Sunday, June 29, 2008

Back to Future

I recollected a conversation with a friend that happened several years ago. We had been to the same high school and were discussing the success of our batch (most of who were batchmates since 1st grade). The overall success of our batch at that time left a lot to be desired and we wondered why it was so. Lack of talent was not the reason; rather, we might have had too much of it. So what was the reason that so many of our batchmates were still struggling with their careers?
The reason I still remember that conversation is because of an explanation he offered. “I think what we do is anticipate the success of our endeavors, taste the success in our imagination, and then decide that we do not want that success. It is not really that great, not worth all our effort, and so we give up our efforts on it. Perhaps that’s why so many of us keep switching our careers and are still struggling on that front, perhaps looking for a success that is worth fighting for.”
The reason I recollected that conversation is because of a book I am reading. In the book titled, “The Motivated Mind,” the author, Dr. Raj Persaud, a psychiatrist, discusses the results from a study by psychologists who, to their surprise, found that
those who frequently fantasized about what would happen after they achieved their goals in the end were much less likely to be successful than those who simply had a clear idea of what they wanted and a positive expectation of achieving it.
One theory as to why wild fantasizing about desired outcomes is so counterproductive when it comes to actually achieving goals is that if you mentally enjoy a desired future in the here and now, then this curbs current investment into a possible future. After all, if you are having a fantastic time fantasizing about that date with Julia Roberts, why bother going through the strain of actually getting fit?” [98-99].
Though the above theory is not exactly the one my friend had offered, may be he was onto something here.

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