Interesting book "How We Decide" and in particular the first chapter really resonated with a belief I have in always defining a clear goal with a timeline for every action we take to achieve the goal. It turns out that by using FRMI technology to reverse engineer the mind we have found out that we use a predictive model to learn. Apparently in every situation we are in we predict what will happen next, measure and adjust and we build pattern upon pattern of these models to guide us through every action we take in our lives. Our pattern recognition is guiding our actions before we are consciously aware of a situation. Read the book - Jonah Lehrer does a much better job of explaining it than I do.
My take on this is that evolution gave us this model. I feel that we should move from unconsciously using it to consciously applying it to how we shape our lives. We should consciously use and improve upon what evolution has given us.
How? In the workplace I often I hear I don't know what the outcome should be or by when that something that can't be described will happen. Usually out of fear of failure the person avoids describing what they should achieve. Given what this book proclaims as fact and what I have intuitively felt for years this approach begs the question - how can we quickly learn from any effort we take if we don't attempt to predict the outcome, measure the results and adjust as we move through the actions? If we don't do this how can we accumulate the patterns that we will use the next time this situation arises? I am sure the wandering approach will teach us in time but I can't help but feel this is just too inefficient in today's rapid pace of change. Park the fears - stake out what you want to achieve - move forward systematically to achieve it - measure and continually adjust as you do - and voila - you should end up with a pattern, a learned experience, that you can apply to the next similar situation. Your portfolio of experience, leadership and the value that you create and can market becomes greater and greater far faster than what the go for a walkabout approach could deliver. Don't get me wrong, going for a walkabout to clear the mind and reflect on life is an amazing experience as well, but not the approach that we should take to rapid assimilation of new ideas and leadership.
In one's work it is important that we continually learn so that we can make the call as to what will be done by when and others can depend upon us to be more right than wrong. This is good leadership and in my opinion there isn't one leader that everyone blindly follows. Everyone is a leader today, everyone aligns with a goal and leads the charge to achieve it.
I believe this is the best way for individuals and organizations to learn - predict - measure - adjust - repeat - and it turns out that our evolutionary model of learning, predictive patterns, completely supports it. Let's park the relatively new learned behavior of goal avoidance and embrace what is intrinsically ours.