WASHINGTON—According to a study published this week in the American Journal Of Psychology, the average person’s plan for their life is only capable of withstanding 25 seconds of honest, direct questioning before falling apart. “While most individuals’ plans for the future hold together for the first few moments of explanation, we found that by the 20- or 30-second mark, people typically begin trailing off into ambiguity, equivocation, or flat-out silence,” said the study’s lead author, Theresa Colmaryk of American University, adding that most research subjects hit an impassable roadblock after being asked “How are you going to pay for that?” “In about 38 percent of cases, it appeared participants’ aspirations had been subject to so little critical inquiry that the simple exercise of explaining the first step of their plan aloud—be it to purchase a home, to travel extensively, or simply to learn a new skill, like cooking—caused the entire thing to unravel right before their eyes in a period of no more than six or eight seconds.” Colmaryk noted that even after talking themselves into a corner and finding themselves wholly unable to explain how they would achieve their plans, nearly 100 percent of the subjects still expressed confidence they would succeed.

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