04 Mar


"Goals begin behaviors, consequences maintain them.”

Blanchard, K. H., Carew, D., & Parisi-Carew, E. (2009). The one-minute manager: Builds high-performing teams. William Morrow.

THE MEAT (The Main Idea)

While the quote may seem straightforward, the essence of this quote speaks of the pivotal role that goals play in initiating behaviors.  Goals can act as a catalyst sparking the needed motivation and direction needed for action. Much like the ignition in a car, the establishment of a goal gives behaviors a starting point. When we set clear and specific goals we can then begin to see the roadmap for how to get there. 

THE CHEESE (Added Depth) 

Around 2012, escape rooms became a physical reality. The purpose of the game revolves around a collective quest to escape the room faster than other groups' attempts. As you prepare to enter the escape room, you're presented with a mission - the goal. This mission unfolds like a story, presenting a problem that requires deciphering clues in a specific sequence to unlock the door and escape the room. Now armed with a clear understanding of the mission, the doors swing open, prompting you to initiate your first move. Everyone begins pulling levers, pushing buttons, and sometimes some type of key on a wall. Each action elicits some response. Sometimes you get the desired response which prompts yet another move. Each action prompts a different response, creating a rhythm that guides subsequent behaviors. Successfully decoding a clue sets off a consequence, establishing a chain reaction of actions. 

Applying this learning, let's create a guide for setting and accomplishing goals:

  1. Define Your Mission (Goal): Articulate your story, defining the problem clearly. This step eliminates wasted energy and time. 
  2. Identify the Correct Levers and Buttons (Behaviors). Break down your mission into actionable steps or behaviors- strategic bets anchored to the mission. These are called strategic bets because they are investments in your overall plan with no guarantee of success and a certain level of uncertainty. In this sense, it's similar to making calculated moves in an escape room.

  3. Decipher the Clues (Consequences). Anticipate outcomes for each behavior. What happens when you complete a step successfully? What could go wrong? This foresight mirrors interpreting consequences in an escape room. 

  4. Course Correction (More Strategic Bets). Learn from the consequences. If an action doesn't draw you closer to your ideal or desired state - your goal, respond by creating another strategic bet aligned with your mission.

In an escape room, the story begins the mission. In the real world, goals begin our behaviors. Just as each action in an escape room prompts a response and leads to further moves, so too do our behaviors shape our progress toward our goals.  Every action we take is really a strategic bet or investment in the overall plan which shapes future behaviors. The consequences are the dynamic forces guiding us through the twists and turns toward our goal.

THE OLIVES (A Surprising Element) 

Now equipped with defined steps, let's lift yet another layer that has a huge impact on defining our behaviors. Each consequence, whether a victory or a setback, leaves a lasting mark - an emotional echo. In a 2019 article from eNero and the Society for Neuroscience,  David Clewett and Vishnu Murty explain how our brains intricately encode emotional experiences. According to their insights, these emotional experiences, or imprints, play a pivotal role in shaping our enduring behavioral responses, underscoring the profound impact of consequences on our drive and motivations toward a goal. 

Successes or failures leave a lingering reverberation much like a scent in the air. Success leaves a scent of confidence and motivation, while setbacks leave traces of resilience or caution. Beyond being mere residues, emotional echoes function as silent architects, crafting the blueprint for our future responses to new goals and challenges. 

So let's make sure we are all following along.

This development builds seamlessly onto the core of our quote. Acknowledging our emotional echoes provides us with the agency to deliberately harness their power, enabling us to recognize the emotional residues, understand their impact, and use them as tools for crafting intentional responses. In this twist, emotional echoes emerge not just as residues but as dynamic adapters, seamlessly connecting the dots between goals, actions, and maintenance of behaviors. 

Just as the highest form of flattery is often considered imitation, building on someone's thought work while maintaining its true essence is adulation. In exploring the realm of emotional echoes, we build upon the wisdom of those who have dug into the intricacies of human behavior, echoing the sentiment of our esteemed thinker and author, Blanchard.

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