Derek Sivers: Keep your goals to yourself

Derek Sivers is best known as the founder of CD Baby. A professional musician since 1987, he started CD Baby by accident in 1998 when he was selling his own CD on his website, and friends asked if he could sell theirs, too. CD Baby was the largest seller of independent music on the web, with over $100M in sales for over 150,000 musician clients.

Derek SiversAfter hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it’s better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them. (source: Ted.com)

I watched this video about five times and I’m still not sure whether to agree with Sivers or not, especially since he cited Peter Gollwitzer.

Here is another possible explanation for the shown results:
oathPeter Gollwitzer and Heinz Heckhausen, the creators of the rubicon model, argue that the commitment to a goal is probably the most essential step in transforming a wish into action. Commitment is achieved through social obligation, like telling someone what your going to do.
In medieval times, knights commited to follow their king through pledges and vows. This is a very ancient concept. By commiting publicly in front of an important person in your social network, you get pulled into a social “suction”, methaphorically speaking.

So why did half of the people stop earlier and felt closer to their goals?
Heckhausen and Gollwitzer argue that commitment shifts a person’s state of consciosnuss from “Planning” to “Acting”.
If your goal is to loose some weight and you’re still in the “Planning Mode”, you spend a lot of time on finding the diet that best suits you or how you’re going to organize your life around your diet.
Once you commit to a certain diet, you consciousness shifts into the “Acting Mode” and you get pulled into the social suction. You feel obligated. You’ve done enough talk, now you HAVE to show the people around you that your serious about it. You automatically fade out any information, that doesn’t lead to your goal, like information about other diets.

One possible explanation for the results in Sivers’ video is that Group A shifted into the “Acting Mode” and finished the necessary tasks quickly, compared to Group B, which was still concerned with figuering out on how to best achieve their goal. Since they havn’t commited to their goal, they still feel like there is a long way to go.

I’ve heard that the the most effective method is to commit to your goal and then “burry it  in your closet”.

One thing that supposively really decreases your chance of reaching your goals is to put have it in your face face 24/7. I used to write down my goals and attach them to my monitor. Don’t do it, it makes you feel miserable!

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