Compatibility of objectives

In the above example we have already indicated that there are many different ways of travelling from Zürich to Warsaw. The closer I get to Warsaw however the more I have to watch out: If for example I take a wrong turning to the east 2 km south of Warsaw, my distance from Warsaw will soon become greater again. I get further from my goal again instead of getting closer to it. Suddenly I am twice the distance from it than I was before!

We therefore distinguish between partial goals, which bring us closer to a goal, and those which take us in another direction. If we aim for a partial goal, which leads us further away from the greater goal, then we are in the process of making a diversion. This still does not mean however that because of this we will not reach the goal.

We describe therefore all the partial goals, which bring us closer to a greater goal as compatible goals. The faster a partial goal brings us to the greater goal, the more com­patible is this partial goal with the greater goal. If we want to achieve a goal as quickly as possible the targeted partial goals should therefore be as compatible as possible with the ultimate goal.


Village with mountains A, B and C
Figure 3: Village with mountains A, B and C

In the above figure the mountain peaks A, B and C represent objectives. Mountains A and B are on the same side of the valley, the path first leads to the mountain hut and then separates relatively soon after this. C is on the opposite side of the valley. As we travel towards the village in the valley we get closer to all three mountain peaks, these three peaks are therefore still compatible with one another. In the village we then have to decide on either mountain peaks A and B or peak C. As soon as we climb the side of the valley leading to C we get increasingly further away from A and B. The objective C is now no longer compatible with A and B. We can no longer simultaneously get closer to all three goals.

If we decide to climb up towards the mountain hut, then we get further and further away from goal C, but we do get closer to A and B. Until we get to the mountain ridge behind the hut, objectives A and B are still compatible with one another. At the fork however we have to make a decision: If we approach peak A then we get further from peak B and vice versa. After this fork the objectives A and B are no longer compati­ble.

In the final climb to peak B (see Figure 4) there is an ice field. With the right equipment we can cross this field and thus stay on the direct path to the peak. If we don’t have ice equipment we can make a detour around this tongue of ice on the path marked. It is true that this is a diversion but if we don’t have ice equipment it will bring us faster to the peak than if we tried to cross the ice. Both routes in the final climb to peak B are compatible with the greater goal. According to our equipment the route over the ice or on the detour around the ice field is the more compatible since it gets us more quickly to the ultimate goal.


The climb to peak B after the mountain hat
Figure 4: The climb to peak B after the mountain hut

This example should serve to show that the compatibility of our objectives also depends on our location on the route to that objective. In order to really achieve a goal the selection of compatible goals is that much more important the closer we get to our goal. In the section on concentrating our strengths we will come back to this. In addition this example shows that the choice of the optimum route to an objective is very individual. It strongly depends on our own capabilities and experiences (in the above example this is represented by the ice equipment).