Have you ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecy? It’s a term used in psychology that describes how a person’s attitude can directly influence the result of any given situation. It’s not rocket science. Your actions and behaviors will follow whatever track you set them on. If your point of view is positive, you intuitively will do what it takes to ensure a positive result. The same is true if your thinking is negative.
It’s what is more commonly known as the “placebo effect.” For example, in medicinal trials, a patient is told they are receiving treatment for an ailment, when in fact they are receiving none. Sugar pills versus actual medications. But the person believes enough in the treatment that they begin to feel better. They have convinced themselves to believe something is true, therefore it is.
Another example might be, two people are headed into work one day, and they know it’s going to be a tough shift. One of them says to themselves, “I know today is going to be tough, so I’m just going to take things as they come and do my best with each situation that arises. I’m ready!” The other person says, “I hate this job, I hate my life, I hate the people I work with, and I can’t wait till the end of the day already.” Although the former sounds a bit humorous, it does not take much to realize that the person dreading their day is probably setting themselves up for failure before the day even begins. Meanwhile, the one who’s acknowledging the upcoming challenge, and preparing themselves for it, is more than likely going to fare better by the end of the shift.
This example lends itself to another quick point of interest. If you are in a line of work where you encounter people of all walks of life, and most of them are in a bad mood when you encounter them. That can weigh heavily on your psyche, most definitely. But keep in mind, you are only responsible for your thoughts and actions, and not the actions of others. In the words of the great Maya Angelou, “Don’t allow someone to bring you into their storm. Bring them into your peace.” That being said, if you absolutely must have a conversation with a person like this, stay calm, breathe, remain professional, speak clearly with short answers, if possible, exit the conversation as quickly as possible, then take a break for a little while to collect your thoughts and regroup. I also like to quote a friend of mine, who used to say, “just remember…they can’t eat you.”
I would like to mention that there is also a sociological aspect of self-fulfilling prophecy which is that if a person, or group of people believe there is, or is not, hope for their respective situations to get better, or worse, then the result will be whatever perception the individual person, or group, already has.
“WHAT HAPPENED? I BLACKED OUT…” Frank the Tank (Old School)
In other words, if a person comes from a rich neighborhood, and is surrounded by successful people with financial stability, more than likely they will follow the example which led them there and continue to do well. But if a person comes from a poor neighborhood, and is surrounded by struggling people under financial strain, they too are vulnerable to following the path which led them there.
But…neither person is guaranteed the outcome of their surroundings. This is why choice, a positive attitude, and hope are so powerful. If a person is born into poverty, and is surrounded by crime, the odds are not in their favor, sure, but there’s always a chance to improve their circumstance, if that person chooses to do so. There’s always a chance.
Conversely, the same is true for the person who grew up in affluence. One bad choice could lead someone from stability and security, to being left with nothing physically and emotionally.
So where do you stand in all of this? Do you see yourself failing and dreading every minute of the day, or do you challenge yourself to make the most of every moment? Are you someone who expects for everything in their life to fall apart at any minute, or are you someone looking to build on what you have and make things better for yourself and others?
In the end, it’s all about choice. And, according to the fields of psychology and sociology, the odds are pretty good that you will follow through with that choice and make it reality. Good or bad.
I challenge you to challenge yourself. Choose the positive. To do better for yourself, and then try and help someone else along the way. Trust me, if you do that, you’ll feel that much better and maybe start believing in yourself and the world around you.
Good luck, y’all!