Be Outcome Independent for Happiness

Dating advice turns into life advice

We recently read Doctor Nerdlove’s post “Simplified Dating.” In it, he discusses the need to be Outcome Independent in dating. Well, we’d argue there’s merit to being Outcome Independent IN LIFE. So in a new twist on internet article-writing, we take his “Be Outcome Independent” words and give them our own spin. The original version is below our edited version (underlined) and we encourage you to click the link above to read the full article.

Be Outcome Independent

This can seem a little counter-intuitive; after all, the whole point of doing things is the outcome.

But then, focusing on that outcome is often the problem in the first place. The idea that “you find love when you’re not looking for it” one of the most annoying non-answers in advice-giving, because it’s so goddamn vague and smugly unhelpful. It sounds like it’s saying one thing – stop trying and then let Fate/God/The Force/whatever do the work for you – but what it’s really saying is that you shouldn’t let yourself get so hung up on the end goal that you let it overwhelm everything else in the proccess… including actually enjoying that which you are doing.

Doing with an end-goal in mind ends up being a living incarnation of Xeno’s Paradox; you’re always moving forward, but ultimately you’re not getting any closer to where you want to be.

It’s better instead to enjoy the journey rather than constantly trying to see whether or not you’re any closer to your goal, whether that goal is happiness, business success, or financial freedom. It’s a great way to psych yourself out; if you treat each activity as your shot at the big money, you’re setting yourself up with overwhelming expectations that only end up disappointing you. It plays into the scarcity mentality that insists that each “failed” endeavor (for suitably personal definitions of failure) is one step closer to being a life-long Failure.

Even when you’re just putting all of your focus on a smaller goal like completing a successful project—as opposed to changing careers—this not only puts an incredible amount of pressure on you but you end up focusing on “How do I complete this?” instead of “is this what I want and am I giving it my all?”

ORIGINAL POST:

This can seem a little counter-intuitive; after all, the whole point of dating is the outcome.

But then, focusing on that outcome is often the problem in the first place. The idea that “you find love when you’re not looking for it” one of the most annoying non-answers in advice-giving, because it’s so goddamn vague and smugly unhelpful. It sounds like it’s saying one thing – stop trying and then let Fate/God/The Force/whatever do the work for you – but what it’s really saying is that you shouldn’t let yourself get so hung up on the end goal that you let it overwhelm everything else in dating… including actually connecting with the person you’re on a date with.

Dating with an end-goal in mind ends up being a living incarnation of Xeno’s Paradox; you’re always moving forward, but ultimately you’re not getting any closer to where you want to be.

It’s better instead to enjoy the journey rather than constantly trying to see whether or not you’re any closer to your goal, whether that goal is finding your One True Love2 or trying to get more sex. It’s a great way to psych yourself out; if you treat each date as your shot at the big money, you’re setting yourself up with overwhelming expectations that only end up disappointing you. It plays into the scarcity mentality that insists that each “failed” date (for suitably personal definitions of failure) is one step closer to being Forever Alone.

Even when you’re just putting all of your focus on a smaller goal like “getting a second date”, this not only puts an incredible amount of pressure on you – and your date –  but you end up focusing on “What do I have to do to get you to go out with me again” instead of “who is this person and what’s cool about them?”

Seriously, go read the whole Simplified Dating post. Even if you’re not dating, it’s fascinating.

Awkward date imageSome rights reserved by Kevin Shorter

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