“I’m starting a blog!,” I proudly exclaimed to my friends in 2012. I was sure it was going to happen – I had my blueprint for success, I had content, a great design, the works. I was super pumped and it showed as my face would light up when I explained in great details all that I was going to achieve.
But, alas, it didn’t happen.
No blog. Nada.
Guess what? I’m not the only one. Not that it makes me feel any better, but hey, I’ll take it.
So what went wrong?
Sharing your big idea is basically euphoric
If you’ve ever shared your latest app idea with a friend, you know what I’m talking about. They validate your idea, lavish praise on you and dote on how smart you are. And for what? For merely the idea, but not the actual end result.
This euphoric feeling of accomplishment stunts your progress and gives you a premature feeling of accomplishment.
You have “identity symbols” in your brain that make your self-image, says NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer. “Talking” and “action” both create these symbols in your brain so the mere act of talking satisfies the brain enough that it “neglects the pursuit of further symbols.”
It may be hard to keep this big idea to yourself, but the rewards will be well worth it. Keep your cards close and instead say something cryptic: “I’m working on a personal project.”
Or the opposite effect could happen – negative feedback could halt your progress
If your idea is received with negative feedback, it could plant seeds of doubt into your mind. Suddenly, you’ll be thinking of all these new roadblocks that you hadn’t considered before. This may be helpful if you’re a resilient person, but even if you are, negative feedback can be a hindrance especially if you’re starting something in an entirely new field.
A 2011 study by University of Chicago professor Ayelet Fishbach found that those starting something new, for example: a marathon runner newbie, won’t do as well with negative feedback as opposed to an expert in the field.
(This may also just make you want to reassess who your friends are in general, but the lesson remains — keep it on the DL until you’re ready for showtime.)
Still not convinced? Check out Derek Siver’s TED talk on the subject:
FYI – this humble blog that you’re reading is a product of me practicing the above philosophy. It may have taken me 6 years (ha!) but it’s finally here.
You can too, and remember…
~ Persist and Grow Forth ~
I’d love to hear your story! Let me know what were some of your personal projects that either (hopefully) became a reality or not.