Discover more from Aamer's Letters
Intention-Behavior Gap & How Shutting Up Might Lead You To Success
This just might be the reason behind you not being able to achieve what you set out to do. People often make this mistake.
Another day, another quote and another story.
A Story For You
“Work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.” - Frank Ocean
Ever so often, we are met with yet another life-changing quote that we offhandedly skim through, halfheartedly implement and belligerently disregard. While the aforementioned quote embodies a beautiful sentiment, its application is a little more complex than what meets the eye, even with the help of context. Regardless, we’re going to give it a go - there’s a story incoming.
The clichés of universities being the best time of one’s life always made me sick to the stomach. Over the years, I grew pensive about the fact that every teenager infatuated with the idea of an idealistic university experience, was in for the biggest disappointment of their life. Not because I wanted their time at the university to be dismal, but because their expectations seemed to surpass reality.
Having Zed Letter Day in university would’ve really helped solve this problem and save me some time. Subscribe now!
Even though I wouldn’t use the word ‘best’ to define my university experience, I would definitely give it the credit of being ‘unique’ and ‘worthwhile’. It was the first time I was leaving the nest; though I was booted up and ready to face any obstacle that life hurled at me, I didn’t know what to expect. I remember walking through the magnanimous gates of the institution, only to meet a sea of new faces, beaming with the same excitement I had.
The feeling of being a know-it-all seemed to fade away as the realization of being just another fish in the sea struck me. It was an odd moment - a moment of unlearning what I’ve known, and familiarizing myself with that very feeling, like a blank page desperately waiting for words to wisdom to be penned.
The first words, however, took a while to compose. The inaugural lesson I learnt wasn’t something I wanted to write down on the blank page that I envisaged myself to be. And that’s because one of the first things I noticed, and this was relatively alien to me, was my peers announcing everything about their lives. Their goals, their ambitions, their game plan and how they had everything drawn up, down to the T.
It was amusing and motivating but not something that could be taken away as a positive. ‘Maybe, that’s how extroverts behave,’ I thought to myself, so like any oblivious kid who wanted to be a part of a group and feel like a social animal, I joined in on the action. And thus, time was spent in endless conversations about reaching different levels of success without any decisive action being taken.
What was noise to the outside world, was music to our ears. Backed up by affirmation, encouragement and pointless nodding, we discussed ideas like we were going to change the landscape of the world the very next day. We scoffed at the billionaires of the world, judged them for their practices, found faults in their journeys like ours was perfect, and vowed to topple their dynasty if we were given the opportunity. It was fun. It was all really fun.
A few months later, nothing had changed. We were the same university students, talking about making it every single day but we couldn’t see any change. How could have we? Even after all those talks, our routines remained the same. Our goals got bigger verbally, without any visible result. We all were stuck in an infinite loop that couldn’t have been broken because there were no efforts put in place in order to so. But why were there no efforts?
That’s because talking about your goals in public doesn’t actually help! Let me break it down for you -
Researchers have described the difference between people’s plans and people’s actions as the ‘intention - behavior gap’. The gap is the difference between what we intend to do and what we actually do. Announcing your goals seems to widen that gap.
The gap widens because when you tell someone and they give you that positive response, you feel like you’re already on the path of your goal and that gives you a dopamine boost.
You cheat yourself. In a very physical sense, you reduce your drive to achieve that goal, and you do this chemically. - Peter M Vishton - (Professor of Psychology at William & Mary)
(Credits: Wondrium Daily)
The fog was starting to dissipate and I took a step back from engaging in meaningless conversations. Instead of the goal talk, I started journaling in my secret diary. The reduced influx of affirmations and positive reinforcement made me want to work harder. It made me want to work in the first place, which was a good way to begin this journey.
And I’m still on it. By no means have I accomplished what I set out to do but I’m getting there. There are days when I want to overshare with a social circle and let them know about my goals as they let me know about theirs but I’m pulled back by my diary. The urge to spill the beans is shadowed by the vision of letting my actions speak louder than my words.
At least, it’s better than going on and on about how Elon Musk should’ve handled Twitter or how Mark Zuckerberg did nothing by changing Facebook’s name to Meta or how Warren Buffett’s diet is crap.
A Story From You
We’ve all encountered this at least once before. Not being able to control the excitement of sharing your goals with others and then regretting the decision of ever talking about it out loud.
Share your experience with us! Let’s guide whoever’s not been through it.
Scribbling in my diary,