Why keeping your goals quiet can help achieve them

A few years ago I read the book The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. This clever novel tells the tale of Santiago, a young boy on a journey to the Egyptian Pyramids. What begins as a journey to find treasure turns into a realization of his “personal legend”. “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” Coelho captured my attention and his message could not have hit closer to home as I was in Cairo for work when I finished the book (if you have read it you will appreciate the irony!).

I have always been passionate about the work I do, and after reading this book I started to reflect on what I want to achieve in life. What is my “Personal Legend”? How can I help make this world a better place? I look at two amazing role models I have lost in the past few years as a source of inspiration: my grandfathers. I was blessed to have both of them in my life for almost 30 years. They taught me a lot about love, life, work ethic and the importance of family. So here it is: my goal is to impact this world in a way that will provide a better future for my children. Because my work is specific to education and learning,  I am focused on how I can positively impact learning environments.

Over the years I have had many goals. Typically I have been open and transparent (with anyone willing to listen) with them. Like anyone else, I have achieved some and fallen short with others.  Recently I stumbled across a TED talk by Derek Sivers about goals. In less than 4 minutes Derek explains why “telling someone your goals makes them LESS likely to happen”.  About a week after watching this talk I came to the realization that, although I can share my goal of positively impacting learning environments, I’m going to keep the goals I need to achieve in order to realize my “personal legend” to myself. Since making this decision I have been more motivated and inspired than ever before to start working on my “to do” list of goals. It might be a coincidence, but I’m going to trust the brain science behind this phenomenon.

Take a second to think about a goal you want to achieve. Now lock it up, throw away the key and get to work!


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