When ‘I Believe’ Backfires

New York Magazine:

It’s the epitome of classic American optimism: The U.S. national team’s World Cup chant, I believe that we will win! Ahead of today’s knockout match against Belgium, ESPNFC.com has a short history of the cheer. The music swells, the “I believe” chant repeats — it’s hard not to watch the two-minute video without getting a little misty-eyed. Yes, I do believe!

And maybe it’ll work for the U.S. today —  it certainly seems to have so far. But — and here Science of Us offers its sincerest apologies for being a complete and total buzzkill —  in everyday life, emerging evidence suggests the “I believe” attitude tends to backfire. As the theory popularized by New York University psychologist Gabriele Oettingen goes, fantasizing about an idealized future may inadvertently burn up most of your energy, which stops you from putting in the work necessary to attain those goals.

Read the whole story: New York Magazine

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