Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Accountability

People talk a lot about accountability when it comes to goals and dreams. Their goals and dreams, and especially the goals and dreams of others.

Far too often, I’ve heard and read about people being urged to make their goals public — yes, there are any number of forums and web sites that let you do this. The ideas is that if you make your goal known to a wider circle, you’ll become accountable. You’ll be encouraged and pushed, maybe even pressured and shamed, into reaching those goals.

Or not …

When it comes to your goals and your dreams there’s only one person to whom you’re accountable: yourself.

No matter what you may hear or may be told, most people don’t care about you and your goals and your dreams. They’re not as personally invested in them as you are. You’ll get some token cheering and perhaps some prodding from the sidelines, but that’s about it. Make no mistake, though: that cheering and prodding won’t help you on the path you’ve chosen. Plus, you’ll get more than your fair share of detractors and negativity. It all adds up to little or nothing that will help you achieve what you want to achieve.

And heaven help you if you fail to reach your goal or make your dream come true …

I’ll share an example from my life. In early 2010, my wife and I committed to moving overseas. At the time, we didn’t tell anyone. Not even family or close friends. In fact, we didn’t let the cat out of the bag until about eight months before the move when we put our house up for sale and started getting rid of the majority of our worldly possessions.

My wife and I knew that some people would be happy for us, but that others would question it. The success or failure of that move would be up to us and our planning, not to the cheers and jeers from the sidelines.

We achieved that goal. Luckily, it’s worked out so far.

As I pointed out a few paragraphs ago, many people (regardless of what they say) aren’t as invested in what you’re doing as you are. They may not even understand your motivations, as my parents and some people on the fringes of my acquaintances didn’t when I told them about moving abroad.

You’re accountable to yourself. And only to yourself. Your success or failure is your own concern and on your shoulders. If you succeed, that’s great. If not, then it’s up to you to learn from what happened, dust yourself off, and then try again. Not the crowd. Not the faceless hordes on a website or message board. Just you.

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