Systems-oriented is preferred over goal-oriented.
Adams in the WSJ article:
Had I been goal-oriented instead of system-oriented, I imagine I would have given up after the first several failures. It would have felt like banging my head against a brick wall.
But being systems-oriented, I felt myself growing more capable every day, no matter the fate of the project that I happened to be working on.
Throughout my career I've had my antennae up, looking for examples of people who use systems as opposed to goals. In most cases, as far as I can tell, the people who use systems do better. The systems-driven people have found a way to look at the familiar in new and more useful ways.
Commenter in the Hacker News thread:
I have been thinking about a similar approach for the past month or so (I call it the framework-oriented approach). There was an HN post in which a sports coach was quoted describing how a system consisting of good habits lead to consistent successes, as opposed to a goal-based approach that lead to non-consistent, one-off successes.
The idea is that you create a framework of good habits that keeps you focused on a task at hand, and that also forms as a mental safety-net in case of failure (thus, not pushing you off the wagon). Using a habitual process, you can make incremental progress overall (keep improving the framework) and you keep adding or removing features (goals) depending on the demands from your system. This is in contrast to having a goal-based approach where your entire framework is hinging on one goal/feature.
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