The Power of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

June 27th, 2014   •   no comments   

The Power of Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
Courtesy of Fearless Men

You woke up late. As you rushed to get ready for breakfast, you stubbed your toe against a table.

“Ouch! #%*@&!”

One thing seemed to lead to another. As your mood darkens to 50 shades of black, you end up burning your toast, missing your bus, and pissing off your colleagues.

And it isn’t even 10 am in the morning!

While we’ve all had our good and bad days, the problem often lies less in our seemingly adverse circumstances than in how we choose to respond to them.

The way to get rid of that nagging feeling? Stop nagging and start breaking that chain of negativity as soon as possible!

The more we choose to respond negatively – and to complain about everything under the Sun – the more we are going to attract these negative vibes. Our angry actions will be perpetuated further by our thoughts and feelings in a negatively reinforcing downward spiral.

Focus on the positive

To snap out of the vice-like grip of bad thoughts and negativity, you need to do a couple of things to extricate yourself from that speeding train wreck of negative emotions and outcomes:

  1. Identify that precise trigger when things seemingly turned sour.
  2. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly a couple of times.
  3. Isolate that incident and “cancel” its effects in your mind.
  4. Increase the likelihood of positive outcomes by diminishing it’s impact and magnifying joy.

Maybe missing that bus isn’t so bad. Hey, it allowed you to chat with your neighbor and catch up with him or her.

Being scolded by your boss may hurt quite a bit. However, it helped to surface a hidden problem that could snowball into a bigger issue downstream.

By reducing the negative impact of an event and focusing on positive outcomes (hey it’s better to stand on the bus as it helps burns calories), you’re able to generate affirmative actions. Doing so helps you to escape negative self-fulfilling prophecies. It also prevents destructive thoughts, feelings and actions from snowballing. The energy behind critical thoughts would then be re-directed towards helpful and purposeful actions that seek to address the specific negative event itself.

The power of positive labeling

Studies have shown that self fulfilling prophecies can be extremely powerful over the long-term.

In an experiment conducted in the 1960s in a San Francisco elementary school by Rosenthal and Jacobson, students who were randomly labelled as “spurters” did better, even when they were just average in intellectual capacity. These virtuous cues were further reinforced by the provision of better teaching aids, motivation and guidance from their teachers, who were unaware that these so-called high performers were randomly chosen.

Also known as the Pygmalion effect, the power of positive labeling can also be seen in the workplace.

If you label employees as “high potentials” or “hi po” individuals, they would do better and benefit from better attention and training. Their managers would also tend to provide them with more guidance relative to other “average” subordinates.

What happens here is that a leader’s expectations of the employee may alter his or her behaviour towards the staff. The behavior that is expressed toward an employee may in turn influence how the employee works in favour of the leader’s expectations.

It’s not what happens to you…

In conclusion, how we react and respond to the things that happen to us may affect not just our immediate circumstances (eg good or bad days) but our longer term destinies.

As the age old saying goes…

“It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters” – Epictetus

To escape the tyranny of temporal frustrations, learn to see that what you have encountered are merely momentary occurrences.

Learn to ride your emotional roller coaster. View each obstacle as a challenge – a way to level up in this game called life rather than an insurmountable difficulty.

By seeing that our glass is half full, we are more likely to take steps to fill it to the brim – maybe even to the point of overflowing. Over the long-term, this positive mindset helps us to pick ourselves up quickly whenever we fall, dust ourselves off, and continue along the path to victory and success.

It's Not What Happens to You

Courtesy of izquotes

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