My Target Goal is Zero Death

My Target Goal is Zero Death

Currently luvin’ the work of Dr Robert Long and have read his book “Risk Makes Sense” over and over. Just came across a recent post on his blog which puts the absurdity of ZERO HARM goals in perspective we can all understand. While ever we are breathing we can than boast about how well we are doing with achieving our goal but what a boring and uninspired life it would be if that were your only goal. ENJOY:

I find it amusing that so many people are attracted to the goal of zero harm when in fact it’s a life denying goal.  If there is no learning without risk and no creativity or innovation without risk, why are people attracted to a goal which drives the fear of risk? Why are people so captivated by a goal that has a trajectory of non-learning?

One of the absurdities of setting unachievable goals is that they are non-motivating.  There are always by-products and competing goals, no goals are neutral not independent of a trade off for other goals. The fundamental mis-match between an absurd goal and a reality goal is that unrealistic goals drive scepticism and cynicism. Both these dispositions form the dynamic of a risky sub-culture that undermines and subverts the very goals that someone seeks to aspire to. In other words, by setting a sub-culture of skepticism and cynicism, the organisations that set perfectionist goals also create a mindset that laughs at authority, scoffs at spin and disrespects each new idea as yet another fad ensconced in fear and self-interest.

Research tells us that avoidance goals eg. avoiding injury, breaches, problems, mistakes are not as effective as approaching goals eg. seeking benefit, attraction and positive outcomes.  Even the attraction to avoidance goals demonstrates something about the punitive and regulative nature of the organisation and the person who sets such goals.  Avoidance goals are loss/non-loss goals, approaching goals are gain/non-gain goals. Avoidance goals when not achieved, drive punishing emotions, approaching goals when not achieved drive disappointment emotions.

One way to show the absurdity of perfectionist and absolutist goals is to take them to their logical trajectory and to show that such a trajectory doesn’t make sense.  So the following argument by exaggeration shows the absurdity of the logic of zero harm.

So, my target goal for living is zero death!  What an admirable aspirational goal, my goal is to never die. You never know I might even succeed with my goal for 75 years and if I live longer I can then brag about how good my goal was.  Even if the goal was successful for 100 years that doesn’t make it a sensible goal indeed, such a goal would quash life and retard endeavour and learning. Such a goal drives the quest to bubble wrap life and fear learning, innovation, creativity and real living.  Even if one was successful in getting to 100 years of age, without risk, what kind of life would have it have been anyway?

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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