Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Second Read

"Throughout our lives, an outcome orientation in social situations can induce mindlessness....In contrast, a process orientation...directs attention toward defining the steps that are necessary on the way.  This orientation can be characterized in terms of the guiding principle that there are no failures, only ineffective solutions."

Ellen J. Langer, Mindfulness, Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.

On first reading, I was perplexed by the notion of outcomes being bad and process good. I read again and Langer contrasts "Can I do it?" from "How do I do it?"  I was equating an outcome orientation with the question, "What do I do?," not with her notion that  only on outcomes produces doubt about capability and ultimately mindless action. But, setting a goal of "what to do" is not always easy and individuals and communities are frequently distracted by too many options. And how many times have you been asked, "What is your definition of success?"

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