SHUSH — Another Inner Peace Symptom

SHUSH — Another Inner Peace Symptom

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  a disinclination to endlessly discuss your plans and dreams.  [Every time you talk about a dream, a little bit of the energy powering that dream leaks out.  It’s kind of like letting the air out of a filled balloon to make farting noises.  After a while all the gas is gone and the balloon won’t rise.]

‘Kay.  There you are with this HUGE idea…the Biggest of the Big.  It is definitely, absolutely, without a doubt, going to be a killer!

You just have to share, right?  After all, ideas don’t live in a vacuum.  They need to be watered and fertilized, cultivated and encouraged to grow until hey-ho they bloom!  All of that.

Who better to help you lift that bale and tote that bucket than your nearest and dearest friend or two or ten or, hey…why not hundreds or thousands?

“Big Day Out” by Eva Rinaldi via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]


So you pump yourself up and you spread the word.  You are gonna do this and you’re gonna do that and you’re gonna and gonna and gonna….buzzity, buzzity, buzz, buzz, buzz.   It’s all very exciting, that.

You get so into talking about that Dream that you really feel like your words are manifesting the thing out of the ethers.  You are the self-appointed Champion of the Dream.  Yup!  You’re keeping it alive.

“champ” by kurge via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]
That gush of words and words and words building the excitement up and up is bringing the Dream that much closer, right?  Ummm…not really.  “The Dream” actually becomes what one group of guys and gals in lab coats call an “identity symbol” in your brain.  Its function is to make your self-image seem real.

Since both actions and talk can create these symbols in your brain, talking satisfies the brain enough that it may “neglect the pursuit of further symbols” (like actually taking action), according to NYU psychology professor Peter Gollwitzer who has been studying this since his now out-of-print 1982 book, SYMBOLIC SELF-COMPLETION.

In a study published in Psychological Science magazine in 2009, the professor and his research team announced that they had figured out that if you tell your goal and the people you tell cheer and celebrate or applaud you as if you actually did something, then your brain will think that you already did it.

The acknowledgement becomes part of your “social reality,” and may actually provide your brain with enough satisfaction that you don’t feel you have to do anything else.

(Why would your brain want to bother with doing it for real?  It’s convinced that the thing is done already!  You’ve already won the prize.)

The researchers did find one interesting side effect of this phenomenon.   They say you actually are more likely to go forward with your goal or dream if the people around you ignore you when you tell them what you want to do.

Just because you’re a contrary human being (like the rest of us), when you are ignored, it becomes a part of your determination to “show” all those unappreciative, short-sighted ding-a-lings that you really are capable of doing what you say you want to do.


Check out this podcast published by the TEDTalks organization on YouTube featuring dream-building master Derek Sivers, author of ANYTHING YOU WANT:  40 Lessons For a New Kind of Entrepreneur.

In this short talk, he admonishes, “Keep your goals to yourself.

There may also be a number of practical and psychological arguments for keeping mum.

  • If you tell someone your goal, the resulting attention can then increase the pressure on you in a negative way. The pressure to perform is likely to raise your anxiety levels to new heights.

This may not be helpful when the goal requires that you remain calm and composed.  (You may not want an audience or a cheerleading section when you’re taking a driving test for the first time, for example.)

  • Sometimes, when you tell people your goals, they may tend to use the knowledge as a lens for judging your future actions. They see your actions and compare them to what you said were your goals.

This can work out well if you’ve agreed to accept their holding you “accountable” for your goals – if you ask them to support you and help keep you on track.  The thing is, it does depend on how skillful they are at doing that, and whether you are actually good at accepting guidance without balking.

But, if you are prone to resent being “pressured” into doing anything (even if you ask for this help) or if the other person is less than tactful in their approach, any “helpful” commentary might actually feel like an attack or “nagging” to you.

This might cause you to move in a different direction than the one that gets you to your goal.  Not good.

  • Sometimes your idea is just too fragile and new to bear the touch of other people’s minds. Sometimes your dream has to be protected from rough handling and premature dissection. It’s a newborn, after all.  You’re not supposed to play football with it.

A lot of very good ideas have died horrible deaths because other people couldn’t keep their mouths off it.    Often it’s better to wait until your vision has evolved and grown a bit before allowing other people to put in their two cents.

A bit of voluntary, self-induced deafness might also be in order at the beginning.

The Real is:  it’s all a dance and you will react to other people’s reactions.  Sometimes it feels like you’re the little ball zooming around in the pinball machine.

“Pinball Bumpers” by Tom Rolfe via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]


The next time you’re tempted to share your latest Big Dream, STOP.

“Shhh” by Sonny Abesamis via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Go think about how you can make your Big Dream become real.  Then go try a little something that moves the process forward.  Little step by little step by little step.

Ask questions.  Resolve the problems you encounter along the way and pick other people’s brains about solutions to try.

Think and do, do and think.  Ask for help with the how of it all from people who actually know something about it.

When you have made some substantial progress at learning the basics of a new skill or have made a good start at some life-change, or, better yet, when you have a sort-of-working prototype, that’s when you’ll have something.

Share that…but only in a way that doesn’t cause others to do a victory dance for you.  (You don’t want that brain of yours to get too complacent.)

Then go back to making your dream happen.

Yeah, it’s not so fun, but it does work better.

Here’s a poem:


I’ve heard these promises before, you know.

Oh, yeah…for real…that’s right.


Any day now,

Some day soon,

The sun’s gonna shine, shine, shine.


And I have waited for that dawning,

Waited for that glow that grows,



I’ll get right on it.

Yes, I’m gonna do it.

It’s a-comin’, yes it is.


But all my waiting with bated breath

Just got me blue in the face,

Anticipation turning to sour disappointment.

Gonna happen,

Yes, indeedy,

Soon now; really, really soon.


Braddah-man, lady-sistah,

Your mouth moving but not your hands.

Your feet not walking, you only got plans.


No can, li’ dis!


The cold wind’s blowing up past my ass,

And I already know the end of this story.

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Drifting Away” by Chris Chabot via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]



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Thanks for the visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts….


22 thoughts on “SHUSH — Another Inner Peace Symptom

  1. Your page is looking great. The thing that really caught my attention was that amazing first picture. It is beautiful.Your contents is written very nicely. Your page looks well put together, not a lot of tabs but it still looks great. You are doing a great job!Keep it up. I know you are going to be very successful.

    1. Hey Taya:

      Thanks for the visit and your kind words.  I do appreciate it.  Please do come again….

  2. Very intriguing. Information like this should be made available for everyone. So I learned that we need to stop telling people about our dreams. Thanks for this. I love things like this. I actually took note of some of the valuable info I got here.
    But what if you tell your dreams to people and you experience both being cheered and ignored at? What’s gonna happen? I am thrilled to know.
    Nice poem by the way.
    Have a nice day.

    1. Hey Joseph:

      For my own self, I’ve always found that if I tell folks my dream and some people cheer me on and other people ignore me, then I tend to hang onto the people who cheer…just ’cause.  By the time I’m sharing the dream, I’ve already made moves that are moving it down the road towards real.

      Telling it to folks then becomes like a test of sorts.  (You want to keep the people who cheer you on in your life.) 

      If you’re working seriously on your dream and tell it to people who ignore you, it doesn’t matter because you’re already into it anyhow and whether they ignore you or not, you are on your way.  If you’re just futzing around making air-bubbles, it doesn’t matter because you’re not really going to do it anyhow.

      Making dreams come real actually does come down to you — what you do, what you don’t do.  All the lab-coat blather about brain workings still doesn’t change that. 

      Just sayin’….

      Please do come again….

  3. Food for thoughts!  Wow this article is right on time for me!  I realized a couple of years ago how much our brain is so susceptible to our outside world, but it’s also very influenced by our inner thoughts and feelings.  

    I have been hesitating about sharing what my visions and goals are for the next year coming, and I hesitate because I don’t want to be looked at like a failure if something (like life itself) gets in the way and I don’t get to accomplish what I want to.

    Your article (and the video included) has explained really well why we should keep it to ourselves and trick the brain not to react to anything that would make it sound like it’s already achieved and lose interest and motivation in the process.

    So now, my goal is to talk about what I want to accomplish only once I have achieved it, which makes sense.  This way I do not compromise or sabotage my goal and I can advance at the pace that is suitable to me. 

    Shush!  I’m on my way to inner peace!

    1. Denis, your comment makes me smile.  Thanks for the visit.  I do appreciate it.

      Good fortune on your journey….

      Please do come again.

  4. Right, never speak about your dreams and plans. I have experienced the big mistake of telling people, now nobody knows anything about my plans.  Sometimes the enthusiasm for the things we are planning make us feel so happy and would like to be encourage and join friends for that, but the result, most of the time, is not what we expected. Thank you for remind us that important behavior 🤔

    1. Thanks for the visit, Maria.  It is a balance, I think.  Sharing your idea isn’t a bad thing.  It’s the only way you’ll get feedback from people who know things you don’t or can do things that you can’t, for example.  The thing is to avoid being so durned celebratory about getting the Big Idea.  All that celebrating kills momentum, I think.

      Please do come again.

  5. Hi; It make much sense to keep your dream to yourself and work carefully to making your dream come through. There are more than one negative impact that sharing your dream can caused.

    And after all, if you can’t secure your own dream who you think should secure it for you? Your dream should be handled as your high profile secret. While you be your own detective to work out the puzzle if any.


    1. Thanks for your visit, Dorcas.  

      I do understand what you’re saying.  It’s hard when the people around you dis your dream and make you feel small or make you feel stupid about even having that dream. 

      Working towards making it real is very much a personal endeavor.  However, I’ve found that there are many good people who are more than willing to help you once you’ve started walking towards your dream-thing and have a very clear idea about where you are going with it.

      By the time you get to that point, you’ll be way more grounded in the foundations you are building under that castle you’ve got floating around in the sky.  

      Good fortune in your journey….

      Please do come again.

  6. Rodarrick says:

    I just learnt a big life lesson that I am not sure I would forget anytime soon. Most times, we often give ourselves away due to the inability to keep shut over the things we engage in and how we share our dreams out. 

    Often, we share dreams with people who love the vision alongside our dreams and all they do is just to cheer us on without contributing the actions which makes the dream end up being just a dream and never achieved. 

    I truly fancy this a lot and I will surely try my best to ensure I stick to being silent until I have taken the needed actions towards making my goals realistic

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Rodarrick.  I’m glad the post was helpful to you.

      Please do come again.

  7. Christine says:

    This was a very interesting read, and I must agree with you:  Don’t always shout out your goals to everyone. 

    People may not be ready to hear it, may offer “well-meant” advice that crushes your dreams, or as you mentioned, they will cheer you on and applaud you, which is great, but the brain may assume that the task is already completed – I didn’t know that last part. It is fascinating how the brain works!

    I tend to keep most of my goals to myself, especially the really special ones, the ones that mean a lot to me. 

    I have always felt like I was “jinxing” it by revealing my goals and dreams too soon. 

    I like what you wrote about that: “your idea is just too fragile and new to bear the touch of other people’s minds” . That is so true, isn’t it? 

    Great post!

    1. Christine, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  

      I, too, have had the sneaking suspicion that revealing my goals and dreams too soon is likely to “jinx” the things.  Isn’t it funny how there are often concrete and practical (and even scientific) reasons for hoary old concepts that we “sophisticated” moderns dismiss as “old wives’ tales”?  

      Maybe those old wives were pretty smart cookies, I say….

      Please do come again.

  8. It’s like a recent story I read about a certain south African guy who wanted to become a rugby player and was chosen as the captain in his college. He told his teammates that he is getting a chance at a bigger level and days before he is going to get a trial, his teammates poured acid on him. 

    It’s quite sad but the truth is that not everyone around us actually wants the best for us so we should learn to keep our plans to ourselves.

    1. Suz, thanks for your visit and for sharing your story.  You are right.  It’s always such a disappointment when the people you thought were your friends cannot share your happiness and try to bring you down.  Jealousy and envy are also human reactions to other people’s good fortune.  Sad, but so….

      Please do come again.  

  9. Groomy Dude says:


    I find myself noticing that I am noticing what you are noticing. I do lead a busy life. Working full time, teaching classes two nights a week, building a business online, tending to the animals, and trying to keep up with the normal chores around the house hoping to have enough time to be present for my family of five.

    Every once in a while, I will take a moment to stop and think of what it is that drives me to do all of these things. I like what I do for a living but would not be hurt if I didn’t have to make the commute to shed the sweat from my brow to earn a couple dollars. The sense of pride I am rewarded with from helping others and teaching classes to improve others well-being is great but takes me from home.

    I wrote an article not too long ago about all of the business that one goes through to have the ability to enjoy what makes them truly happy for about 10 minutes of the day. That is my motivation. Hope that some day I will have set things up to where that 10 minutes is the majority of my day. IPS must not go unnoticed!

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your words. It gave me a moment in the middle of my busy day to take notice of what makes me happy and remind me to tell the ones I love how much they mean to me. 

    Very uplifting! I have never met you or Fred but I am envious of the time you guys shared and I feel his presence in every word you write. 

    I want you to think of this a little in hopes to inspire some more of your fantastic work and be a part of spreading life around the world.

    Is it possible the air you let out of a balloon that makes that funny little sound could be the energy released to move the air just enough to alter the atmosphere in a way it starts a warm summer rain storm in the middle of a drought and provides enough water to germinate a seed to grow into a mighty tree for the offspring of my grandson to hug!?

    Back to the grind! 

    Thank you!

    1. Groomy Dude, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts and your story.  It made me laugh at loud to imagine that the balloon-farts we release actually affect climate changes.  OOOH!  New mission!  Hee!

      Thank you for all of your kind words.  I do like your goal of spending most of the day enjoying what makes you happy.  A worthy ‘un, I say!

      Please do come again.

  10. Hi Netta,

    Love your work.

    I struggle with that whole deal as well. Having a dream and plugging away at it piece by piece, like a jigsaw puzzle. Step by step like the journey of a thousand miles.

    I actually felt some resistance to using the comments platform previously but I gave myself a goal yesterday of completing 10 comments in 24 hours and now I’m almost there. I’m glad it has finished here. I definitely feel validated in my resisting telling others of my dreams and at the same time inching towards my goals. Doing whatever it takes to get there.

    Commenting on 10 posts in 24 hours is an interesting journey and one I think I’ll take again. It certainly gives you a great overview of the wealth of ideas and expression that is out there and that people are sharing.

    Another thing I struggle with is when others close to you have ideas about what you should do and you feel you need to honour those ideas as well as working towards your own. 

    Thanks for this wonderful reminder of what is important. I feel lucky.


    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your story, Andrew.  I do appreciate it.  

      Good on ya for trying a thing you’ve been resisting and finding out that it does hold gifts for you that are worth exploring.  

      As for the one where you feel obliged to honor other people’s ideas for you, I do want to point out that you do have to claim your right to be the final arbiter of the choices you make in your life.  As much as you love and respect these other people, it is wise for you to keep in mind that you’re the only one who will be able to tell you whether some idea or other is worth the effort you invest in it.

      Please do come again.

  11. Thank you for another thought provoking article Netta!

    For a dream to have any chance of being a reality it must be let out. Perhaps it will die a quick death but at least then we would know.

    Some dreams, though, are only dreams and never meant to be reality. The ones with ambition though must be loosed upon the masses for better or worse.

    Please tell me who inspired you and keep up the interesting writing!

    1. It is always a conundrum, that.  The care and feeding of dreams is a balancing act, it seems to me.  Aiming for mastery and excellence requires paying close attention to our dance.  

      Every creative plan requires an incubation period and, then, at some point, the ideas do have to be let out to play and get tested in the world or they die stillborn.  A premature release can be just as deadly to a dream as hanging fire, dithering about the details.   And, for real, fast-and-dirty does have the benefit of just being out there and done.

      My own feeling, however, is that cluttering up the landscape with half-baked somethings is particularly uninspiring and disheartening when you step back and tell yourself, “I did THIS!”   It is, at the end of the day, little more than a matter of taste and style.

      I think that as creative sorts we tend to develop our own rhythms that allow us to keep on doing whatever it is we do that adds meaning to our lives.  Paying attention to the rhythms of your own dance helps in building a body of work that sparkles up the world some, it seems to me.

      It’s all in aid of creating beauty for yourself and for the people around you, I say.  And that can be a very good thing.

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