Win Condition – Beating Goal Blindness 1 Step at a Time

Win Condition – Beating Goal Blindness 1 Step at a Time

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Lost in the Flow?…

Do you ever find yourself lost in the flow of the conversation – having been swept up by the emotional tendencies? Besides the ever-apparent lack of mindfulness, is there another way to stay on track in any conversation? If so, why does it matter at all? Can the goal be met, or the task completed regardless of what occurs? Well, no. Our inability to concentrate on the goal at hand is a broad problem, one that plagues motivated individuals everywhere. This is ‘goal-blindness.’ Without a win condition, goal blindness will win every time.

Win Condition?

A Win Condition, is when you know to quit. Setting up your win condition allows you to direct yourself appropriately and to understand when you’re finished. Without a very clear win condition, you fall into goal blindness…

Goal Blindness

Just as a trucker who stays on the road for far too long so does everyone in their own way. What does ‘road hypnosis’ have to do with motivation and why does it matter? Road hypnosis to some degree is the same type of situation that many goal-strivers find themselves falling into. Their version, or what I call “goal-blindness’ has the opposite effect. Being stuck in the “roads of life,” ‘goal-blindness’ can leave someone completely derailed. It makes it difficult to stay on course and complete their task.

On Avoiding Distractions

I would say that it is fair to assume that when someone sets out to accomplish something, they don’t intend to end up distracted or locked onto the wrong target. Why then do so many people end up lost and confused about how to get ‘back on track’? Well, there are countless answers to this question. However, are there any characteristics that could help to overcome most of these situations and leave someone better able to steer their mind? Yes! That characteristic is the win condition.

Setting up Your ‘Win Condition’

This ‘win condition’ is how victory is assured. Setting a win condition is an absolutely necessary first step if one wants to achieve their dream situation. Incorporating a win condition automatically associates a direction to a goal, and makes it easier to maintain course and avoid the proposed ‘goal-blindness’ that plagues so many dream-setters out there.

A Classic Example of Distractions

How then might someone best utilize a win condition, so that when they attach a destination to their situation, it is possible to achieve it? A great way to answer this and to demonstrate the value it has would be to first show an example that is necessary. Take a simple and commonplace example such as “who didn’t clean their dish?” Although a low-risk situation, it can be quickly become beyond challenging to stay on track and achieve what was set out to be done.

            Character#1 (Mom): “Who left this plate in here?”

            Character#2 (Son): “I don’t know.”

            Mom: Noticing that there’s pizza sauce on it and recognizing he had pizza the night before, “This is absolutely yours! Come clean it up!”

            Son: “I’ll get to it later, stop nagging me.”

            Mom: “Nagging you?!”

Reminders to Stay on Track

Following this example, you might expect to see a list of situations follow, but why is this important? Initially, the Mom’s goal was not to argue with the Son about the dish but instead to have it cleaned up quickly. The Son’s goal was to avoid responsibility and unintentionally left work to be done. However, once the nagging word was added into the situation, it would be expected that this situation could quickly have become hostile. Not surprisingly the Mom could be offended and even quicker lose direction with the conversation, raising tension in any situation.

Crucial Conversations

Having a win condition in this situation could have saved the mother anger and the son needless pestering, so how might that have been better solved? A book, Crucial Conversations, deals very well with a topic like this. It talks about the importance of dialogue in high-stress situations and how taking those extra steps to encourage a calm speaking environment can promote better conversations. Incorporating these principles is beneficial not only for better understanding the nature of a discussion but also on how to better achieve goals.

Self-Awareness is everything

As is often the case, goals can be accomplished more naturally with the help from others around you. Better structuring your ability to communicate is crucial! Pun intended. And, to do so in a manner that is both deliberate and compassionate helps promote an environment for growth. By improving our words we improve our outcomes! Crucial Conversations constantly references a term throughout without directly naming it, that term is awareness. Awareness here is paying attention to the moment as it plays out and responding more appropriately in real-time. Incorporating awareness into the situation makes it much easier to not only stay on track but to adapt to the situation as it happens.  

On How to Survive Distractions

That is why preparation and awareness are absolutely necessary for surviving the distracted path. Preparation is informing yourself of the pivot points throughout the discussion. Teaching yourself that if you want to stay calm in any tense moment, then it begins with incorporating principles of awareness and experience first. In the example I provided earlier, it would be prepping for a negative response from the Son and instead of adding fuel to the fire, diluting the negativity when it first occurs. Stopping and creating a plan of attack is helpful for numerous other reasons, but here especially, it enables you to overcome that much easier.

Our Mental Raincoat

The second tool for surviving any distraction that is sure to come your way is awareness. Awareness is a raincoat during a storm. Without it, staying dry (and calm) are things that are just impossible. When you throw on that raincoat however (or improve your self-awareness), you make staying dry that much easier. Being aware of what your intentions are and setting that win condition early, allows you to structure a path that overcomes issue after issue. Awareness coupled with preparation creates an unstoppable duo for completing and plowing through task after task.

For more help on awareness, check out this linkor read my other post Motivation and Mindfulness!

Be Early, Be Ahead

Setting a win condition early and concretely is your best defense against whatever will be thrown at you.  Taking those principles from Crucial Conversations and making them broader allows for a stronger path to be established. So, how can we build a prepped win condition – one that is durable enough to stay on course? Simply put, preparation and specification.

Specificity Promotes Results

Take a classic example like cleaning the laundry room. If left on its own as “to have a cleaner room” you create a situation that is harder to maintain and accomplish. Instead, try setting a more direct goal “to remove clutter and make a usable space”. In this example, you’ve directed yourself towards the distractions that are to come, “clutter” and enabled a solution to deal with them more objectively, “usable”. If you’re not careful, vagueness can leave you stranded against the factors in any situation.

Remembering the Objective

Now that a concrete goal has been laid out, how still can we improve the event and make a more seamless, productive process? We do so by returning to the win condition. Our win condition here is to create a space that is usable and simplified. As you go through drawer by drawer, you are bound to run into miscellaneous clutter, junk, keepsakes, and useful items. Keeping that ‘win condition’ in mind allows you a way to stop a distraction in its tracks and to quickly solve each problem.

Bringing it All Together

Taking that extra step to better define your win condition makes for a more manageable situation. Applying this principle to any type of goal accomplishes the same result! Preparing for the problems beforehand, noticing the problem as it occurs, and designing a system to seamlessly deal with each makes for the perfect game plan against each situation. Instead of setting this year’s goal to “Get Fit” break it down, understand the motives behind it. The more in-depth you go, the sooner you’ll realize that it was less about getting sculpted and more about developing self-confidence and healthy lifestyles. Win conditions allow for all this to be in reach.

To Close

This was no doubt my longest post! I appreciate feedback more than anything, as it helps me fine-tune my blog to its audience. Sharing, commenting, and following up helps me know that this is content that is worth writing about!

Want more on productivity and your win condition? Check out Attention to Detail, Instinct Theory, and How to Create Good Habits!

If you’re interested in Crucial Conversations, click here for details.

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  1. Pingback: Make Progress on Goals with 1 Powerful Step

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