- Expected 25 Feb 2020
Successful people literally see the world differently. Now an award-winning scientist explains how anyone can leverage this “perception gap” to their advantage.
When it comes to setting and meeting goals, we may see—quite literally—our plans, our progress, and our potential in the wrong ways. We perceive ourselves as being closer to or further from the end than we may actually be depending on our frame of reference. We handicap ourselves by looking too often at the big picture and at other times too long at the fine detail. But as award-winning social psychologist Emily Balcetis explains, there is great power in these misperceptions. We can learn to leverage perceptual illusions if we know when and how to use them to our advantage.
Drawing on her own rigorous research and cutting-edge discoveries in vision science, cognitive research, and motivational psychology, Balcetis offers unique accounts of the perceptual habits, routines, and practices that successful people use to set and meet their ambitions. Through case studies of entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, and celebrities—as well as her own colorful experience of trying to set and reach a goal—she brings to life four powerful yet largely untapped visual tactics that can be applied according to the situation.
Narrow your focus: Closing the aperture of your attention helps you exercise effectively, save money, and find more time in your day.
Widen the bracket: Seeing the forest instead of the trees reduces temptations and helps you recognize when a change of course is in order.
Materialize your plan and your progress: Creating checklists and objective assessments inspires better planning and adjusts your gauge of what’s really left to be done.
Control your frame of reference: Knowing where to direct attention improves your ability to read others’ emotions, negotiate better deals, foster stronger relationships, and overcome a fear of public speaking.
A mind-blowing and original tour of perception, Clearer, Closer, Better will help you see the possibilities in what you can’t see now. Inspiring, motivating, and always entertaining, it demonstrates that if we take advantage of our visual experiences, they can lead us to live happier, healthier, and more productive lives every day.
Social psychologist Balcetis employs "visual experience" as a device to study how successful people see the world, both literally and metaphorically, in this detailed exploration. Drawing from scientific studies, the habits of elite athletes, and her own efforts to learn to play the drums, the author reviews the key elements in setting and reaching goals. Many examples are given to explain how setting specific "sights" or goalposts can help a project succeed, including the Google X project (the former experimental research and development arm of the company) and its embrace of failure, as well as some obscure yet successful entrepreneurs, such as Giorgio Piccolo, founder of the multinational art gallery and brand Americanflat. Unfortunately, Balcetis only provides vague guidance on how to emulate the thinking of her examples, and some assertions she makes appear contradictory one must narrowly focus on the goal, for instance, but also remain aware of the larger picture. Other anecdotes, meanwhile, are peripheral to the book's thesis, such as the chapter on visual framing that relates to seating arrangements in the U.S. Senate. Readers looking for tools to achieve success will be disappointed, but the book does work as a survey of examples of singular achievements.