for why this happens.  Possible explanations will be left for another time – perhaps things will move forward if ‘tis nobler hangs around – so let’s just set out the basic problem.

And the basic problem is ‘around’.  Groups are not the sum of the individuals that comprise them; rather, groups are often the parts of each individual that are shared with all other group members.  Instead of bringing all of themselves to the group, each person brings only those things shared with others.  In this sense, while groups comprise more people, group performance can reflect the limited performance of less than one individual.

If you can’t or don’t use all of your abilities to help the group move forward, look what happens:

Expanding numbers can produce shrinking performance, for all reduce to the shared rather than share the unique.  It’s the opposite of synergy – the whole is less rather than greater than the sum of its parts.

There’s a lot of ‘going around’ going around.  Go forward, not around.

Deeply, Durably, Highly

September 7th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

It’s easy to have an opinion; from having an opinion, it’s a short and backward step to becoming opinionated.  It’s harder, possibly much harder, to establish a position; do you understand the difference between opinions and positions?

It’s easy to hold an attitude; from holding an attitude, it’s a short and backward step to ‘having an attitude problem’.  It’s harder, possibly much harder, to adhere to values, to be purpose full; do you understand the difference between attitudes and values?

It’s easy to nominate a goal; from nominating a goal, it’s a short and backward step to becoming fixated and inflexible.  It’s harder, possibly much harder, to strive to achieve aspirations; do you understand the difference between goals and aspirations?

Opinions can be shallow.  Attitudes may be short-lived.  Goals may be simple.  When you think about opinions, attitudes and goals, there is nothing necessarily wrong with them but neither is there anything necessarily right with them.  Opinions, attitudes and goals need to have strong foundations, and the best foundations are comprised of positions, values and aspirations.  Without these foundations, it is all too easy to slip away unnoticed.  To avoid this, adopt a deep, durable and high approach.

‘tis nobler has emphasised the importance of ‘pattern development’ to make skilled performance more effective and much more efficient (most recently here), which raises the question – What are the ‘patterns’ underpinning your behaviour?

In addition to the (inescapable) opinions, attitudes and goals in your daily life, are there deeper and stronger patterns to your behaviour that enable you to go above and beyond?

Do you have positions or just opinions?  What are your values?  How will you achieve your aspirations?  These are big questions; the starting point for the last question might be to have aspirations (for research has shown a strong and positive link between aspirations and achievement).

Think deeply, commit durably, aspire highly!


What Does Pride Go Before?

September 5th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Psst, look over there.  Can you see something really tempting?  You know you shouldn’t give in to temptation but perhaps you will.  It’s only a couple of cream buns, or a dozen cans of beer, or an excuse to miss an exercise session.  What are you going to do?  How will your decision on whether to give in be affected by how you imagine you’ll feel afterwards?

Usually, it will go one of two ways.  Firstly, there’s thinking about the (future) shame or disgust of giving in:

That was absolutely hopeless!  I am ashamed of myself.  Why did I give in?  How pathetic am I?  And I know I shouldn’t do it.  Shame on me, shame!

Then there’s thinking about the (future) satisfaction or pride in not giving in:

Hey, I’m proud of myself for resisting.  I didn’t really need to eat/drink/sit around and I’m glad I didn’t just cave in.  I reckon I’m stronger than people give me credit for.  I didn’t give in to the temptation.  Well done, me!  I feel really good now.

What approach do you think is more effective for maintaining self control – imagining your future shame for giving in or imagining your future pride in having resisted?  The research evidence is in and ‘tis nobler will allow the finding to be announced by Elmo (and the Goo Goo Dolls):

Elmo reached the highest shelf …. and you feel that pride …’.  Dragging yourself down with the shame of poor self control is not the way to go; the pride in resistance outweighs the shame of succumbing as a way to sustain self control.  As a guiding principle, it’s always better to lean towards a positive approach than it is to manage your behaviour through fear or shame.

‘tis nobler wonders whether there is another control issue at work here that might help explain this finding.  How would you control the assessment process?  It might be easier to soften the impact of (future) shame than it would be to elevate the pride that results from resisting.  Even if you negated the effect of shame completely, pride remains effective relative to a neutral approach; it’s not just that pride is better than shame for pride is also better than passivity.

‘tis nobler needs to re-write a familiar saying: Pride goes before better self control (but gloating still goes before a fall).  Be proud of your continuing efforts by taking pride in what you are becoming.  To control yourself, will you drag yourself down or raise yourself up?  Be proud.

Break Up Or Down

August 31st, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Goals are funny things if you stop to think about them, not that many people do.  Goals are usually and blindly accepted as good things:

People often assume that having goals is a good thing, and it is.  People often assume that these goals are a source of motivation, and they might be.  People often assume that a fixed attachment to their goals is both required and desirable and they are wrong.  Goals are an end, but they can also end the means, yet another behavioural paradox!

Goals aren’t neutral, defining an end and then waiting passively on the sidelines for you to act accordingly in order to arrive.  For as long as they exist, they will have an influence and you must decide, actively and continually, whether this influence is positive or negative at any point.  In the post linked above, tis nobler stated:

If you see your future as fixed, you are less likely to arrive there.

And if you imagine that this future is positive, you are also less likely to arrive there – you should expect the positive and imagine the negative!  Reasonable (in size and probability) expectations of success can direct your efforts towards goal achievement; in contrast, low expectations of success can see you heading somewhere else (which is not necessarily a bad thing if you think it through. It’s healthy to think of ‘failure’ as delayed success).

Now, here’s another finding to throw into the decision making mix – there are benefits in breaking goals down and breaking goals up.  The direction doesn’t matter as either direction can keep you heading in the right direction.  Reframing goals into more easily digested, bite-sized pieces is the key. ‘tis nobler isn’t talking about global goals that can be fixed, fuzzy and forever out of reach; ‘tis nobler is talking about concrete, shorter term goals that affect the next few months or a year or so.  These goals – think of weight loss as the example – require regular effort.

Framing a commitment as ‘3 hours per week’ seems less likely to be sustained than its reframed version of ‘less than half an hour a day’.  It just appears easier and effort is maintained when things are a little easier:

Making things seem a little easier is not the same as making things easier.  Perception is the issue, not effort.  Making things seem a little easier is NOT avoiding the harder stuff; it’s a way of making the harder stuff more likely to occur.  You can construct a better future by deconstructing your goals, and you can do this without altering them. How easy is that?

Wearing You Down Weakly

August 26th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

From previous ‘tis nobler posts, you are aware that self control – an important component of self management – can be affected by a range of factors.  If you browse the archives, you’ll find posts on the self control benefits of psychological distance (the greater the ‘distance’, the better the self control), the self control trap that is the restraint bias (you’re not as ‘strong’ as you think you are so don’t challenge your self control by seeking temptations), the connection between self control and procrastination (more self control = less procrastination) and the benefits of exaggerating the threat that temptations pose (called counteractive construal):

Perhaps this evidence indicates that it can also be good to go the other way, exaggerating the cost of temptations in order to maintain self control and (longer term) goal adherence.  Be neither a saint nor a sinner for you won’t be perfectly good or perfectly bad.  You’ll just be – doing your best more often than not, dealing with the obstacles and temptations as best you can at the time and making forward progress despite the occasional steps back……If you exaggerate the costs of losing your way whenever temptations appear, it may enable you to continue finding your own way. How do you construe this message?

And this last issue – exaggerating the threat of temptations – introduces the additional concept of strength.  Given all of the interacting elements, how does the strength of a temptation – weak or strong – affect your ability to maintain self control?

By definition, you would expect strong temptations to pose a greater challenge to self control; after all, one of the ways to interpret strong temptations is that they are much harder to resist.  Almost irresistible must mean frequent loss of control – how can you resist when the temptation is almost overpowering?  On the other hand, weak temptations should be more like water off a duck’s back.

However, the evidence reverses these expectations, with a series of studies indicating that weak temptations represent a greater threat to self control.  The explanation is that, effectively, insidious beats irresistible in the self control challenge.  It is true that ‘every little bit hurts’ but because there are so many more ‘little bits’ or weak temptations, their individual and aggregate effect is to undermine self control much more than the infrequent but much stronger temptations:

The message is that you are more likely to be worn down weakly, for weak temptations (and your relative weakness for them) occur daily.  Can you see how this position is consistent with the value of ‘distance’, the operation of restraint bias and immunity through threat exaggeration?

In experiential learning and behavioural change, there are no single answers and no watertight guarantees.  For self control to be sustained, active management of complexity rather than blind faith in a simple recipe is required.

Spent Without Expending

July 20th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

In ‘Expect And Dream’, ‘tis nobler reached this conclusion:

Expect the positive and imagine the negative!

This simple statement carries much weight for experiential learners and those pursuing behavioural change.  Unsurprisingly, the evidence indicates that positive expectations are more predictive of success than negative expectations – it’s very difficult to succeed when you have little expectation of success.  In contrast, negative imaginings of the future are more likely to lead to success than when these ‘dreams’ are positive.  Positive expectations and negative dreams push you towards success; however, positive dreams can be counterproductive, making little or no contribution to success. ‘tis nobler explained this surprising finding in this way:

It is possible for positive dreams to become an end in their own right rather than a (motivating) means to the desired end; if the positive dream is enjoyed now, it is less likely to produce goal achievement in the future.  The dream is enjoyed even though it never leads anywhere…….. Having positive expectations, supported by evidence (of effort, insight, progress, feedback etc), leads to success.  Having negative ‘dreams’, the images that the learning process will be demanding, time-consuming and extensive can also contribute to success, for they are directly connected with the evidence on which expectations are based.  Positive ‘dreams’ are unconnected with anything except your dreaming.

Now, recent research has provided an explanation for the failure of positive dreams – they sap your energy!  Dreaming of the finish line in whatever form it takes resembles having finished, with the feeling of completion accompanied by feeling physically and mentally flat.  It’s like running and finishing the race before the starter’s pistol fires – you get the exhaustion and exhilaration without the exercise.  You are spent without expending any effort.

On this basis, it’s reasonable to conclude that these guys have the most positive dreams of all:

Expect the positive and imagine the negative, for these approaches fuel enthusiasm and effort.  Just imagining the positive ensures that the positive remains in your imagination.  Imagine that, for that is a negative!

No Mountain High Enough, Except ……

July 15th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Nothing will stop me from getting there!  You know there ain’t no mountain high enough:

There ain’t no valley low enough.  There ain’t no river wide enough.  To keep me from getting to you …..

So, why is ‘except’ in the title of this post?  Won’t determination and application prevail over the highest of mountains, the lowest of valleys and the widest of rivers?  Nothing is going to stop you from achieving your goals.  Nothing, absolutely nothing at all.

Except, perhaps,  if someone else gets there first.  Most people might consider the achievements of others to represent an incentive for them to continue their pursuit of the same goal – if they can do it, so can I.  It reinforces the reality of achievement for it’s no longer an abstract possibility.  ‘Can anyone do this?’ is no longer a question for you have direct evidence that ‘they’ can do it.  And, if they can do it, surely it makes you more motivated to reach the goal they have already attained.

This sounds reasonable, it makes sense – except for the evidence that being a witness to the achievements of others can be deflating rather than uplifting.  Instead of ‘if they can do it then so can I’, research has shown the consequence to be more like ‘they have done it so I can stop trying now’.

Sharing the limelight that shines on others as a result of their efforts is not just pointless, it can be counterproductive.  Their achievements are not yours, their ‘limelight’ doesn’t shine on you and their efforts do not mean that your efforts can cease.

What does achievement mean to you?

Can I Come Too?

July 1st, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

After waiting a while, to no avail, and then realising that learning challenges can’t be left to fate (but there is a chance that ‘fate’ can help cope with learning failures), ‘tis nobler wants to finish the week with a comment about outsourcing.

But it’s not the (all too familiar) outsourcing approach that organisations initiate in order to cut costs.  This outsourcing has to do with regulation, not of policies or products but of yourself.  Across all of these types of regulation is a sort of cost/benefit analysis in which you try to strike the right balance between risks and rewards.

Support, guidance, facilitation and encouragement are all fantastic to have as long as you realise that they can never replace ‘you’ in your journey.  Support can help you ‘climb your learning mountain’ but it can push you off your chosen path and unfortunately also hold you back.  Marching up and down on the spot – apparent effort – to someone else’s tune is not the same as moving forward to your own.

There is evidence that indicates the negative effects of outsourcing the self management responsibilities that you should not avoid.  When you outsource these responsibilities, you rely on others to achieve your goals for you; as a consequence, you can make less effort, hoping they will take up the slack.

Of course, it’s another balancing act.  When does help become hand holding?  When does support become spoonfeeding?  When does gentle guidance become strident demands for you to ‘do it the way I do it’?  Only you can determine what the right balance is at any point along the way (and it will vary over time) but do so on the realisation that asking someone else to assume your self management responsibilities makes as much sense as the question asked in this music video:

It will always remain your learning journey.  It will never be a guided tour conducted by others in which you have the luxury of letting them do the work.  The ‘self’ in self management is there for many reasons, all of which combine to make your learning journey relevant, effective and efficient.  In a very direct sense, experiential learning and behavioural change must remain self-centred.

How Should You See The Future?

June 17th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

‘tis nobler is sure you’ve heard things like this before:

“Can you picture yourself receiving the medal?  Can you imagine the teacher giving you an A for this test?  Can you see how your life will change when you succeed?”

It’s become very popular to imagine (visualise) a desired future as a way of motivating you to achieve it.  Will the dreamers inherit their future?

Back here, ‘tis nobler explored the potential benefits of positive expectations and negative dreams as well as the potential disadvantages of positive dreams.  That post concluded with these words:

Having positive expectations, supported by evidence (of effort, insight, progress, feedback etc), leads to success.  Having negative ‘dreams’, the images that the learning process will be demanding, time-consuming and extensive can also contribute to success, for they are directly connected with the evidence on which expectations are based.  Positive ‘dreams’ are unconnected with anything except your dreaming.

Expect the positive and imagine the negative!

Let’s expand this issue a bit by adding that the means are more important than the end for expectations, visualisations and dreams – anything that conjures up images of the future.  If you focus on the end result, you focus on the destination with little regard for the journey.  With scant attention paid to how you’re going to get there, the chances are increased that you’ll fail to arrive.  You may fail to even set off, for this type of visualisation is not benignly ineffective – it can actually make matters worse.  As The Cranberries sing, you are ‘living not for the reality, it was just my imagination’:

What do you imagine happens when it’s just your imagination? As you fail to make progress, there can also be an emotional cost when your effort, plans and journey are subordinated or swamped by a dreamy pre-occupation with the outcome.  It can make you anxious when you realise that the destination doesn’t appear to be getting any closer despite your fixations on it.  You might end up wanting it more and more as time passes but more than hope is required.  As the nursery rhyme states, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Dream the process, don’t just process the dream.  Live the dream, don’t just dream the life.  Use your imagination to reinforce rather than remove the required effort.  You can’t arrive without leaving and you won’t leave if you just imagine that you’ve already arrived.

Pushing The Sky Higher

April 18th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Apparently, it’s much better to get 81% on a test than it is to get 79%.  It is obviously ‘better’ but the point of this post is that it’s apparently much better!

People get sentenced to 200 hours of community service and not 204 hours.  Some might argue that there’s no real difference between 200 and 204.  Why would a sentence of 197 hours be perceived then as much less appropriate?.  Isn’t any number able to be monitored and communicated just as easily as any other?

A success rate of 40% in some endeavour might be considered excellent.  Why would a success rate of 38.4% be perceived as much worse than it actually is?  Why are people more motivated to increase this rate of 38.4% to 40% than they are to get from 34% to 38%, even though the latter is a greater improvement?  Imagine if you were achieving 41.7% – what would you do to protect this result over time?  Would you stop completely?

There is evidence that we assign greater importance to round numbers.  Further, we are more inclined to increase our efforts if we are just below a round number than if we are just above it.  Being just above a round number can trigger ‘protective’ behaviours that aim to preserve this achievement.

We often establish learning milestones that are round numbers and many are prepared to persevere in order to reach the milestone.  It’s nice to have neatness and order in your learning aims, although the world in which your learning is occurring is messy.  A round number is a neat number but it is not necessarily a meaningful number.  A milestone, round or otherwise, is not a destination; it’s merely another signpost along the way that indicates where you are and where you’ve come from.  And it implicitly emphasises the need to continue.

At every stage of your learning journey, it is important to consider:

“If I could reach higher,

Just for one moment touch the sky,

Know that I’ve tried my very best ……”


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Learning is not about reaching higher in order to, for one moment, touch the sky.

Learning is about constantly pushing the sky higher.

While Or Instead?

March 25th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

In ‘Happy’, ‘tis nobler wrote:

Can you be effective when affective?  Obviously, it is a matter of degree (in a similar way to arousal) – too much or too little and performance suffers.  But being happy could be viewed as a desirable precondition for learning.  Experiential learning can have a social dimension – learning with others – and research has shown that learners who are happy extract more value from their situation than those who are annoyed or frustrated.  Interestingly, being on the ‘same affective page’ – either all happy or all annoyed – can enhance the learning experience (defined as information transfer).  Still, as a general rule, it is better to be content than congruent!

So, as a general rule, whistle while you work:

But be careful that you don’t whistle instead of work.  It is important to view happiness as an end – after all, everyone aspires and deserves to be happy – but it must also, and simultaneously, be viewed as a means.  In a large study investigating the relationship between positive affect and college success, the inferred difference between while and instead appears stark:

Instead is positively associated with self-reported measures of success – feeling good just by itself creates higher self-assessments of success, but:

Instead is negatively associated with objective measures of success – feeling good just by itself produces lower levels of performance.

You will feel better if you whistle instead of work, and you’ll believe that you are doing better as well.  The first may be usually true but the second rarely is.  The challenge is to multi-task by replacing instead with while.  Whistling and working is more effective than whistling rather than working!

Whistle while you work.  If you feel you can do both, It may be the best way to both feel and do better.

A Patient Heart

March 14th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

The very first line in the song ‘Patient Heart’  by Sean Flinn and the Royal We is:

The long road makes for a patient heart.

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And the implications of that line are the subject of this post.  What do you think it means?  These few simple words allow you to burrow down in several directions.

Regardless of other issues, the experiential learning or behavioural change road will always be long.  However, it may often be the case that the traveller on this road does not have a patient heart.  ’tis nobler suggests there are two main reasons for this.

Firstly, the road is not seen as long and therefore the traveller presumes that the journey will soon be over.  Why should you be patient until you arrive when you will arrive before you need to be patient?

Secondly, patience is seen as simply not required for it is presumed to be more important to travel with passion than it is to travel with patience.  But it is incorrect to assume that passion and patience are mutually exclusive; one must not preclude the other.

A recent study made the useful distinction between harmonious and obsessive passion.  The former led to a stronger focus on mastery goals, goals that are associated with deeper engagement and perseverance, and a greater commitment to deliberate practice.  When passion became obsessive, passion rather than practice became the end; avoiding failure overrode striving for mastery.  As a consequence, task performance suffered.

Excellence is never achieved through exhortation.

You may have noticed another line in ‘Patient Heart’:

You get far enough away, you’ll be back to the start.

This echoes the T S Eliot quote presented in the ‘About’ section.  Harmonious passion and patience are both required to ‘know something for the first time’.  Be passionate in the right way and be patient in many ways.  Be passionate about having a patient heart.

Milestones May Be Millstones

March 7th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Cotton Jones  sing these words:

C’mon baby let the river roll on.

And the title of the song is also particularly apt – ‘Somehow to keep it going’.

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In ‘Do Or Blue’, ‘tis nobler explored the evidence supporting the value of resisting idleness.

How do these statements tie together?  A common underlying theme is the value of continuing – rolling on, keeping it going, doing rather than idling.  Being engaged is better than being in neutral.

So what happens when you achieve a milestone in your learning journey?  It can and should be a time for reflection on the effort to this point and an acknowledgement of positive change, for you will have changed from something to something ‘better’.  But ‘better’ is always a relative term, so you had better continue rather than cease.

There is evidence that indicates that milestones can be millstones.  Celebrating a partial success may supplant continued learning, with the milestone becoming the end of the journey rather than just another indication of the ‘distance’ you have travelled.  A detail replaces the many details and the journey is derailed by being content to only look back.

Milestones are like doors.  You have to move in order to reach them but the purpose is never to reach them and then relax.  ‘tis nobler is sure you are aware of the real purpose of reaching the next door.

It’s to go through it, and then continue on.  If you stop at any door along the way, you’ll never know what’s on the other side.  You must always find a way to somehow keep it going!

It’s Your TOSS

September 29th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

There is a natural order in experiential learning and behavioural change with which you should comply.  There is a system by which you should abide.  There is a structure to which you should adhere.

But the order, system and structure are not what you might be expecting in a world that values the regular, the methodical and the incremental.  The order, system (and) structure – TOSS – traditional arrangement is something that you need not give a toss about.  Toss it if you like.  Unless you decide to keep it, that is, for it is, after all, your journey to shape and sustain.

Still, TOSS traditions – the usual recipes and formulas – make as much sense to ‘tis nobler as Julie Fader saying goodbye before hello:

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You can toss tradition whilst retaining a TOSS.  Think of your TOSS as before, during and after rather than this before that or any version of walk before you run.  Think of your TOSS as a daily frame rather than a global framework.  Before, during and after and then repeat; before, during and after.  It is possible for ‘after’ to be intermittent rather than contained and, as such, any ‘after’ might bump into the next before.  This is why it’s a journey and not a series of classes!

Your own TOSS puts you in control and dispenses with recipes that may be set out by others.  Your own TOSS aligns your short term interests with your longer term objectives.  Your own TOSS provides the flexibility and variety needed to sustain an extended journey.  Your own TOSS allows you to jump off the deep end if that’s what you want to do, doing so while managing the experience to offset your inexperience.

There are many studies and meta-analyses of studies that present ideas for making learning activities as useful as possible and there’s one idea that’s always at or near the top of the list – goal orientation.  Before, during and after, your learning TOSS should reinforce the ‘why’ of your effort – it’s not to finish quickly, it’s not to get more money, it’s not to show off to friends, it’s not about passing a test and it’s not to move on to something else.

It’s about learning, before, during and after your doing.  Aim for that and do that.  It’s your TOSS.