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David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Having High Aspirations Can Lead to Depression

When people aspire to outcomes that they could not realistically expect to achieve, they become depressed.


In the 1942 film Now, Voyager, Bette Davis’s character ends with the line, "Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars.” "Reach for the stars" has since become a trite platitude to encourage young people. From first graders to graduating college seniors, young people are consistently told that they can be and do anything that they set their minds to.

Except for the little problem of how to: A new study by Princeton psychology professor Margaret Frye and University of Queensland’s Katharine H. Greenaway and Tegan Cruwys reveals the paradox that more college students are excited about the future, yet simultaneously more down about it than ever. According to their research, these young people often aspire to outcomes that they could not realistically expect to achieve and, consequently, become depressed.

More college students are excited about the future, yet simultaneously more down about it than ever.

What’s key to note about this study is that these young people hoped for outcomes — such as high grades or levels of education — with little understanding how to achieve them. Hope, as a psychological concept, is a pretty muddy concept. Technically, it can be understood as a mental estimate of probabilities that outweigh the negative possibilities that would lead to fear; spiritually, it is often interpreted as faith, which ideally should persist no matter the odds.

Imperative CEO Aaron Hurst says knowing what your purpose is will you help you achieve.

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Join Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and best-selling author Charles Duhigg as he interviews Victoria Montgomery Brown, co-founder and CEO of Big Think, live at 1pm EDT tomorrow.

Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

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Image source: sumroeng chinnapan/Shutterstock
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R. attenuata escaping from a black-spotted pond frog.

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Mind & Brain

Why are we fascinated by true crime stories?

Several experts have weighed in on our sometimes morbid curiosity and fascination with true crime.

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