Multiple Paths Toward Goals Can Motivate, then Derail Success

Goal motivation changes as people move closer to their target, according to Stanford’s Szu-chi Huang and Ying Zhang of University of Texas, who built on Heinz Heckhausen’s Action-Phase Model. In the first stages of effort, multiple paths toward the goal makes the target seem attainable, noted Huang and Zhang. This perception of “self-efficacy,” belief in […]

Positive Thinking, Mental Contrasting Plus WOOP to Improve Performance

Positive thinking without implementation strategies is wishful thinking,and is associated poor performance and complacence, found NYU’s Gabriele Oettingen. She advocates“Mental Contrast” process by considering obstacles and potential ways to manage them, using a mnemonic WOOP: Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. Oettingen and University of London colleague Andreas Kappas noted two less effective approaches to goal engagement: – Indulging by mentally elaborating […]

Intrinsic Motives, not Positive Consequences Linked to Achieving Goals, Career Performance

Sustained effort toward a goal may be intrinsically motivated by personal commitment to a larger “mission.” At the same time, goal-seeking activity may be extrinsically motivated by external rewards, counteracting intrinsic motivation’s positive impact on effective career performance. This complex interaction of internal and external motives was investigated among more than 10,000 people admitted to the United […]

Power Increases Responsibility, Generosity toward Future Generations

Power can increase future perspective, feelings of social responsibility, and intergenerational generosity toward others, according to University of Michigan’s Leigh Plunkett Tost, Kimberly A. Wade-Benzoni of Duke University, and University of Idaho’s Hana Huang Johnson. Mark Zuckerberg and Pricilla Chan’s sizeable gift of Facebook stock on the occasion of their daughter’s birth is a recent example. […]

Change Future Time Perspective to Reduce Procrastination

Future events seemed more “proximal” or occurring sooner when volunteers considered in days rather than months or years. This shift in perspective made the Future Self and the future event seem more tangible and connected to the Present Self, enabling participants to begin progress toward distant goals, according to University of Michigan’s Neil Lewis and Daphna […]

Perceived Personal Power Can Modify Time Perception, Perceived Stress

People’s subjective experience of time differ based on individual characteristics, which can influence feelings of control over time and coping with time demands. University of California Berkeley’s Alice Moon and Serena Chen evaluated more than 550 volunteers’ ratings of their perceived personal power and their perspectives on available time to accomplish goals. Moon and Chen asked more […]

Paradox of Potential vs Achievement in Job Search

When hiring or promoting, the person’s potential can trump actual accomplishments, according to Stanford’s Zakary Tormala, with Jayson Jia of University of Hong Kong and Harvard’s Michael Norton. The paradox of potential occurs because possibility seems to engender greater interest and cognitive effort due to its uncertain outcome, in examples ranging across: Basketball player evaluations, […]

Increase Feelings of Power by Listening to Music with Strong Bass Beat

Listening to music with specific emotional qualities has been associated with productivity, performance, creative problem solving, endurance, decreased pain sensitivity, and decision biases, outlined in previous blog posts. Subjective power feelings are an additional outcome of listening to music with substantial bass beat, reported Northwestern University’s Dennis Y. Hsu, Loran F. Nordgren, Derek D. Rucker, […]

Most Effective “Calls to Action” Are Aligned to Audience “Construal Level”, Psychological Distance”

Leaders can elicit stronger commitment and willingness to follow requested actions when they deliver messages tailored to the audience’s “psychological distance” from them, according to Stanford’s Nir Halevy and Yair Berson of Bar-Ilan University. “Construal level theory” (CLT), developed by NYU’s Yaacov Trop and Nira Liberman of Tel Aviv University, posits that the “psychological distance” is […]

Measuring and Increasing Hope to Improve Performance, Health

Hope shifts focus from the present moment to action paths (“pathways”) required to achieve future goals and motivation to follow these goal routes (“agency”). Some advocates of mindful attention to the present moment question cultivating hope because it focuses on the future instead of the present, despite abundant empirical evidence that hope is positively associated with academic achievement, […]