Goal Frustration—The Threats are Out There!

13 Apr

          Pessimistic? Perhaps. Powerful? More so than you may think. Research shows that individuals who engage in what they’ve coined “defensive pessimism” participate in increased self-regulation when faced with distress in the pursuit of a goal.  What does this mean?  You are more likely to develop plans and take action when you consider your goal not only in light of its opportunities, but also with the possibility of failure!

          Counterintuitive to what you’ve heard from so many of us who tout the unyielding benefits of the power of positive thinking? Not so much.  A dose of realism may just give us the swift kick we need to push a little harder, dig a little deeper, and strive for what we desire.

          Here’s the kicker…the distress that may accompany the confrontation of a threat isn’t an adequate prerequisite to get you to take action.  Planning, anticipating, and identifying barriers to your long-term pursuit–  not likely.  Not unless you are also reassured of the capacity to manage the distress and of your abilities to engage in your goal pursuit in a sustainable manner.

          The three actions I listed above are absolutely necessary for the achievement of your dreams, be it reaching your ideal weight, starting a family, or acquiring that promotion.  But in order to get there, you’ve got to not only offer the best defense for your team—skeptical, calculating, and discerning—but also be aggressively optimistic and planful in acquiring the skills to boost your confidence in your offense.


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