{This is the third and last installment from
Become Today’s Leader: Three life changing facts from positive psychology}

When the “father of Positive Psychology,” Martin Seligman, came out in recent years with his new restatement of the well-being theory called, PERMA – short for the “A” – caused quite a sensation. 

The “A” stands for achievement.

And, achievement was something that Seligman had decided was a piece of what drives people forward and fosters happiness.  It’s not necessarily about winning, per se, however; we do value achievement because being proactive and accomplishing meaningful goals empowers us and satisfies our innate desire to feel masterful and competent. 

Research has even shown that people who are given the choice between sitting idly and doing monotonous tasks prefer “doing” over “being,” at least in that type of setting.   Other research finds that at the end of each day, workers (that’s us!) want to feel like they had the resources to accomplish their goals, and that they made progress on those goals.

So, there’s no question that goals have a special place in emotional flourishing, and I would even extend this to helping you successfully achieve your career and business goals as well.  However, I want to emphasize an important point based on this research, and that it’s the hard goals that will provide you with even more of an emotional boost than you realize.

What are hard goals?  Hard goals are defined as “challenging and specific,” and these goals are said to “have a reach that exceeds your grasp”; defined by Locke & Latham, the co-founders of goal setting theory.

  1. Aim for High! A University of San Francisco study found that every night we unconsciously and consciously scan our day for things we are proud of, and that build “authentic self-esteem.”  It turns out that the things we are proudest of are the hardest things we did, often involving pursuits that took us out of our comfort zone and may have provoked challenging emotions.  Remember this in your next operational meeting and there is a nagging issue that you need to bring up.  Difficult, yes!  However, this may provide the specific challenge that will help flourish your career and provide emotional happiness.
  2. Create Clear-Cut Goals: The happiest people are guided by clear-cut goals.  This became clear from Bruce Headey’s study in 2008, whereby for 15 years followed 3,500 adults from around the world!  Defining clear-cut goals is an important issue for many companies.  This study discovered that the happiest people don’t quit when discouraged, and that these goals often involve risk-taking outside one’s comfort zone.  This can have an important impact for your company in turn-over rate and for team building.
  3. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Just as we can’t build a muscle without breaking it down, we only develop emotional resilience by doing difficult things that give us an opportunity to experience our strengths.  This too a great example for business to incorporate in their strategy formulation, market development and marketing programs.

I hope you enjoyed this series on “Get Happy” and if I helped you in finding your peace or want to learn more, please join me over at my site!


Caronline Adams MillerCaroline Adams Miller
Certified Professional Coach (Happiness and Goal Attainment), Best-selling Author (“Feeding the Soul”, “Bright Words for Dark Days”and “Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide”, Media Personality, Keynote Speaker & Teacher.
Learn more, visit http://www.carolinemiller.com/

About the Author theresaparis1

Administrative Support for The Marketing Boutique, love my job!


  1. Excellent insight!

    I think most of us will read this and have that light bulb moment, where we can remember when we done things that scared us, like speaking up at a meeting and feeling gratified for the successful outcome.

    These practical tips will surely come in handy when I prepare my marketing plan for next year!

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