“Expect the best; convert problems into opportunities; be dissatisfied with the status quo; focus on where you want to go, instead of where you’re coming from; and most importantly, decide to be happy, knowing that it’s an attitude, a habit gained from daily practice, and not a result or payoff.”
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
Pamela Vaull Starr
Want to be happy? Aim high! To feel satisfied with your performance in the long run, set ambitious goals, not modest ones. Why? Mainly because people who undervalue themselves and set low goals to avoid being disappointed in the future end up feeling less satisfied with their performance than those who set the bar higher for themselves and strive to reach it. In a nutshell that’s the finding of some recent academic research that applies to many fields of endeavor, including writing.
Columbia Business School professor Gita Behar and an assistant used a financial model to test whether people who set low goals that were easier to reach were as satisfied as those who aimed higher. They weren’t, because even though people expect to measure their actual performance against the goals they set at the beginning of an undertaking, when it’s completed, they actually end up comparing their performance with what they might have achieved — what was possible, rather than what was easy to do. As a result, setting low goals and then achieving them led to disappointment. not satisfaction.
So, as we think about where we want to go, let’s challenge ourselves to set the bar high, not low. If we shoot for the moon, as the saying goes, we’ll at least hit the stars. Write on.