Focus On You

Success breeds more success, or so they say. But a study reported in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology seems to suggest that watching other people succeed lowers the motivation to strive for success on your own.

In an experiment, a group of test subjects watched videos of people completing a series of puzzles. Another group was shown videos where the puzzles were not solved, and a third group watched no videos at all. Then the groups were asked to complete similar puzzles themselves.

Subjects who had watched the puzzles get completed actually had the lowest rate of completion. Scientists call this “vicarious goal satiation,” explaining that watching others achieve goals can provide a sense of achievement that drains the motivation to accomplish goals on one’s own. The lesson: to prime yourself for success, focus on what you need to do, and don’t get distracted by others’ efforts - successful or not.


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