Irfan Iqbal Khan
  Editor-in-Chief
  Saudi Commerce & Economic Review   ikhan@chamber.org.sa

Make Challenges Manageable

02.01.2018

 

 
Did you make resolutions around this time last year? How did they go? Most resolutions tend to fade away with time – due to a lack of motivation. Scientists have been studying ‘motivation’ for decades. While there is still much to learn, one of the most consistent findings is that perhaps the best way to stay motivated is to work on tasks of “just manageable difficulty.” Human beings love challenges, but only if they are within the optimal zone of difficulty.

For example, if I try to play a serious tennis match against a four-year-old, I will quickly become bored. The match will be too easy. On the other hand, if I try to play the same match against a professional tennis player like Roger Federer or Serena Williams, the match will obviously be too difficult and I will find myself demotivated.

Now if we compare these experiences to playing tennis against someone who is my equal…it is quite likely that I win a few points and I lose a few too. I will also have a chance to win the match if I put in a serious effort. This is possible because when I play the game with my equal my focus narrows, distractions fade away, and I may fully get involved in the game. In this situation, the challenge I face is “just manageable.” Victory is not guaranteed, but is possible. Tasks like these are the most likely to keep us motivated in the long term.

I believe that tasks that are significantly below my current abilities are boring; and those beyond my current abilities are discouraging. But tasks that are right on the border of success and failure are incredibly motivating to the human brain. We just need to master a skill that is a little beyond our current horizon.

On another note, Saudi Arabia has just announced its largest ever budget and other financial figures for 2018. The government has displayed great optimism for its economic diversification and expansion plans. If the focus in the coming year can be on the quality of spending, the estimated growth can rebound to 2.7 percent in 2018. The economy is being redesigned to align with the goals of Vision 2030 and make Saudi Arabia less dependent on oil. The country is undoubtedly in a stable financial situation, reason enough to keep citizens and businesses motivated throughout 2018 and beyond.

Friends and well-wishers, we thank you for all the love you have shown towards us and our efforts to reach you authentic business and trade sentiments. We wish and pray that 2018 brings prosperity, happiness and good health to all of us. Remember, while making resolutions this year, just keep your tasks at manageable levels to stay motivated and focused; and achieve the goals you resolved you would.

Cheers and Happy 2018!


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