New Horizons scientists were masters of the long haul – here’s…

first_img Please enter your comment! You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply TAGSLong-term goalsNASANew HorizonsPlutoThe Conversation Previous articleBehind inauguration backdrop, Amendment 4 quietly takes effect in FloridaNext articleSocial media companies should ditch clickbait, and compete over trustworthiness Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR The Anatomy of Fear By Bruce Barry, Vanderbilt University and Thomas Bateman, University of VirginiaIt took almost a decade for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft to navigate its way across the solar system to start taking and transmitting dramatic closeup photos of the dwarf planet Pluto. Another three and a half years passed before New Horizons performed the furthest flyby in history, zooming past a Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule. Initially turning funding into the reality of a launch involved another five years before all that. Was it worth the wait? One team member calls it “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to participate in “a history-making event,” so apparently it was.Lurking behind the scientific excitement are questions about the nature of work that involves goals with very long time horizons, goals that may never be reached in one person’s working lifetime. A Washington Post profile of New Horizons scientist Andy Cheng reminded us that life happened during the long wait. As New Horizons made its three-billion-mile way through the solar system, Cheng’s kids grew up, his father and a brother died, a daughter married, hair thinned, health changed.What’s it like to do the kind of work in which the time horizon to accomplishment is so vast? Here’s what Cheng told the Post: “You just have to teach yourself: Wait. Just wait. Be patient. It’s a very long time.” Indeed it is. So how do people who thrive in these settings stay motivated?We’ll be here waiting for you in the morning… for years on end.Blake Patterson, CC BYMore than just patiencePatience is, as they say, a virtue, and we admire Andy Cheng’s copious reserves of it, but we suspect there’s more to it than that. The pursuit of long-term goals poses challenges relevant to professionals in a variety of work settings, not just space scientists on a Pluto mission. Many lines of work involve balancing short-term demands with long-run hopes and strategies, and the tension between the two has a lengthy provenance in the study of management among both academics and practitioners.Much is known about the psychology of goals: decades of research have shed light on how and why goals motivate task performance in all sorts of settings. We know, for instance, that specific, challenging and attainable goals motivate in the short run, and we know that short-term goals are more motivating than long-term goals. Very little of this work, however, looks at goals and motivation beyond short time spans.Until, that is, our research on how people stay motivated when goals take not just years but decades to reach. We interviewed professionals (researchers as well as administrators) in various fields – biomedical science, nanotechnology, astronomy, biodiversity and others – whose work meets three criteria: goals with decades-long time horizons, very slow progress along the way and significant chance of failure.A complex stew of motivationWe learned from our data that people mine several sources of motivation that sustain them for the long haul, some rooted in what is going on in the present, and some located in thoughts about the future.In their present circumstances, people who persevere are deeply interested in their work, exploiting opportunities to apply their expertise, acquire knowledge, and make intermediate discoveries along the way. A learning mindset is crucial, because orienting oneself solely toward accomplishing the task leads people to avoid or give up on difficult goals when performance payoffs don’t materialize quickly. Long-run motivation is also juiced by perceptions that the work alongside the waiting is challenging, risky, surprising and fun. Social and professional cachet matters as well: gaining recognition from peers, working with prestigious others, being first to the goal and ultimately having a chance to prove skeptics wrong.Someday I’ll attain the goal….Vern, CC BY-NC-NDIn terms of the future, individuals pursuing very long-term goals sustain motivation by envisioning possible futures that result from the work they are doing. This can include not just contributions to their professional or scientific disciplines, but broader impacts on people, societies and future generations.People find additional motivation by invoking symbols, metaphors and historical allegories to give life to these envisioned futures. The people in our study spoke of moon landings, the Wright Brothers, climbing Mount Everest and “doing it the same way Darwin did.”They envision not only impacts on others, but a sense of how they themselves may be changed by pursuit of the goal. These “possible selves,” as we label them, are motivated by the prospect of finding new truths, having their beliefs confirmed, overcoming obstacles and becoming known for seizing rare opportunities.Just as persistence isn’t everything, neither is money. Pecuniary rewards do motivate, of course, and the long-term goal pursuers we spoke with did mention dreams of a big payoff down the road. But the more common and emphatic observation we heard is the belief that they could make more money doing other things – a sense of sacrifice in the name of the goal. Psychological rewards are the important currency along the way, with a marked tolerance for uncertainty regarding more tangible payoffs down the road.Old-you to young-you: stick with it.People image via www.shutterstock.com.Regulate thyselfBinding together these various forms of motivation is what psychologists call self-regulation – the processes through which we manage our own actions, thoughts and emotions. Research highlights several ways this happens: balancing multiple goals, avoiding distractions, keeping emotions in check, being receptive to feedback, coping with failure, rebounding from disappointments.Being good at a job involving long time horizons is not just about being good at waiting; it’s about finding sources of motivation in the present you’re living as well as the future you’re envisioning, with advanced skills of self-awareness and self-regulation thrown into the mix.The New Horizons mission is a compelling reminder that ambitious goals with extended time horizons are reachable when talented people find ways to stay motivated for the long haul. These are skills one can cultivate – and there’s a bit of irony in the fact that long-term pursuits do afford time to get better at it.Masters of the long haul mark time not with superhuman patience, but with a variety of strategies that merge the journey with the destination. The long haul doesn’t feel so long when one is fully engaged. As one of the scientists we interviewed in our study observed, “Five years is the blink of an eye.”center_img Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 Bruce Barry is a Professor of Management and Sociology at Vanderbilt University and Thomas Bateman is a Professor of Management at the University of Virginia. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.  Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Please enter your name herelast_img read more

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ESPS Rayo Ensures Safety of MV Royal Grace on Way to Salalah

first_img View post tag: Naval View post tag: Navy View post tag: Salalah After MV Royal Grace was released by pirates on Friday 8 March, it was EU Naval Force Spanish Offshore Patrol Vessel ESPS Rayo who ensured that the chemical tanker and her crew stayed safe as the vessel sailed north towards Omani waters.ESPS Rayo was conducting counter piracy patrols last Friday 8 March, when she was tasked to take over the role of escorting MV Royal Grace to safer waters from EU NAVFOR flagship ESPS Méndez Núñez.  Royal Grace had been held in a pirate anchorage for over a year close to the northern Somali coast after been pirated on 2 March 2012.As ESPS Rayo escorted MV Royal Grace, the Spanish Navy sailors provided food and water and medical assistance as required.MV Royal Grace is now safely berthed in the port of Salalah. In a farewell to the ESPS Rayo, the crew of Royal Grace thanked the Spanish warship’s crew for the protection and support they had provided.Speaking about the 4 day escort given to MV Royal Grace, the Commanding Officer of ESPS Rayo said “My ship’s company and I were delighted to be able to provide a safe escort and reassurance to the crew of MV Royal Grace.  These men have suffered for so long, soon they will be reunited with their families.”[mappress]Naval Today Staff, March 15, 2013; Image: US Navy Share this article View post tag: of View post tag: safety March 15, 2013 View post tag: ESPS View post tag: M/V View post tag: way View post tag: Rayo View post tag: ensures Back to overview,Home naval-today ESPS Rayo Ensures Safety of MV Royal Grace on Way to Salalah View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Defense View post tag: Royal View post tag: Defence View post tag: ON ESPS Rayo Ensures Safety of MV Royal Grace on Way to Salalah View post tag: Gracelast_img read more

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