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Clearer, Closer, Better: How Successful People See the World

In Clearer, Closer, Better: How Successful People See the World, Emily Balcetis offers a refreshing, interactive approach to setting and achieving goals such as losing weight, running a marathon, learning a musical instrument or even saving for retirement.

Balcetis is a social psychologist and scientist at New York University with more than 15 years of research experience on motivation and the brain-eye connection. She explains that there is a gap between reality and our subjective perception of it, such that the brain's determination to "see" something in a particular manner can alter the way people view challenging tasks and activities. While studying how people best pursue goals, she developed four strategies that harness the power of vision to help achieve successful outcomes.

Which strategy works best depends on the challenge at hand. At the launch of a daunting project, Balcetis recommends a "wide bracket" approach, considering the whole picture and identifying patterns to optimize results. At the end of a project, a "narrow lens" works best to bring the goal into sharp, concentrated relief. "Visual framing" involves consciously placing items within one's context and removing anything that might derail progress; it works well when trying to avoid unhealthy foods. "Materializing" one's goal, by documenting every step of the process, is a particularly helpful strategy when it comes to weight loss.

Balcetis herself experimented with these strategies in pursuit of her goal to master the drums. In Clearer, Closer, Better, she shares her journey, with entertaining anecdotes on how she eliminated obstacles to her progress, and argues persuasively for how the same tools can be applied to any task. --Shahina Piyarali, writer and reviewer