Since I work with personal planning, this is a question that comes up a lot: Fran, do you think I should talk about my dreams and plans to other people? The answer is tricky, but first let’s define what we’re actually taking about, so there’s no confusion!
When we’re talking about plans and dreams, I’m excluding those shared ideas that we might have with family, community and friends. What we’re talking about here are our private, individual dreams (maybe things that we share with immediate family, but not broad dreams and “intentions” we might share with a lot of people).
If you want to write a book, that’s your dream, it’s no one’s business. If you’re married, maybe you would share this with your spouse, but that’s it. The question however is about telling ‘other’ people indiscriminately about our dreams for the future.
Some people love to do that, right? All they can talk about is their plans and all the amazing stuff they are going to do in the future. This is bad habit! It annoys people and actually can make you look like a loser! The thing is, people take note! If you tell aunt Maggie that your going to write a book on Christmas’s Eve, the only time in the year you see her, she will remember what you said next time she sees you! The likelihood is that you have forgotten, but she remembers! Now, next Christmas she asks you how’s your book going and you tell her the exact same thing you told her the year before! Well, a year has passed and you actually have nothing to show for, all you have is your smack talk. You’re still taking about the book that you are going to write… some day… probably never. What people get from this is that you’re a loser that can’t do the things you say you’re going to do. If you tell people you are going to do something, you’d better have something to show for it next time you talk to them!
But that’s not the most important aspect of not telling people about your dreams, it’s just something you should think about! Don’t tell people constantly that you are going to do things that you haven’t even started yet and have no idea when it’s gonna happen. It makes you look really bad!
The most important aspect of it, however, is that most people are very judgemental and negative. Unless you live in a thriving environment and have the opportunity to mingle with successful and positive people, don’t talk about your plans… to anyone. There’s absolutely no reason to broadcast your plans other than to brag or just to have something to talk about when people ask about yourself. Don’t ever brag and as for talking about yourself, talk about the present (that’s really what people are asking about). There’s no need to bring up the future, people are not interested in the things you are thinking about doing, they are interested in the things you are doing right now. Also, beware of jealousy and judgement. Bold plans incite disbelief and mean comments (on your back). You don’t need that. People don’t need to be talking about you negatively, oh, those the crazy plans that you, poor loser, thinks that you can accomplish!
I actually got to this conclusion because my activity encourages people to tell me about what they think about the plans and dreams of others, and I’ll tell you: it’s nasty!
Most people share their ideas with others in an attempt to obtain approval and validation. That’s pathetic! Don’t do it, just don’t! Why not? Because nobody, I mean NOBODY, really knows if an idea is going to thrive or not, even highly successful and positive people sometimes get it wrong (and when they believe in you, they might steal your idea!).
There is no fix to the insecurity that you feel about the possible success (or failure) of your goals. No amount of people positively cheering you up will guarantee that what you’re thinking about is actually going to work out, so why search for validation? That’s what losers do! Losers don’t believe in themselves, so they look for external approval. If enough people validate them, they think they are right and their plans are sound, if people give them negative feedback, they believe their ideas are bad and are not going to work, so they abandon them.
The bolder your dreams, the more important it is that you keep it to yourself! Want to share it with people you think might help you out or join you? Fine, but no explaining to aunt Maggie, after 3 martinis, how your startup will revolutionize Silicon Valley! (hint: she’s not that interested!)