Key takeaways


  • Notice the vocabulary we use to talk about goals. Goals drive us forward, we set out to achieve our goals, we make progress toward a goal. Those are called orientational metaphors. In our collective psyche, goals rely on a sense of movement. And that’s not wrong. But we may be misguided as to the direction of this movement. (View Highlight)
    • Note: Goals are not linear from current to future state, but cyclical.
  • A teleological approach consists in choosing your next action based on its end goal. In contrast, “bricolage” (from my native language, French), can be roughly translated to “making small changes to something in an attempt to improve it.” If the first attempt works, that’s great. If it doesn’t, we try again. (View Highlight)
  • Each cycle adds a layer of learning to how we understand ourselves and the world around us. Instead of an external destination, our aspirations become fuel for transformation. We don’t go in circles, we grow in circles. Goals turn into growth loops. (View Highlight)
    • Note: Iteration instead of marking of a goal on a checklist. Behavior in line with your values and aspirations.
  • Cycles of deliberate experimentation can help us let go of the chronometer. Growth loops may feel slower and they don’t come with a shiny finish line, but each layer of learning contributes to our ongoing success. And, perhaps paradoxically, we can often progress faster by allowing for the possibility of getting things wrong and facing challenges. (View Highlight)
  • Some of the most successful endeavors are based on growth loops. The scientific method relies on formulating hypotheses, testing them, and implementing the results into the design of future experiments. Sports teams commit to a strategy, apply it during a game, and keep on adapting their approach through each cycle of training and competition. (View Highlight)
  • Life itself is movement, a perpetual transformation. If we are going to spend most of our time navigating this in-between, figuring out where we are and where we want to grow, we may as well enjoy the dance with uncertainty. Here lies the solution to the paradox of goals. (View Highlight)