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Our Social Reality, and how it’s Holding us Back

Social Reality

At some point in our lives, we’ve all been interested in something new. For some it may be playing the guitar, and for others it may be cooking. We got so determined on doing this, so motivated, that we told everyone about it. It made sense to do this – by telling others, we would “commit” ourselves to accomplishing our goal; we would have others to keep on our backs so we get the job done, a sort of social accountability.

It seems like perfectly sound logic, but the actual truth may come as a surprise. 

Believe it or not, telling others about your new-found goals is not the best of ideas. By doing so it becomes part of your social reality.

You’re probably wondering: what is “social reality”?

I’ll explain it through comparing it to “virtual reality”, something we’re more familiar with. In a virtual reality, the user is immersed in an environment. For example: you sit down on a chair and close your eyes as a machine is attached to your brain. When you open your eyes, you wake up in the middle of a field.


A beautiful image from the animated film: 5 centimeters per second

You feel the gentle summer’s breeze, and watch as it sways the long grass. You feel the brushing of the soft grass against your bare feet and the pleasant warmth of the sun at your back. You look up at the light blue sky, painted with majestic clouds. You raise an arm out towards the sky, as if you were trying to grasp at the beauty of it all. Then… you fly – you are Superman! In a virtual reality you can be anything; your senses are fully stimulated and you feel like its real – except in reality it’s not.

You’re probably thinking: how could a social reality relate to this? Am I saying that by speaking and conversing with others, we can create an alternate reality? – Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying!

When we talk about our goals, it makes us feel like we’re farther along than we are in reality. If you talk about something you want to start, your brain will feel as if you’ve already started – making it that much harder to actually get to work.

Rest assured, this doesn’t mean you can never tell people about your goals and aspirations. What this really means is you should wait until you’ve made steps towards your goal. This is more than just opening a book or playing a few notes on an instrument. You have to have incorporated the goal into your identity – this is done by making it a part of your daily routine. This means that every day, after lunch, you practice a little guitar or speak a little Japanese. Once this starts to feel like a natural part of your day, it becomes a part of your identity and you can freely tell others about it.

Of course, we’re all different. Maybe this isn’t right for you – however, it’s sure worth a try. Personally, I’ve told nobody I know about this blog, so let’s see how that works out.

I’m curious as to what you think – listening to the opinions of others helps me develop more robust opinions myself. What do you think about our “social reality” holding us back from success?