Recent studies show that fantasizing about success, while it is widely suggested by parents around the world to set your goals high, is not always as heart warming as you may expect… It turns out, dreaming of your own success can actually be extremely detrimental to success.
While having a positive outlook as well as positive goals is a good thing, the over fantasizing of your hopes and dreams can impact you negatively in several ways. Having these fantasies can prevent us from reaching our goals by causing us to fail to realize the potential problems that may arise, as well as keeping us in a state where we are already expecting to reach our goals, and thus reducing our overall drive, being that we don’t believe we will have to put forth as much effort as we do in reality. We instinctively want our success to be recognized in the here and now, but this hurts the chances of actually being successful by causing us to neglect what is needed to work up to the expectations of our fantasies.
According to studies based on rates success in the categories of finding a partner, withstanding surgery, and finding jobs, those who spend more time dreaming of their success tend to do much worse. In finding jobs, results have indicated that those who dream often of impending success had applied to fewer jobs, had fewer job offers, and had lower salaries if they did find a job.
In losing weight, the study by Gabriele Oettingen (http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/10/your-positive-thinking-could-be-holding-you-back.html) has found that women who hold a high likelihood or expectations of loosing weight found that they did in fact lose a considerable amount of weight. On the other hand, the women that pictured themselves passing up food and held strong fantasies of losing weight actually tended to lose much less weight than women that saw themselves in a more negative light. This shows that when the dreams are vivid and longed for, people may become less motivated to actually put forth the effort to successfully strive for their goals. Oettingen went on to perform many more studies including how grades, degrees from vocational schools, and recovering from cancer, are all related to dreams and fantasies, showing many of the same results.
This research is not to say that positive thinking and goal setting is always negatively impacting your success. However, despite some popular belief, it can be detrimental to the goal setter, when the intensifying of the thoughts of your future success becomes typical, it has been seen to lead to negative results in many aspects such as discomfort after surgery, an inability to find a job after college, or the long-lived search for a soul mate.
To prevent the over fantasizing that can so easily occur, researchers suggest that we must enjoy the daily progress and focus on the reality of the here and now, and begin to set realistic checkpoints, or day-by-day goals to keep your future in check.
This topic brings up a very interesting point, being that most of us have been told “be whatever you want to be” and that “the sky is the limit.” The twist of reality is that goals along the way must be set to reach these limitless opportunities, but the goals don’t include picturing yourself in a stress-free, idealistic light that is the fantasization of your future. The american dream of being whatever you want to be, and living the life you want to live may be rubbing off on the new generation in a negatively impacted way, making for a over exaggerated essence goal setting and sending your expectations for the future potentially skyrocketing, leading to a tint of blissful ignorance that can sometimes be unintentionally, but nonetheless, creating as a lens, blinding us from the reality of the hard work and dedication needed to reach the goals, causing us to ignore all negatives and focus primarily on the positive possible outcomes.