The Dangers of the “Outcomes Over Outputs” Mantra

When it comes to progress, we all strive to make a meaningful impact in our lives and the world around us. It’s a journey that revolves around two fundamental elements: output and outcomes. My definition of progress is output towards a desired outcome.

Progress is output towards a desired outcome

Output encompasses the tangible results of our efforts—the work we do, the tasks we complete, and the actions we take. It represents the sweat we pour into our endeavors, the dedication we bring to our craft, and the commitment to deliver our best work. Output is the foundation upon which progress is built, as it involves the development of our skills, the consistency of our efforts, and the unwavering focus on our goals.

On the other hand, outcomes refer to the results we achieve—the goals we set, the impact we make, and the changes we bring about. They embody the tangible evidence that we are moving forward and making a real difference. Outcomes are the culmination of our aspirations, the realization of our dreams, and the proof that our efforts have borne fruit.

As we navigate the landscape of progress, it is important to avoid falling into the currently popular phrase of “outcomes over output.” While outcomes hold significance, it would be unwise to underestimate the value of output in the equation. We must not overlook the journey—the process of growth, the transformative power of consistent action, and the lessons learned along the way.

Output is where the magic happens; it is the fertile ground from which outcomes spring forth. It is through the act of output that we refine our skills, discover our strengths, and build resilience. Output is not a mere means to an end but a vital part of our development—a testament to our commitment, dedication, and pursuit of excellence.

By appreciating the intrinsic value of output, we see forward movement, which stokes the fires of motivation. While pursuing a positive outcome,  we infuse our endeavors with passion, purpose, and a sense of fulfillment. When there is a need to honor both output and outcomes, progress becomes an extraordinary dance—a symphony of action and results. 

So, let us embrace the interplay between output and outcomes as we journey forward. Let us celebrate the sweat of our brows, the tasks completed, the growth experienced, and the impact we make as a result. By recognizing the importance of both elements, we unlock the true potential of progress and pave the way for remarkable results. 

Additional Resources:

Much of the research about the motivational attributes of progress can be found in the book, “The Progress Principle“. Definitely worth a read!

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