I’ve always ascribed to the “kind of keep them a secret” position. It’s comfy and safe there. If I tell people what I am working toward, they will encourage me and push me, but they’ll also know if I fail. So, I pick and choose who I tell what. This blog has been a huge step out of said comfort zone to announce to the world that I am joining the legions of people who feel called to write. My heart was RACING when I made the first post – why? I was fearful of judgment and failure, when in reality, I’ve gotten positive responses and encouragement from every post. And, it’s not just my sister and close friends who are reading this!! That’s pretty cool.
Then, just a few days ago, I was driving and listening to a Ted Talk. I love Ted Talks, and this particular one was titled, “Keep your goals to yourself” by Derek Sivers. It’s short – only three minutes or so, but he essentially says that if you share your goals, you are far less likely to succeed. What?!? This is because you get encouragement and warm fuzzies just from sharing your goals (like I have with this blog), so your brain decides it’s already reached the goal!
He offers three strategies for countering this: “you could resist the temptation to announce your goal, you can delay the gratification that social acknowledgement brings, and you can understand that your mind mistakes the talking for the doing, but if you do need to talk about something, you can state it in a way that gives you no satisfaction, such as ‘I really want to run this marathon so I need to train 5 times a week and kick my ass if I don’t.’” Who wants to get their ass kicked? Not me, but I do want to be accountable toward reaching my goals.
So now what? I’ve already put it all out there and shared my goals. I’ve gotten gratification and social acknowledgement from my posts. According to Mr. Sivers, the only thing left to do is to state my goal in a miserable fashion for myself, so I’ll just use his marathon example as a template. Here goes: “I really want to write a novel, so I need to write every single day – I’ll fail if I don’t.” And I won’t fail everyone who reads this, I’ll fail me. That is the scariest prospect of all.