Saturday, August 09, 2008

Going for bronze

Jo Swinson argues that British Olympians – and their supporters – should have lower expectations:

Time after time, psychology has taught us that our happiness is dependent on our expectations. Research from the University of Colorado has shown that bronze medallists, who were often not expecting a medal, were judged happier than the silver medallists expecting the gold. Similar results occur in relation to exams: students who achieved a C, but expected a lower grade felt better than those who achieved a B, but expected a higher grade

True, but it doesn’t mean that a conscious strategy of ‘let’s expect ourselves to do worse than we actually think plausible, and then be pleasantly surprised when we do moderately well’ is the kind of doublethink that one can deliberately pull off. Furthermore, is there a connection between expectations and actual performance? Defeatism may not inspire achievement.

(Jo Swinson MP is foreign affairs spokeswoman for the party that, we must assume, hopes in the next two years to score a record 24th consecutive general election bronze.)

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