The self-fulfilling prophecy: road to success or failure?

It’s all in your head.

Wishing won’t make it come true.

What makes you such a big deal?

There’s an almost endless litany of messages that pound away at us, and many of them, unfortunately, are horrendously counterproductive.

Are your thoughts propelling you to success?  Or do they continually sabotage your best intentions?  Self-fulfilling prophecies can work either way; it all depends on whether you create empowering or disempowering ones.  If you suspect your prophecies are working against you, let’s start changing the way you think and act, so you can, in turn, change the results you get.

Pygmalion was a sculptor in Greek mythology who fell in love with his carving of a beautiful woman.  (Okay, so he had some issues.)  He was so pathetic that the goddess Aphrodite changed the statue into a living woman for him. This led to the term “Pygmalion effect”, also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Does your self-fulfilling prophecy result in you hitting every light red or every light green?

We tend to see what we look for and experience what we expect to.  For most of us, this means we notice all the red lights and none of the green, thus “proving” that “the light always changes to red when I’m in a hurry”.  Does that mean the light truly is always red?  Absolutely not.  It simply means that we expect to get stopped by red lights, and therefore we notice when we are.  Conversely, we tend to ignore all the lights that remain green as we approach an intersection.

What results do you get from YOUR self-fulfilling prophecy?

Norman Cousins once said, “Expectation rules outcome.”  While this might result in short-term annoyance, such as getting stuck at a red light, it can also have lethal consequences–literally.  Karl Wallenda, the patriarch of the world-famous aerialist troupe The Flying Wallendas, fell to his death in 1978 at the age of 73 while crossing a high wire without a net.  Was it his age? His condition? The wind?  According to one account, when his wife was asked this question, she simply replied, “No. He thought about falling, and he did.”

If you choose to expect positive outcomes from your actions, you’ll enjoy increased creativity and energy, decreased stress, and–very often–those positive outcomes you’re looking for.  On the other hand, choosing to look on the dark side and expect your efforts to fail decreases your willingness to take risks, increases your stress, and–very often–creates the very negative outcomes you feared.

Which route do you choose to take?

Please share some of your experiences with getting what you look for; you know that stories make the best teachers!

This entry was posted in choice, focus, mindset, results, success factors and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The self-fulfilling prophecy: road to success or failure?

  1. Pingback: Are you focused on what you want or what you fear? | Stepping Into Big

  2. Pingback: Expectations create outcomes. What do YOU expect from your business? | Stepping Into Big

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