Even if we became besties with Usain Bolt and he taught us everything he knows about running, we probably wouldn’t become world-class sprinters. But Olympians can teach us how to reach our goals. As this story from The Science of Us explains, the athletes competing in Rio are good at focusing on the process, not the end goal. Instead of fixating on winning the 100-meter dash, for example, it’s better to concentrate on how much quicker you are and the ways you can continue to shave down time.
Here’s what happens when you focus too much on the finish line:
- You become less motivated. Researchers at the Harvard Business School found people who fixated on the end result forgot why they wanted to reach their goal in the first place. That made them less motivated and more likely to make irrational or unethical decisions.
- You don’t feel accomplished. Even if you succeed, the satisfaction fades quickly when you aren’t emotionally invested in the whole process. It’s what Gretchen Rubin calls “the danger of the finish line.”
Basically, these researchers are telling us stop and
smell the roses enjoy the process.