Springingtiger's Blog


The Language of Choice. 1

How do you know what you chose? It’s what you got!” Werner Erhard

I was reading recently an article by Darren Eden  ̶ who teaches a course called ‘The Transformation’ ̶ in which he said that “setting goals is futile” and that we should instead “orient to our Greatness and make Choices”. I am not going to argue with the article it made some very valid points. However it highlighted for me that we have some seriously collapsed distinctions around our language of choice  ̶ or perhaps, our choice of language.

Darren Eden distinguishes between ‘choices’ and ‘goals’ whereas Robert Fritz ̶ whose work Darren references in his course ̶ distinguishes a Primary Choice as a “long term goal”. Is it a choice or a goal? In Fritz’s book ‘The Path of Least Resistance’ he looks at three types of choice: The Fundamental Choice that goes to the essence of who a person is, the Primary Choice which is a long term goal, and the Secondary Choice which supports a primary choice. Darren Eden’s system to some extent collapses the Primary and Fundamental Choices, which I think is part of his differentiation of ‘choice’ from ‘goal’. Fritz’s Primary Choices are goals because they are measurable whereas Eden’s Primary Choices like Fritz’s Fundamental Choices are subjective and not objectively measurable. What is observable about a Primary Choice in either system is firstly, that they are given by love and secondly, that they are ̶ as Fritz puts it ̶ “about some result you want in and for itself. It is not something you want because it will lead you to something else ̶ even though it may. A Primary Choice does not function mainly as a step in a series of steps. It functions as the primary goal.” If a choice has an ‘in order to’ it is not a Primary Choice. Thus ̶ if we take Robert Fritz’s example of a chef whose Primary Choice is to cook a delicious meal ̶ as long as the goal is the meal and the experience of cooking and enjoying the meal it remains a Primary Choice, but the moment it becomes something like ‘I choose to cook a beautiful meal to enhance my reputation as a chef’ it becomes a Secondary Choice. A Secondary Choice serves a Primary, so there is probably a Primary about being a chef. Another quotation from ‘The Path of Least Resistance’ that illustrates the difference between Fritz and Eden on the identity of choices and goals is, “In organisations the leader as creator understands the relationship between choices that are primary ̶ such as results, objectives, and goals ̶ and choices that are secondary ̶ those strategic choices of employee teams, hours of work, timing, training scheduling, researching, meeting, and so on.”

The process by which Robert Fritz’s students and Darren Eden’s arrive at a Primary Choice are very different and this is probably another factor in their different understanding of goals. Fritz uses a systematic process to elicit a person’s vision of what they love, whereas Eden’s process involves arriving intuitively at one’s vision and drawing the Primary Choice from that. It is not for me to expound their processes as they form a part of larger courses and ̶ I think ̶ it is best to learn these things in their appropriate context. Context is another reason Eden and Fritz differ in their approach to goals. Both run successful courses ̶ by successful I don’t primarily mean profitable, but that they produce desirable results for the participants. Darren Eden’s ‘The Transformation’ is “an eight month training which will lead you on a magical journey of transformation into your Greatness.

You will learn how to harness the power of your imagination and intuition to artfully and masterfully create the life you truly love.” Whereas Robert Fritz runs several different programs on Creativity, Structural Thinking, and decision making. I would not argue with either teacher’s terminology, the trick is to use the terminology appropriate to the context.

One thing that is apparent in both systems is that ̶ whatever you choose to call them ̶ Secondary Choices tend to be goals. Primary Choices may be given by the vision of what a person would love, Secondary Choices are very less obviously so. Secondary Choices are frequently things a person doesn’t want to do like get up at 06:00 to train for a marathon, before showering and going into work. However when they have the Primary Choice of running a marathon, the Secondary Goal makes sense. Generally Secondary Choices have measurable outcomes and can be formulated as goals. However there is a specific type of Secondary Choice in Darren Eden’s system called a ‘Bridge’ which may or may not have an objectively measurable outcome. It is a way of returning a person’s focus to their vision of what they would love and hence it is a Secondary Choice.

Ultimately whether someone makes a choice or formulates a goal much of the power of the choice depends upon whether it frees them to act and create or becomes a burden restricting their access to possibility.

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