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Aim to meet expectations

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Overachieving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, according to a study from researchers at the University of California San Diego and the University of Chicago.

The multipart study found that while people responded negatively to others who broke a promise, they tend to respond just as positively to someone who meets a promise as to someone who exceeds a promise.

In other words, if people break a promise they are deemed unreliable, but if they follow through, they are considered reliable—regardless of how much extra effort they put in.

The lesson here, says Ayelet Gneezy, associate professor of behavioral sciences and marketing at the University of California San Diego Rady School of Management, is that “You really, really want to keep a promise, and anything beyond that is marginal, if anything. Don’t kill yourself trying to overdeliver.”

— Adapted from “Overachievers: No One Really Cares That You’re Overachieving,” Kate Ashford, Forbes, www.forbes.com.

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