It’s no secret that your average “netizen” enjoys sharing details of his or her life. Posting, tweeting, pinning — whatever the method — have made a web of personal information sharing and updating; the likes of which have never been seen before.
Consider, simply, that the words “social” and “networking” have come together to form some sort of super-phrase that every new business person considers vital. That every person knows and works to comprehend.
So when I saw Derek Sivers’ TED Talk on keeping our life plans and goals to ourselves, my first reaction was that it’d be near impossible these days.
My friends were on the same vibe. What good is a brilliant new plan if you can’t tell anyone? And wouldn’t you want these journeymen to join you along the way?
The answer, according to the Talk, is no. Not if you’re serious about completing that end goal. For, it seems, your motivation is better kept in check if you keep quiet than if you tell someone of your new plans. Make sense?
Sivers utilizes research findings from psychologists dating back to Kurt Lewin in 1926, and as recently as Peter Gollwitzer’s 2009 study. The research says that revealing your goals, future plans or dreams can hinder you from actually achieving what you set out to do. How? Because it triggers a psychological response in you that lessens your motivation to work toward that goal.
It’s like you’ve been rewarded before you’ve achieved. Not just counting your chickens before they hatch — but enjoying the benefits too.
Now, I’m not going to feign an expertise in psychology. My knowledge extends no further than a piqued interest and a high school class background. I’d be remiss to even attempt to flesh out the neurological aspects of this theory — or not to mention that several large voices have disagreed with Sivers and with the way he uses Gollwitzer.
But I’m a believer in living out the best advise of our sciences – even if they’re understood only as social queues. It is at this intersection of science and living, of psychology and philosophy, that we choose our course and decide to act.
So then, you can choose to believe in the “keep quiet” theory or not. That rite is yours and yours alone. But I hope you’ll at least consider its ramifications in order to better yourself or your business.
And the ramifications are this — that we should avoid cheap and easy feedback. Skip those that say congratulations before we’ve done anything. Forget the pats on a back that never put anything on it.
Our rewards should be deserved. Our accomplishments should be reveled in, not because they came with luck, but because they were once goals and are now completed.
I’m not suggesting that every goal should be a product of blood, sweat, and tears. Just as I’m not suggesting you work toward your goals alone. Bring along a crew of friends and family, they’ll always sweeten the celebration. Just make sure the company you keep along the way is encouraging in the right way.
I’m almost there — this selective decision to assemble a committed crew — but my mouth is just a bit too big. So I’ll take the parallel route and reveal my dreams to my vital few — the ones that wait until I’ve achieved something before they pass on their regards.
Think about it — are your dreams worth sacrificing simply to get a few retweets or Facebook Likes along the way? My guess is not.