Positive Future Vision

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Research says a Positive Future Vision is a more powerful indicator of success than grades and test scores. Holding an optimistic vision of what’s possible for one’s life drives decision making and leads to pursuing the experiences and growing the relationships required to achieve one’s goals and contribute to society.

What is a Positive Future Vision?

A positive future vision can be defined as a mental image of a successful and fulfilling future, while test scores and grades are numerical indicators of academic performance. While test scores and grades can be important in determining one’s immediate academic standing, research suggests that having a positive future vision is more powerful in achieving success in the long term.

The Positive Future Vision Campaign

Studies have shown that having a positive future vision can lead to a number of positive outcomes. For example, research has found that individuals who have a clear vision of their future are more likely to set and achieve goals, engage in academic and career planning, and persevere in the face of challenges (Datu, King, & Valdez, 2016; Oyserman & Destin, 2010). In addition, individuals with a positive future vision tend to have a more optimistic outlook on life, which has been linked to increased well-being and resilience (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005).

On the other hand, research has also suggested that a sole focus on test scores and grades can be limiting. While high academic achievement is certainly important, it is not the only factor that predicts success. For example, research has found that qualities such as creativity, leadership, and interpersonal skills are also important predictors of success in the workforce (Hart Research Associates, 2013). Furthermore, an overemphasis on test scores and grades can lead to a narrow focus on academic performance at the expense of personal growth and development (Wentzel & Wigfield, 2009)

Moreover, research has shown that a fixation on test scores and grades can actually be detrimental to student well-being. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that high school students who reported feeling more pressure to achieve academically were more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression (American Psychological Association, 2015). Similarly, a meta-analysis conducted by the University of Michigan found that high academic pressure was linked to increased levels of stress, reduced sleep quality, and even physical health problems (Hill, Gravel, & West, 2018).

In contrast, research suggests that promoting a positive future vision can lead to increased motivation and engagement. Studies have found that students who have a sense of purpose and direction are more likely to be engaged in their academic work and to see their studies as meaningful (Damon, Menon, & Cotton Bronk, 2003; King, Datu, Valdez, & Steger, 2017). Furthermore, research has shown that having a positive future vision can lead to increased intrinsic motivation, which is a key factor in promoting long-term success (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

In conclusion, while test scores and grades are important measures of academic achievement, research suggests that a positive future vision is more powerful in achieving long-term success. Having a clear vision of the future can lead to increased motivation, engagement, and well-being, and can help individuals to set and achieve meaningful goals. Therefore, it is important to promote a holistic approach to success that values not only academic achievement, but also personal growth and development.

American Psychological Association. (2015). Pressure to be perfect increases risk of suicide in young people. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2015/08/perfectionism-suicide
Carver, C. S., Scheier, M. F., & Segerstrom, S. C. (2010). Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(7), 879-889.
Damon, W., Menon, J., & Cotton Bronk, K. (2003). The development of purpose during adolescence. Applied Developmental Science, 7)