Skip to content
Surprising Science

Pop Psych For Troubled Times: Set Fewer Goals

Like a great gravity-eating vortex, the world of “pull” is increasingly at our digitized fingertips with new ways to bring previously out-of-reach information into the realm of practical individualized use. What is “pull” exactly? Stick with the vortex image for moment, and let Harvard’s The Big Shift provide some illuminations.

One of the internet’s great benefits has been its awesome ability to match burning questions with the right answers. Via Wikis, Web 2.0, and wise social networking we can fine-tune the likelihood that the most useful answers will come flying at us after a few clicks. But getting the answers—the golden information we never had pre-internet—to work best, we must create some underlying conditions that will work to our benefit. This is pull’s most difficult “third level” according to Harvard.

The steps are relatively simple to reach the third level: love what you do; increase the positive serendipity of the web by expanding your social networks to where you probably wouldn’t expand your offline networks; take note of where the answers come from geographically; publicize the answers you get across your networks.

All in all, pull shapes up to be one of the key components in success. But if pull’s strategizing doesn’t work for you, if you like push over pull, or if you beg to differ with the progress narrative implicit in your vortex to success, there is thinking for the detractors are well.

It’s practice of minimizing your allegiance to goals and it is getting some buzz as well. Call it inverse psychology for hard times. The goals we can walk away from when things go awry, can’t hurt us–like they have the legions of people burnt by the upheavals in the economy. The idea is not to dispense with goals completely, but to moderate them into deliverables we can fairly achieve with the least amount of damage to ourselves or others.


Up Next