If we eat too much at home, the public eventually will notice that our stomach sticks out like a balloon wrapped in clothes. If we drink too much in private our nose gradually turns red and becomes a warning beacon for others.
On the other hand, if we make an effort and eat and drink less in private, the public will sooner or later notice how slim and healthy we look.
Even Superman and Spiderman and the Scarlet Pimpernel cannot keep their heroic deeds entirely secret. After a while, their lover or wife and a few friends discover who they are. They sooner or later end up with a small but devoted group of fans.
Michael Angier writes in one of his perceptive articles:
"Public victories are always preceded by private diligence. By doing the things that build character we build and strengthen our self-esteem, our confidence and success."
If we practice hard in private for a martial art grading we shine in public when the day of the grading arrives. If we don't practice we fail in public or at best muddle through. We all need to do our homework.
Doing our homework usually involves keeping our promises to ourselves such as practicing ten kicks or whatever a day. If we don't keep these promises to ourselves we will lose a little self-confidence each time we fail and gradually hand over control of our lives to the lazy, comfort loving side of our natures.
The great achiever inside all of us will no longer rule. The couch potato will become king or queen.
It is much easier to keep our promises to other people since if we fail to do so, the public will soon hear about it and we will be embarrassed or even sued almost immediately.
It is more difficult to keep our promises to ourselves because the embarrassment of failure to do so takes much longer to arrive.
On the other hand if we do keep our promises to ourselves, the results can show up almost immediately. We look and feel much more cheerful and confident for a start.
What we do in secret, good or bad, shows up in some form or another eventually.
This truth is obvious but it is often forgotten. It can provide a powerful source of motivation in our search for success.