Credit: Mueso Del Prado
Being persistent in pursuing an important goal is glorified in society, while “giving up” is frequently seen as an indication of lack of determination. Whether it be in the sporting arena, one's personal life, or the workplace we are often reminded that the best way to achieve something is to stick at it.
But is this really the most effective way to succeed?
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus (pictured left) was a king punished to carry a boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action for eternity. His story illustrates one of the most evocative images of futile goal persistence.
Ineffective persistence with an goal can cause individuals to waste valuable resources and miss alternative opportunities, ultimately leaving them feeling discouraged and dejected. This raises the question: are there situations in which letting go of a goal can lead to a more fulfilling life? And if so, how does one decide decide whether a goal is worth persevering with?
The STrategic goAl puRsuit (STAR) Project is an Australian Research Council funded project led by a team of world leading motivation and goal striving researchers that aims to answer this very question.