To Achieve Your Goals, Keep Them A Secret?

I have a personal fascination with incentives, motivation, procrastination and how we get ourselves to the difficult things we dream about it the long-term and dread in the short-term. It's a theme I've blogged about often, and I thought I had a good handle on what psychology has to say about these topics. But this TED talk from Derek Sivers surprised me. His contention? Science says that if you want to achieve a goal, keep it a secret.

If you are skeptical, you're not alone. The NY Times Freakonomics blog has a long post by Ian Ayres dedicated to refuting Sivers's assertion, and arguing that "this talk is reckless and at times just plain wrong." Ayres contends Sivers has misrepresented the scientific evidence and that "there are many discrepancies between Sivers's description and the published description of experiments." Have a look at the three minute-video TED talk and Ayres post and decide for yourself -- when it comes to goals, is it better to tell or not to tell?

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user o5com, CC 2.0)