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    Too bad about that great story

    For years, motivational speakers have told the inspirational story of a 1953 survey of graduating Yale students. The seniors were asked whether they had specific, written goals for the future. Three percent of them answered affirmatively. Twenty years later, the researchers surveyed the surviving students of the class of 1953 and found that the three percent who had graduated with written goals had amassed more money than the other 97 percentcombined.

    It’s a perfect illustration of the value of setting concrete goals. Unfortunately, as First Company magazine discovered when checking the story out, it’s not true. While such professional speakers as Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar often cite the study in books and speeches, a study of the Yale alumni archives unearthed no evidence of any such study.

    Notes from Fast Company, January 1997.

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