I remember when I traveled to Yellowstone frequently and hiked the backwoods trails. I set a time or distance limit for the hike, be back by dark or walk six miles then turn around, but the desired outcome for the hike was open ended. Whatever happened happened and as long as something did happen, see an animal mainly or a pretty waterfall or view, the hike was successful. There were times when I set a specific desired outcome, such as seeing a wolf or grizzly bear because they were seen in the vicinity of this trail, but those hikes were failures if i didn’t see them. So I’d tell myself to not worry about it and just enjoy the space and scenery.
On days when I have many things to do but don’t write up a to do list I usually don’t any of it done. But if I set a “target” for the day, a written list of things to do, I generally get more things finished.
I think some parts of life do not necessarily need to have targets or goals attached to them, like when we are doing things for fun specifically, but other parts of life do need targets or goals to reach. For instance, when it comes to careers is it better to let what happens happens and hope we fall into something? Or is it better to plan the next so many years of our life (“after high school i will go to college for four years, then i will intern, then i will look for this type of job,” etc) so we actually reach our career goals? I think the really important things in life need some type of target attached to them or we may not get where we want to be.
I think a process where the intend outcome isn’t necessarily known and it is the better for it may be scientific exploration. I think for most scientists they have a curiosity about something and after working at for a while discover or invent something. I think Benjamin Franklin invented electricity in this way. New sailing paths around the globe were discovered this way.
Interpreting literature is one activity that doesn’t need a learning target. Students are to read and make their own determinations. Creative writing could be another one. Just give students a prompt and let them go at it.