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Keep Your Goals Quiet

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Published: 7.31.2017
Level 4   |   Time: 3:45
Accent: American
Source: TED

After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep your goals secret.


    

triangle Directions


  1. REVIEW the vocabulary / background.
  2. WATCH the video.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers. (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary


  • high image [n] - high opinion
  • identity [n] - basic part of who you are
  • keep your mouth shut [exp ] - not talk
  • psychology [n] - study of the mind
  • achieve [v] - accomplish
  • ideally [adv] - best option
  • satisfied [adj] - happy, content
  • acknowledge [v] - agree with, accept
  • motivated [adj] - feeling desire to do something
  • ignorance [n] - not understanding
  • conventional wisdom [n] - what most people believe
  • hold us to it [exp] - make sure we do it
  • proof [n] - evidence, support
  • published [v] - printed, sold/given
  • announced [v] - told
  • long way to go [exp] - many more steps
  • resist [v] - fight against
  • temptation [n] - desire for something bad
  • gratification [n] - good feeling of satisfaction

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression


triangle Questions


  1. What does Derrick want you to imagine?
    telling your goal to someone
    receiving congratulations
    accomplishing your goal
    giving up on your goal

  2. What does Derrick say you might feel?
    happiness
    stress
    one step closer
    a new identity

  3. What are the results of that feeling?
    a higher chance of success
    a lower chance of success
    no change
    more careful thinking

  4. According to Derek, what "social reality" occurs after you tell someone your goal?
    You feel the goal is impossible.
    You feel that it's already done.
    You feel motivated.
    You feel embarrassed.

  5. What is the "conventional wisdom" about goal setting?
    tell someone your goals
    tell someone your achievements
    don't tell anyone your goals
    don't tell anyone your achievements

  6. How many people were in the four separate tests?
    16
    116
    163
    1063

  7. Who worked on their goals longer?
    those who told their goals
    those who didn't tell their goals
    both were the same
    those who wrote specific goals

  8. Who felt closer to achieving their goals?
    those who told their goals
    those who didn't tell their goals
    both were the same
    those who wrote specific goals

  9. What can/should we do about our goals?
    not say them
    delay our satisfaction
    remember that our minds make mistakes about our feelings
    say them in an unsatisfying way


triangle Script



Everyone, please think of your biggest personal goal. For real -- you can take a second. You've got to feel this to learn it. Take a few seconds and think of your personal biggest goal, okay? Imagine deciding right now that you're going to do it. Imagine telling someone that you meet today what you're going to do. Imagine their congratulations, and their high image of you. Doesn't it feel good to say it out loud? Don't you feel one step closer already, like it's already becoming part of your identity?

0:41

Well, bad news: you should have kept your mouth shut, because that good feeling now will make you less likely to do it. The repeated psychology tests have proven that telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen. Any time you have a goal, there are some steps that need to be done, some work that needs to be done in order to achieve it. Ideally you would not be satisfied until you'd actually done the work. But when you tell someone your goal and they acknowledge it, psychologists have found that it's called a "social reality." The mind is kind of tricked into feeling that it's already done. And then because you've felt that satisfaction, you're less motivated to do the actual hard work necessary.

1:19

(Laughter)

1:20

So this goes against conventional wisdom that we should tell our friends our goals, right? So they hold us to it.

1:27

So, let's look at the proof. 1926: Kurt Lewin, founder of social psychology, called this "substitution." 1933: Wera Mahler found when it was acknowledged by others, it felt real in the mind. 1982, Peter Gollwitzer wrote a whole book about this, and in 2009, he did some new tests that were published.

1:45

It goes like this: 163 people across four separate tests. Everyone wrote down their personal goal. Then half of them announced their commitment to this goal to the room, and half didn't. Then everyone was given 45 minutes of work that would directly lead them towards their goal, but they were told that they could stop at any time. Now, those who kept their mouths shut worked the entire 45 minutes on average, and when asked afterward, said that they felt that they had a long way to go still to achieve their goal. But those who had announced it quit after only 33 minutes, on average, and when asked afterward, said that they felt much closer to achieving their goal.

2:25

So if this is true, what can we do? Well, you could resist the temptation to announce your goal. You can delay the gratification that the social acknowledgment brings, and you can understand that your mind mistakes the talking for the doing. But if you do need to talk about something, you can state it in a way that gives you no satisfaction,such as, "I really want to run this marathon, so I need to train five times a week and kick my ass if I don't, okay?"

2:54

So audience, next time you're tempted to tell someone your goal, what will you say?

2:58

(Silence)

2:59

Exactly! Well done.

3:01

(Laughter)

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