Want to be happy, rich, successful?

by Per Robert Öhlin on February 28, 2011

stop pursuing your goals, achieve them indirectly

Stop pursuing your goals. In his book, »Obliquity«, by John Kay presents an idea that flies in the face of corporate practice and process thinking. Kay claims that goals are best achieved not directly, but indirectly. And this is relevant not only in business, but in all areas of life.

The most profitable companies are not the most aggressive profit-chasers. The wealthiest men and women are not the most materialistic. And the happiest people do not pursue happiness in itself. The goals are mostly reached as a spin off from something else: meaning.

Kay leans toward six creative attitudes towards problem solving and life in general.

”Muddling through”. By this he stresses the importance of approaching a dilemma in a non-rational, intuitive way but at the same time according to some kind of plan. Hm… this sound familiar… Ah, yes! In my book, »Let’s get gorgeous«, I wrote something like this: Fix your eyes to the top (a higher purpose) and follow your instincts like a curious fool. In a zig-zag way. Like a child wandering about, devoted and wide-eyed, disrespectful, foolhardy and reinvestigative.

Pluralism. In the business world people tend to think that there is only one solution to a problem. This is wrong, there are more than one answer to a problem.

Interaction. The outcome has more to do with the question ?Why?” than ”What?”. Problem is, in a process-obsessed world the former is much harder to find an answer to than the latter. You can read my more about it here.

Incompleteness. We like to think that we know enough about the nature of our problem. But we rarely do.

Abstraction. Models are always imperfect descriptions of reality. And should therefore be handled with suspicion.

Complexity. The world is far too complex to understand and manage.

Well, what can I say? Kay is one of the few economist who understand the creative mind.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephan Söderberg July 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Im happy to see that eyes continuously opens up by various terms!
Grate book!
It can’t be emphasized enough, Why judge the present moment when you we can´t know the multipurpose of a situation. The physical brain receives, the personal mind perceives what the higher mind conceives.

Kaedn November 23, 2014 at 6:35 am

That’s a smart answer to a dilcfiuft question.

WilliamSiz May 6, 2016 at 10:16 pm

Thanks a lot for the post.Really thank you! Fantastic.

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