The Potential in the Placebo

black and brown eyeglasses on book on brown wooden table

A placebo, sometimes called a sugar pill, is a substance sometimes given to people who are sick, in pharmaceutical research studies, to compare against the “real” or test medication. It has no medicinal qualities at all, but quite often people who are given placebos get better anyway. This is powerful testimony to the strength of beliefs and expectations.

People can be healed of illnesses because they strongly believe they are being healed. It is not just in medicine that the power of expectations is apparent. School children perform up to the expectations of their parents and teachers, or down to them. Employees perform up to the expectations of their employers, and leadership performs according to the expectations of their organizational values.

Most important of all, you perform up or down to what you expect of yourself. As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t.” It is that simple. Beliefs are that powerful. Fortunately, as adults, we have the ability to choose our beliefs and to reject the ones that stand in our way or ones that restrict our performance.

What do you believe to be true about yourself? Try making a list of those beliefs you have about you, and mark the ones that are holding you back. For the ones you determine are holding you back, why keep them if they don’t do you any good? You have the right, indeed, the personal responsibility to get rid of beliefs that no longer serve you in a positive way. Replace them with positive, helpful beliefs that allow you to move forward.

There can be exciting potential in that little sugar pill. When you delete what’s not working for you, you will be happier. Replacing what’s not working for beliefs that do work, and you will be a lot happier. The good news is it will positively affect those around you. Think of it as your own, personal, positive ripple effect on your world.