The Benefits of Aiming Too High

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Psychology
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The Benefits of Aiming Too High

If you aim too high and don’t quite make it, you may still reach your goal. If you aim at exactly what you want to achieve and don’t quite make it, you fail. Of course, we should always aim too high. But, most of us don’t. Why?

When we set a tough target and miss, we feel like we’ve experienced a failure. This is the case even when we know we were aiming beyond our goal and achieved what we wanted. We perceive two goals, one higher than the other, and it’s the low goal we achieve. What failures we must be.

Recognize the Value of Failures

The first step to avoiding this dilemma is evaluating the importance of our failures. We fail at many things every day that don’t affect us in the least. For example, most people who don’t drive for a living don’t care if they are failures as drivers. Every car accident is someone failing as a driver. It’s impossible to get into a car accident without someone breaking at least one traffic law. People cause accidents with their bad driving, total their car, injure or kill others because of their failure and are back behind the wheel the next day. Their failure as drivers doesn’t affect them because driving is not important to them.

We let failures affect us when we see them as failures to achieve important goals. Once, I gave myself a goal of writing an article every day with a high goal of writing 10 aricles in one day. I made this a one month trial. I achieved the daily goal and failed the high goal. My most productive day resulted in five articles. I had a nice collection of posts ready to go and should have been happy about that. Instead, I let my failure to write 10 articles in one day get me down and wrote no articles the following month.

An article a day is not a bad rate. That should have been a success. But, the 10 article goal was seen as important and spoiled the win. The trick is to see the higher goal as a nice-to-have goal but not an important one. I write at least one article a day right now and still have the 10 article a day goal. Because I know it’s not important to me, it doesn’t bother me that I’ve never written 10 articles in a day. With practice and time, someday I will and maybe it will become a regular habit. But articles are not my only writing. I write for work. I have some books in the works. And since I write several different types of articles, as well as short fiction, changing projects will always slow me down.

Aiming Too High Works

Even though I saw my 10 article a day goal failure as a personal failure, that attempt made me a faster and more disciplined writer. The perceived failure was a minor setback.

The lesson here is that, even if you can’t stop yourself from feeling like a failure for not achieving the higher target, it is worth aiming for it anyway. The attempt develops your skills far more than aiming for the easier goal.

What goals can you set yourself today to achieve more of what you want from life?

Article text copyright 2011 David Arthur Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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