Self-Fulfilling Expectations

Do you know what a self-fulfilling prophecy is? Most people know that a self-fulfilling prophecy is an event that, because it is predicted and expected, is therefore more likely to happen, and even caused to happen.

For example, according to Success magazine, two different groups of psychologists were once asked to observe the same child playing. One group was told beforehand that the child was emotionally disturbed. The other group was told that the child was a genius. When the psychologists were asked to report on their observations afterward, each group had found evidence to support their preconceived ideas.

Now, it’s important to realize that self-fulfilling prophecies are everyday experiences – not just laboratory experiments. What do you expect your day to be like when you get up in the morning? How do you expect your kids to behave? How much success do you expect for yourself? What do you expect for your organization’s production or sales for this month, this year?

You see, if you predict failure, failure is generally what you will find. And if you expect excellence, excellence is very likely what you will get. How we think about a situation determines how we act, and how we act, more than anything else, determines the results.

That is how self-fulfilling prophecies work. There’s nothing magical about them. What you get in life is pretty much how you behave, coming back at you. Does that make sense to you? Do yourself a favor this weekend, and see if you recognize areas where you are setting yourself up because of your expectations. If you are setting yourself up for the good, terrific! If not, what can you do to change those internal expectations, and change your life, your work, your business?

And with school about to start again (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), how can you help the school-age children in your life set themselves up to expect the best, and work toward it?