GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

52. Successful individuals typically set their next goal somewhat - but not too much - above their last achievement. In this way, they steadily raise their level of aspiration.


In your opinion, how accurate is this statement? Explain, using specific reasons and examples from your reading, your own experience or your observations of others.


I agree generally that setting new goals in small increments above past accomplishments is a reliable path to achieving those goals. I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find fault with this advice. Nevertheless, in some exceptional instances, a more dramatic LEAP-FROG approach may be more appropriate or even necessary to achieve a significant goal.

The virtues of setting goals in small, easily-attainable increments are undeniable. Overwhelming challenges are reduced to readily attainable tasks. A psychological boost is afforded by each intermediate success helping to ensure that the achiever won't become discouraged and give up. Each step in this process can raise one's level of aspiration and in manageable proportions that make success more likely. Moreover, this approach can be used by anyone a sedentary office worker who decides to complete the New York Marathon : a paralegal who wishes to become a surgeon or a small business owner who aspires to become CEO of a Fortune 500 Company.

In some instances, however, the step-by-step approach is not adequate. For example, many great creative achievements-in art, music and literature are made not by the achiever's disciplined setting of incremental goals, but rather by a spontaneous flash of brilliance and intense creativity. Another exception to this approach is the case of the ultra-successful actor, model or even socialite who might suddenly leap-frog to his or her goal, but through serendipity. Third, for those who have already achieved great things, taking baby steps toward the next goal would only frustrate them and slow them down. Suppose, for example, a recent gold medallist in the Olympic Games 1 GO-meter sprint wishes to become a member the football franchise that won last year's Super Bowl. What small, incremental accomplishments are needed to achieve his goal? None, aside from a phone call by his agent to the front office of the team. Admittedly, these are exceptional cases. Yet they do exist.

In conclusion, setting modest but increasingly higher goals is generally good advice. Yet this approach may be inappropriate or inadequate under certain a exceptional circumstances.

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