You know those motivational posters that your second grade teacher hung in her classroom? There’s one that says “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars.”
Not only is this astronomically incorrect, it’s backwards (though admittedly more catchy in its current form). If you set a goal for yourself—let’s say you want to get a B in one of your classes and you think, “OK, all I need is an 80%” and you don’t meet that goal, then you won’t get a B.
But if you want to get that B, and you shoot for a 89% you can still get your B… even if you don’t get your 89%.
That’s why if the Pirates goal is to win 81 games, they probably won’t. But if their goal is to win 100 or win the division, there is a better chance that they will win those 81. (Actually, the Pirates shouldn’t think in those terms at all, they should think, ‘The goal is to win today’ every day.)
Even if you don’t reach your goal, setting a higher goal will be better in the long run.
Viktor Frankl wasn’t thinking of baseball when he said this, because it applies to pretty much everything in life. So whether they’re a first baseman, an astronaut, or that kid struggling next to you in class put some faith in them.