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 seem 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 circumstances than how we chose 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 thereafter, the more we are going to attract these negative vibes. Our actions will be perpetuated by our thoughts and feelings in a negatively reinforcing downward spiral.

To snap out of the vice-like grip of bad thoughts and negativity, we should find ways to extricate ourselves from the speeding train of negative emotions and outcomes.

Maybe missing that bus isn't so bad as it allowed you to speak to your neighbor and catch up with him. Being scolded by your colleagues may hurt, but it helped to surface a hidden problem that could snowball into a bigger issue downstream.

By focusing on the lighter side of things, you're able to generate affirmative actions. Doing so helps you to escape the trap of negative self-fulfilling prophecies which gets played out due to the collective negative outcomes of our destructive thoughts, feelings and actions.

Critical thoughts, if any, should then be directed towards helpful and purposeful actions that seek to address the specific negative event itself.

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 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. This behavior that is expressed toward an employee can in turn affect how the employee works in favor of the leader's expectations.

In conclusion, how we react and respond to the things that happen to us may affect not just our immediate term experiences (eg good or bad days) but our longer term destinies. To escape the tyranny of temporal frustrations, learn to see that these are just momentary occurrences. Learn to ride your emotional roller coaster such that you see each obstacle as a challenge rather than a 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.

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