The Power of Silence

Tell people your goals so they can support you “they” tell you.

Announce your goals on social media so people can hold you accountable. Yeah, that ought to do it.

Let the world know your intentions.

But before you go and do all of that, let me just share some interesting research with you by Gollwitzer et al. (2010) When Intentions Go Public which shows that declaring our intentions can have the opposite effect than we intend.

Not good.

In the experiments conducted, the researchers found that whenever the participants announced their goals and shared them with others, their levels of effort towards their desired goals actually decreased.

There are several ideas behind this theory.

The main one being that we gain a sense of social approval, especially from those who are close to us. We all seek approval and we have a natural desire to impress others which stems from our childhood.

So when we announce a new goal or something positive we have done towards our goal – “I have just joined the gym for a year”, we are seeking some acknowledgment and encouragement.

The problem with this is that once we get this approval, our desire begins to weaken. After all, we have already achieved one of the things that is driving our desire to achieve our goal – social approval. This is at play under the surface whether we are aware of it or not.

But instead of using this as a driver, we are cheating it and satisfying it early, thus reversing its power against ourselves. If we only knew!

I don’t know about you but I can certainly recognise this in myself when I reflect on it.

When I first began as a motivational speaker I used to think it would be a good idea to share some of my goals with the audience. Not any more.

Another explanation is that by announcing the goal to others it gives us a premature sense of completeness. We have tricked our mind into believing that we are making good progress towards our goal. In reality, our desire is fading and we don’t know why.

The next thing it is the end of the year and our goals have been unfulfilled once again.

So think carefully next time you set a goal. Do your best to keep it to yourself. It will take some self-restraint since we want the good feelings of approval now, but by getting the immediate satisfaction you are more likely to miss out on the results.

Which one do you want more? If it is the results, try keeping your mouth shut!

There is power in silence.

Brought to you by motivational speaker and authority on performance...

Martin Robert Hall

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