Thursday, November 11, 2010

Result Oriented Outlook

I have noticed or rather realized that most of us are completely result oriented. Be it decision making, be it faith, be it being happy or anything for that matter. I am not saying everyone has this attitude, though I know of a lot of people and that definitely includes me, who have this attitude. I was having a discussion about decision making with my shrink yesterday and how I feel that we give merit to a decision and our own decision making ability when the  outcome of our decision is in favor of what we have wanted, and how we call ourselves losers when our decisions don't yield the right outcome. We keep ruing about our foolish decision. My shrink said something that I didn't quite think of. She mentioned that we are too preoccupied with the repercussions. But, when we made our decision earlier, we would have of course made it based on the facts and figures we had available at that time and we were not quite sure about the outcome. However now that we know what the upshot is, we are conveniently going back and making an analysis of our decision. If only we were to go back in time and retake that decision all over again; based on the facts and figures and our feelings at that time, our decision might not have been drastically different than what we had taken earlier and hence there is no point in going back and trying to criticize your decision making ability. I liked her outlook towards this. Bottomline is that we base the rightness/wrongness of decisions based on the repercussions of the decision and not based on the nature of the decision itself. A decision intrinsically stupid would have still be appreciated if the eventual outcome was 'good', meanwhile a logically correct decision could still be called fatally wrong based on it outcome. There is no denying the fact that our lives are often shaped by the decisions we make, but unless we don't make a wrong decision, there would be no learning.

If we were to believe in god completely and believe that everything happens for good, in my opinion, we would not quite rue about our decision making or anything bad that happened in the past. This brings me to my point about faith also being result oriented. Most of us have little faith, our level of faith rises slightly when we get favorable outcomes and the moment we see one unfavorable outcome, our faith literally vanishes until things become so called fine again. Let me quote a line from the book 'By the river piedra I sat down and wept' by Paulo Coelho - "Faith as tiny as a grain of sand allows us to move mountains." Even the Gita says, don't focus on results, just do what you need to do. There are several contradictions in my satanic mind to all this, yet, if only we have a little faith in our own abilities or in god per se, we would neither worry about the results nor criticize our attempts just because the outcome was not quite to our favor. The result oriented focus could be very well be veneered by naming it determination to attain one's goal, but more than the result the attempts that we make are what really matter, though sometimes, they might end up being fruitless for the time being. I am not saying though that we could do things utterly foolish and claim that attempts are what that matter, what I mean to say is that, I think it is smarter to focus your attention on the right attempts than on  the results.

That said, lack of faith and outcome based outlook is what in my opinion snatches our happiness away from us. We try to base our happiness on outcome, telling ourselves that we will be happy when we get a desired outcome. Some of the pessimists amongst us have the tendency to postpone their happiness based on results. To explain this, let me take the example of a student. At first he wants to get into excel in school, he successfully achieves it, instead of being happy with it, he postpones his happiness thinking about the next thing he needs to achieve and fools himself that he will be happy once he achieves the next thing and this keeps happening endless. The whole cupidity for achievements steals our happy moments from us. But all this being said, if we are not going to be focused, we are still going to end up being sad. Either we could all become sages and treat happiness and sadness the same way.  Or, we could continue our result oriented outcome, but at the same time, not let the outcomes get on to our nerves to the point of driving ourselves crazy.

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