My first experiment was a failure…but I learned from it, and have set up a second experiment which is now in process. So the failure was transformed into helpful feedback.
Since I’m still pursuing this second experiment, I’m keeping it a secret for now! But an interesting thing happened as I pursued this new goal — I found that in the pursuit, I created the philosophy page for this website, which caused me to come across information leading me to create a much larger vision for my career. Since this is a career goal I’m pursuing, the revisioning of my career took me away from implementing my plan!
When we act, we get feedback from the environment and also from within ourselves. This feedback can change how we pursue the goal (the plans). (This is the TOTE loop as taught in NLP and conceived of by Miller et al.)
The feedback we get from doing things can also change the goal itself. (This is what researchers Wang and Mukhopadhyay call the TOTAL loop.) Basically, if the goal wasn’t feasible, we might adjust it downwards, whereas if it was achieved or too easy, we might adjust it upwards to make it more challenging.
The feedback can also change whether we continue to pursue or abandon the goal. If it’s totally not feasible and we discover this by doing something and finding out it is totally unrealistic, we might abandon it altogether. Or we might find that the goal is no longer desirable to us — for instance if we discover that the costs outweigh the benefits.
And what I am adding now based on insights from today is that the feedback can change the vision or context from which the goal comes about in the first place. In pursuing one goal this week, I came up with a vision for this project which then greatly broadened my vision for my career, which put me into a different mindset (a deliberative mindset) than the mindset used for executing plans of action (an implemental mindset). (See Gollwitzer and Bayer, 1999.)
Context is hidden from us when we are in an implemental mindset (focused on how to get something done), and appears again when we are in a deliberative mindset (focused on what options we have and choosing which to do). This can be really helpful, because otherwise we’d be constantly trying to choose between options. But the implementation mindset can also be like putting on blinders.
In any case, now I have to update the flow chart I made for the Creative Solutions Generator. My learning feeds back into the process itself, making the process better!