Ackoff on the road to the goal (Ackoff, 1978)

18 October 2010

There is at least as much satisfaction to be derived from the pursuit of objectives as in attaining them, and from the pursuit of solutions to problems as in attaining them. Therefore, in an ideal state, as I conceive it, man would not be problem free, but he would be capable of solving a continual flow of increasingly challenging problems.

(Ackoff, 1978, p. 16)

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Goals are problems (Moskowitz & Grant, 2009)

18 October 2010

Carver and Scheir (1999) added to the TOTE model a metamonitoring feedback loop, which takes as input the rate of discrepancy reduction, compares it to a reference value, and signals a need to speed up or an option to slow down, depending on the outcome of the comparison. In this model, the metamonitoring loop produces emotion. An acceptable rate of discrepancy reduction enhances positive emotion, whereas an unacceptably low rate of discrepancy reduction produces negative emotion (see also Hsee & Abelson, 1991; Hsee, Abelson, & Salovey, 1991). This means that people feel good not only when they attain a goal (i.e., eliminate the discrepancy), but also when they believe that they are making good progress toward goal attainment, irrespective of the discrepancy from goal attainment. For example when only starting to work toward a goal, the discrepancy to the goal is relatively large, but rate of progress is high relative to the preengagement state, and therefore the early stage of goal pursuit would be characterized by high spirits and positive affect. In contrast, attaining a goal (closing the discrepancy) is often characterized by slowing down, and thus produces negative emotion: the feeling of anticlimax. For example, upon completing a long and torturous graduate program and finally submitting a copy of the Ph.D. thesis, students often find themselves discouraged and sad instead of feeling the long-anticipated elation.

(Moskowitz & Grant, 2009, p. 279)