An interesting poll result crossed my desk today, and I thought I’d share.

We’ve all heard the quotation that says: “Aim for the moon, because even if you miss you’ll be among the stars.”

According to a recently published paper by Ceclie K. Cho, a University of California, Riverside assistant marketing professor, aiming high pays off with more than “a place among the stars” — it also increases overall satisfaction. The study found that people are more satisfied if they set ambitious goals as opposed to conservative goals.

Cho and her co-author Gita Venkataramani Johar, a professor at Columbia University, set up two experiments to compare people who set ambitious goals to those who set conservative goals. They focused on situations in which goals were achieved, and measured the level of satisfaction with the achieved goals.

Participants that set high goals in the study consistently reported higher levels of satisfaction.

“The moral of the story is don’t sell yourself short,” Cho said. “Aim high.”

The paper, “Attaining Satisfaction,” has been published online in the Journal of Consumer Research. It will appear in the December issue of the journal. To read the details of the study, visit

Are you setting your goals high enough?