Seeing another interesting cartoon of Leunig in the Age with the following words in it, inspired me to say a few words about outcome: "The world is full of outcomes. Each day delivers more. At breakfast time there’s only two. By lunchtime there are four. By dinnertime there will be eight. At bedtime there’s sixteen; So many, many outcomes and I don’t know what they mean. And so we live our lives away. With outcomes big and small. Until the final outcome comes. With no outcome at all."
Outcome is an overused term in our daily lives. It may mean results, consequences or in more scientific terms a phenomenon that follows and is caused by some previous phenomenon.
In Information Technology or Computing fields, outcome could be the result of the performance of a function or process in the system and it is usually measurable and mapped to service levels.
In psychology, it is linked to many factors but two important ones highlighted by the grandfather of modern psychology (William James)attitudes and beliefs obviously play an important role. For example, about attitudes, he said "It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult undertaking which, more than anything else, will determine its successful outcome”. And about beliefs he said "Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that assures the successful outcome of any venture”. Let's remember that James was famous with his pragmatic approach in philosophy.
From quality perspective Edwards Deming created the principle that "we should work on our process, not the outcome of our processes”. So my question stands as whether we are responsible for effort or outcome; or both or none of them?
I'd also be interested in your views in my question here.