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Failure modes of concrete vs. abstract goals

I've been thinking about the failure modes of my Intend goals lately. Concrete goals tend to fail in one way. Abstract ones fail in another.

For concrete goals, like "Give X talk at 20ZZ conference Y," the failure mode is that I lose connection with why I am doing the thing. I do the thing, maybe well or maybe not — but why I was doing it becomes totally unclear. By the end of it it feels like: Well I'm glad I got that over with, but I'm not sure what it was for.

For abstract goals, like "write better," it is hard to reflect and the failure mode is I do little things but nothing particularly large, or worse nothing at all, so that by the end of it I also say: Well I've done a lot or a little, and I've lost track of what all I did or where it's gotten me in relation to the why.

It feels like these need bridging. The concrete goals need a clearer why. The abstract goals need clearer metrics or waystones.

I write down the why for my goals, so it's not that I'm missing that. Looking at a recent concrete goal, I notice it is long and specific, and my eyes skip over the paragraph of text I put there. I'm wondering if it might be better to focus down to just one line of text per goal. Two lines is about the maximum I seem to read willingly.

Thinking about this, I wonder if it is useful to separate a one-line "why" of a goal or its description from a deeper description of lead and lag measure and so on.