As I was thinking through my personal goals for this coming year, and discussing individual goals with each of my kids (a recently adopted ritual I highly recommend for any parent), an article from The Economist caught my eye. The article’s subtitle, tells it all: “Depression may be linked to how willing someone is to give up his [or her] goals.”
The article describes research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by Carsten Wrosch and Gregory Miller, where teenage girls who had strong “goal adjustment capacities” – the ability to disengage from unattainable goals and reset their attention onto new goals – avoid feeling down and depressed.
In contrast, girls who get stuck on their goals and can’t reset are more susceptible to depression. The implication is that if you aren’t facile at adjusting your goals, and they’re overly ambitious goals, it can lead to depression.
Applying this research to entrepreneurs is an interesting thought experiment. As investors, we VCs are always attracted to entrepreneurs who set big, hairy audacious goals (BHAGs). Who wants to invest in an entrepreneur whose pitch is, “I’m going to make a nice living in a small niche,” as opposed to, “I aspire to achieve world domination”?
Are those entrepreneurs more susceptible to depression and defeatism when they’re unable to achieve those outrageous BHAGs?
Photo by Matt Dinnery.
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