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Don't Be a Luffy: Never Talk About Goals Out Loud

Remember when you were a kid, every adult you met would ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember when I was a kid, I’d always answer, “I’m going to be a painter!” Like Fine Arts kind of stuff. Along with this, I would tell people that I’d go to U.P.,  School of Pine Arts. Because that was how I thought it was. I seriously thought “Fine Arts” didn’t make sense and that it could only mean “Pine” like “Pineapple.” You know, how the Arts is one extensive collection of leaves, and you use your eyes for it1. But, I digress.

Then you grow up, and nothing you ever planned as a child ever happened. All those innocent, noble goals — flushed down the toilet. Along with your breakfast. And your dignity and confidence. The question, "What you want to be when you grow up?”  is essentially asking you what your goals in life are. Well, duh?! Everybody knows that.

But have you ever noticed how the goals you said out loud, were the same goals that seemed farther to reach?

If you’ve read my blog(s) before, you might have encountered one or two or maybe many (because I’ve completely lost count) entries detailing the goals I have set my mind to complete. A short movie by the end of the year. A music video by the end of the quarter. A chapter, written every week. An Academy Award so I’d be legit worthy of marrying Nino. Notice how none of that has happened yet? Not one of them completed. I already have three short movies waiting for script completion. Two music videos promised to somebody. Ten books for storyboarding. And a Nino still unmarried.

College Info Geek’s Thomas Frank has a Vlog about “Why You Shouldn’t Tell People About Your Goals.” He poses that “Announcing your intention to do something actually decreases the likelihood that you’ll follow through.” And we all know that following through is the most difficult thing to … follow through. He found scientific studies as to why this is so. He says, “When you announce your goal to someone, and they affirm it, you feel good.” And that somehow is enough to make you feel like you’ve already done something to achieve the goal. It, somehow, doesn’t make sense, but, in some way, it does.

As you keep telling people that you’re going to do this, you’re going to do that — it becomes a reality in your mind. But there’s no actual physical fruition to it. It’s like you’re hypnotizing yourself to believe you’ve made the goal. And then when you realize that they’re all just words, you plunge into a deep depression and self-pity and become an asshole (because Murakami said so2). Instead of taking action, you lie in bed in a fetal position trying to get back to the dream from which you have just woken up. I admit, these moments have been the cause of my tardiness at work most of the times. It’s hard not to see. It’s ruining me.

Just in clarification, I’m not trying to say I’m giving up on my goals. In fact, I’m keeping them. ALL OF THEM. I’m just going to stop telling people about them. Even my closest friends. I have to admit, I’m nowhere near my boo, Luffy’s stubbornness.

In Reggie Rivers’ TED Talk about goals, he said, “If you want to achieve your goals, don’t focus on them.” That’s the legit title of the clip on YouTube. Despite aiming for them, he said, “our goals are out of our control.” Bad news Senor and Senora control freaks. I know how you all feel. However, good news: the actions that could get us to our goals, are definitely well within our command.

Instead of writing goals, we should be writing the steps that we have to take to unlock an achievement. It’ll be like playing The Sims — completely ignore the "goal" because it never did say what the goal was. Just read the damn instruction and complete it — like tapping on the shovel icon to make your dog dig that poo.

Me? The first step I would be taking is to write the process I need to take to achieve a goal. I already have one dedicated journal just for that. Then, I shall write the first point of action on the wall by my bed. It’s the first thing I see when I open the door, and it’s the first thing I see when I wake up. When I finish a step, I’ll erase it and replace it with the next step. And when I’m all done with it, then and only then would I announce to the world my goal and what I’ve done to achieve it.

The wall behind me -- the wall I'm talking about.

797 but it took me 1 hour and half not including proofreading.
But I still say this is a win for me.

1. Check out legend of the Pineapple
2. Have you not read Norwegian Wood still? Come on!  

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