Tuesday, March 6, 2012

TED Talk Tuesday: Keep Your Goals to Yourself

This seriously goes against everything I've ever learned.

You always hear:
"Write down your goals, and then tell them to someone.  Tell them to lots of people.  The more people you tell, the more accountability you'll have."

Derek Silvers believes this is wrong.  That it's actually better to keep our goals secret.  He presents evidence in his short (3-minute) TED Talk that shows that telling someone your goal actually makes it less likely to happen. Interestingly, when you tell someone your goal, your mind is tricked into feeling it's already done.  Because it feels the satisfaction, you're less likely to get it done.

What do you think about his theory?  Is it better to tell others our goals, or to keep them to ourselves?


  1. I know for a fact that it's true for me. Probably depends on your temperament & personality a bit. But I think writers will get this b/c writers know that to talk about their book too much, while it's still in progress, is a big mistake. Once it's talked about, and heard by an audience, the brain kind of feels like it's already been written, even when it hasn't, & motivation to write it "again" goes out the window.

    Even leaving writing aside, the big picture is that when you keep something a secret, there's a tension that's created. You want to tell your secret! Often, badly! If you resist the urge to tell, then the only option is to "tell" by "showing"-- the accomplishment becomes the way you get to "tell" what you've been keeping so secret, and there's a lot more incentive to finish up & achieve the thing so that you can finally let everyone know. I've experienced this phenomenon many, many, many times, so I know it works.

    1. "Tell" by "showing" - what a great way to think about it. Thanks for your comments!