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MAD Musings 10
Madrid, España: Wed 19-Oct-16

Quick-fire TED Talk today. Normally, they’re up around the 20 minute mark but this one’s only 3. Must have been some sort of Quick Draw McGraw conference…

Should you tell people your goals??

So, the subject is ‘goal telling’, and yay or nay. There is something to be said for both camps but before I give my view, I’ll pass you over to Derek Sivers.

This is the same guy who gave the voice-over to the ‘lone nut’/leadership video which I included at the bottom of this post.

Thanks Dezza. Not exactly the most riveting talk (or much depth) but you get the idea and the subject is interesting…

So, should you keep your goals to yourself or let them run free?

Both! You just have to be very careful how you play this game and selective as to who, when and what you say.

As Derek mentions, there’s some conventional wisdom that says when you tell people, they can hold you accountable and there’s an ‘avoiding embarrassment’ factor. If you don’t tell anyone then you can always cop out through the back door.

This works to a degree.

And you can’t keep everything to yourself as there’s no way on earth you can make any progress, with most things.

At some point you will need the input of other people. Perhaps in a practical sense but as much for motivation and inspiration as anything else. It’s important to be surrounded by the right people.


On the other side of the coin is what the video discusses – you may invite unhelpful criticism or ‘advice’ and generally give away its power.

There’s a ‘sneaky’ trick you can use. There’s no rule saying you have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to run down the street with a placard shouting in anyone’s face who will listen about your idea, dream or objective. Telling them every single nuance and permutation.

And you don’t have to be hunched in the corner of a darkened room not letting a single peep out either.

What you can do is tell a version of your plans. Edit according to your audience. Different people have different world views and what might be great for one person may have a disastrous effect for others.

The down side to this is pre-judging a person or situation. They may love to hear all about it (or vice-versa). However, I feel you need to err on the side of caution as many a dream has been snuffed out in this way.

“Tell the world what you intend to do, but first show them”
~ Napoleon Hill

It’s also vitally important to be self-aware and realise what stage you are at in your life as well as with the particular idea, project or goal being discussed. If you’re a certain distance along and nothing’s going to stop you then it doesn’t really matter. At worst, it could just be a bit of a waste of time and energy.

But if you’re in the earlier stages and very precariously perched as to if and how you move forward, I’d say to keep a close counsel until you have full confidence in your plan. That would be supporters and people who have already achieved or on their way to what you’re trying to do… along with those who call you on your ballshit (positivity is great but you don’t just want ‘yes men’) .

Once you have that confidence, you have an impenetrable force field to negativity. Not in any obnoxious way, you are just far too focused on creating your vision, so anything that doesn’t fit in with that becomes irrelevant.

Let’s talk about Jeff

I had a conversation with an old friend about a year back. Let’s call him Jeff. We were chatting at another mutual friend’s birthday drinks and he had recently returned to live in a small city in Devon (rural county in the south-west of England), having been living in London amongst other places for over 10 years.

It was a high-spirited conversation as Jeff is a high-spirited guy, but between the laughter there were some important and perhaps worrying points.

He told me that in the previous years, in London and the like, he met people all the time. He had big conversations. Goals were discussed, dreams, ideals. Networking was rife, in both a personal sense and related to business and often a combination of the 2.

Since he’d been back in Devon for those few months, Jeff said he’s hardly met anyone. He hadn’t increased his social circle (save for 1 or 2), just hanging out with old friends who still live there or have returned as he has. And business-wise, nothing like before either.

The worst part about it though… he told me that he found himself lying to people. Not in any malicious, evasive or personal gain way, more in the sense of playing his ambitions down. Not being his full, authentic self… but a watered down version so as to keep everyone comfortable.


Now, Jeff is a confident enough guy but he obviously must have felt it wasn’t worth it and that the people in front of him – although great people – were not quite on the same page.

Disclaimer: this is not to say these people lack in anyway; just a different outlook on life, different upbringing, experiences and knowledge. It’s not about one being better or worse, right or wrong. Although, quite often they don’t even have any goals, only vague intentions. Each his own. 

Now, this was a while ago so things have probably changed. Time to settle in etc. But let me tell you, our Jeff is no wallflower and if he’s not making an impact then it says a lot about the environment.

You may guess that I myself have lofty goals. I actually have one main one that everything else is based around. Should I launch into it now? What would Derek say? No. What would Jeff say? Yes, probably.

But alas, we’re up around 1000 words for this blog so we’ll have to leave it for another day. Although I’m more than happy to elaborate in the comments or Facebook Page 😉

Ultimately, you should share your life and goals with those who show a genuine interest and a curiosity to learn. These are people that respect the time and dedication you have put in to an endeavour, and appreciate that you may hold more information on a particular topic than them as a consequence.


I’m off to the Dorset hills this weekend… my goal is to drink the village out of cider. You gotta dream a dream 😉

See ya next week!

~ Adam

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…”
~ Marianne Williamson

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