Use criteria to create momentum

Why you should think and decide what success looks like

March 22, 2019

Objective data, truth, facts, science, and proven studies all accomplish something for those that consider themselves thinkers: protection.

A plea to “be objective” rids any hint of subjective emotion, stories, feelings, and ideas from being creditable. It counts subjectivity as something not to be used or valued.

But what if we’ve gotten it wrong? What if dismissing subjectivity (and all the emotions and lesser things that go with it) is a big mistake?

Human tendency: to know things.

There’s a pull we have as humans to want to know why and find the real answer that causes something to be true. So when we find facts backed by balanced studies and research, it’s like finding a firm foundation. By placing our trust in facts, we don’t have to rely on our inadequacies, weaknesses, or fear that we might be wrong. How could I have known that study wasn’t conducted properly — it’s not my fault!

On the other hand, as humans we have feelings, ideas, and stories that aren’t backed by any kind of conclusive, scientific study. We have raw heart and emotion. The best leaders, thinkers, writers, and doers have all figured out some way of managing their raw emotion so they can get through the day and engage with other people.

One option sometimes offered is to “put our feelings in the back seat.” That we can put our emotions on the sidelines and count them as part of the experience of what it is to be a person.

Maybe you’ve heard someone say something like, “oh that’s just subjective” or “I hear what you’re saying but that’s not really rooted in facts.” Basically, a tendency to dismiss things that are felt…

Another option… define criteria

Maybe there’s another option. Maybe the tendency to dismiss things (especially subjective remarks) is an inability to define criteria.

Defining criteria takes effort and concentration

Many of us do not take the time to define criteria. Defining criteria takes effort. It takes time. To define criteria for something means we have to do the hard work of thinking.

Defining criteria requires our slow, deliberate brain (not our fast, fear brain)

Our slow brain is the part of our neurology that engages in higher-order thinking, planning, and reasoning. Our fast brain is the part of our head that thinks we are going to jail if we don’t behave properly.

When we have to “define criteria” we have to go beyond objectivity.

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