Nov 9, 2007

Cut 'n Come Back

It would seem that persistence would be tonic over the long haul; hanging tough should increase the odds that you’ll succeed, and personal success is closely linked to well-being. But what if the goal is extremely unlikely? When does an admirable trait like perseverance start to look more like beating your head against the wall?

To test this in the laboratory, psychologists Gregory Miller and Carsten Wrosch developed a psychological instrument that can reliably distinguish between people who when faced with a difficult goal either persist or let go of it. In a series of experiments, the psychologists exhaustively studied these two personality types to see how healthy and well adjusted they are.

In their most recent study, published in the September issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the psychologists followed teenagers for a full year. Over that time, individuals who did not persist obtaining hard to reach goals had much lower levels of a protein called CRP, an indicator of bodily inflammation. Inflammation has recently been linked to several serious diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, suggesting that healthy but overly tenacious teens may already be on the road toward chronic illness later in life.

Accordingly, Miller and Wrosch suggest it may be more prudent to cut one’s losses in the face of an insurmountable obstacle. “When people are faced with situations in which they cannot realize a key life goal, the most adaptive response for physical and mental health may be to disengage from this goal,” write the authors.

But all is not lost for go-getters. The psychologists also sorted both groups by their willingness to re-engage and set new goals after they gave up on something important. While they did not find a direct link between re-engagement and physical health, they did find that people who readily jumped back into life had a greater sense of purpose and mastery and were less likely to ruminate about the past.

Setting these new goals appears to buffer the emotional consequences of failure, especially for those who have the hardest time letting go.
-Adapted from materials provided by Association for Psychological Science.


theBhc said...

Psychological Science. Bah! This is the way you do it:

Neo-cons Spinning Hearts and Minds

Blunt instruments, baby! Blunt instruments. Ain't nothin' more blunt than neo-cons.

Meatball One said...

First many were relegated to the playpen of Latin America during the late 70's and early 80's. Then they got the center stage ofthe Mid-East under W. Now not a few of 'em are scrambling to the fall back positions of the blunt instrumentation of prop-radio. I laugh. (I think we did an earlier post on the so-called NC scramble for cover to Prop-Radio)

BTW, we added a link to a self-professed NC: American Power by Ass. Prof Donald Douglas. At first he was a blogging Burkean. Now he's found himself and proclaims to be a raving NC. Take a peek.

theBhc said...

Thanks. I'll have a look. Amusements at such places appear to be nearly boundless.

by the way, how was Laos?

Meatball One said...

Not as neat-o as Riga but kewl. Definitely kewl. I visited some private places in Vientiane that had been long overdue a visit but had nonetheless laid patient in wait. And, the street food is great.Right up there with Armenian and Lebanese cuisine. And the stories, the stories that are still alive in the jungles of Laos from the war in SE Asia. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful. The shit that was done to the most simple of people. You'd think stuff like that wouldn't repeat itself - not so soon at least. Aw anyways, back to pornyfying posts.

theBhc said...

Good god. I just went over to Douglas' blog. I am so glad to see that he is "pro-victory."

Meatball One said...


We promised each other we'd refrain from ad hominems. (Actually I love ad hominem exchanges but they are apparently not fare for all)

You on the other hand are free to speak your mind.

theBhc said...

Thanks, though I may not waste any time on that. Ad hominem needn't apply.

But I find his apparent lack of historical knowledge of US foreign policy rather embarrassing for someone with the appellate of Asoc prof of political science, both for him, but more so for his employer, a university whose political science department must be in a grim state of disarray.