Virtue of silence –SUCCESS

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Are you more likely to achieve a goal if you tell colleagues about your  intention than if  you keep the intention private? It is commonly assumed that whenever people make their intentions public, the behavioral impact of these intentions is enhanced. We all have a huge personal goal that we want to accomplish–a big, challenging, amazing goal. We think about it, dream about it, obsess about it… but we never accomplish it.

Last week I stumbled upon a paper by Peter M. Gollwitzer of New York University and his colleagues. It is argued in it that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to follow through on those intentions.

Let’s say you want to build lean muscular body, a mentally and physically challenging endeavor.

You’re having dinner with friends, and you tell them about it.

“Oh, wow!” one exclaims. “That sounds amazing. But won’t it be hard?”

Indeed it will, you say, and you share (or boast) what you know about cardio , weight lifting , apps, fitness books and magazines, and the cool website you’ll get.

It’s fun. It feels awesome to bask in the glow of people who admire you for wanting to take on such a challenge.

A self deceiving  process….

It makes you feels like you’re already in the process.

It also means you’re less likely to actually be on track someday. The reason is that “when other people take notice of an individual’s identity-related behavioral intention, this gives the individual a premature sense of possessing the aspired-to identity.”(P.M.Gollwitzer et al.)

In short, you already made people to think of you as a Body builder … so now you’re less motivated to actually be a body builder

It sounds counter-intuitive.  Normally we think that we should to share our intentions so other people can help support and motivate us?

But according to the research done that is not the case.

Professor Gollwitzer thinks the issue lies in our sense of identity. Each of us wants to be someone, and we tend to naturally declare those intentions, even if we have not yet become those things. ***

To Describe how I plan to shed pounds, and how I bought running shoes and joined a local gym and created an exercise plan, will certainly  makes me feel good, But on the other hand it also makes me feel like I’m already part of the way there even though I haven’t trained at all.

Declaring what we want to be and how we will get there deceives us to somehow feel we are farther along the path of becoming who we want to be, and therefore makes us less motivated–even though we’ve actually done nothing but talked about it.

Therefore Pick a goal, create a plan to achieve it and keep your goal and your plan to yourself. Don’t talk about it!  Put all you energies on doing the work required to achieve your goal.

Then, when you’re done, feel free talk all you want. In short, use actions as your medium to share your intentions rather than words.



-I have had friends who used to blog their plans and goals but literally achieved nothing.

-You must have also noticed self-declared GEEKS and game ninjas (check out FB and twitter BIOS)


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7 thoughts on “Virtue of silence –SUCCESS

  1. Wonderful piece of writing. What you wrote is really true.
    But on the other hand, Sometimes you just cant reach your goal without getting constant motivation from people.

  2. fine perspective Omeir, but a situational analysis at times compels to do the other way round… keep Writing😊

  3. Isn’t that similar to how people “like” things like a cause or raising awareness for something on facebook and by doing so they feel they’ve already contributed or “done their bit” without actually doing something about it?
    I think it balances out. It depends on how you react to the external opinions on your goals and how they impact you.

    1. Isn’t that similar to how people “like” things like a cause or raising awareness for something on facebook and by doing so they feel they’ve already contributed or “done their bit” without actually doing something about it?

      Well I believe that’s not always the case ..because if you read the paper it mentions the INTENTIONS THAT are revealed to public are dangerous ..infact in one of the experiments the experimenters while surveying gave out questionnaires to fill that itself asked people to write their one GOAL , well after few days the volunteers were called and informed that the part which asked their intention is REJECTED because it was not the part of the survey and was included mistakenly..these candidates believed their intentions were not SEEN by experimenters and hence performed better.

  4. Another great article Omeir. Hope you continue to write such admirable works. Also, this is entirely true – that declaring your goals will have a premature negative effect on its process. Like whenever I state to my colleagues that I’m about to begin a poem/story, it doesn’t motivate me to do it practically, as I am already satisfied with the feedback I got before writing.

  5. This can happen when people do things not because they enjoy it or are interested in it, but when they do it purely to seek attention. If someone gets the attention or “glory” of doing something before even doing it, they will lose motivation to do it. But if a person truly wanted to do something, it will only motivate them to have some support and feedback.
    A great article Omeir 🙂 , Keep writing .

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