A scientific concept known as progress principal states that people derive more happiness from progressive steps toward a goal than the satisfaction of achieving something great. Once a person achieves tremendous success, they are often asked “what now?”
These stories of brutal collapse have become almost a story after incredible success. After achieving the biggest goal of our time, Buzz Aldrin, the second man to land on the moon, battled depression and alcoholism. Child actor Macaulay baadbiksenbattled drug addiction and was eventually arrested as an adult. Whitney Houston also achieved stardom at the age of 22 and struggled with drugs and alcohol throughout her life.
These are more extreme examples, but research has shown that simply achieving your goals can lead to feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction. After studying nearly 12,000 diary entries from 238 employees, researchers at Harvard’s School of Business Amabile and Kramer found that people are happiest when they take small steps toward meaningful goals.
Their research shows that meaningful achievements have a profound effect on our inner lives and enhance our emotions and creativity. This will also explain why the lottery winners are so dissatisfied. There is no progress along the way and there is no way to replicate the excitement of winning, so they feel dissatisfied.
As the author of Smartcraft, Shane Snow explains, people are like children in a jungle gym. If the bars are too far you will fall, if they are too close together you cannot build momentum, and if you get in the middle of the motion you cannot go anywhere.
Therefore, it is best to always try to take a goal in hand. Getting prepared for a catastrophic failure should not be difficult, and it should not be easy enough to get bored. According to research, focus on small achievements over time, and this will lead to a lot of life.