The term ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ was introduced for the first time by sociologist Robert Merton in 1968. The philosophy behind the power of self-fulfilling prophecy in your life is that your positive or negative beliefs about a situation make you take on a different attitude and act in a different way than someone who is in the same situation but does not have the same beliefs.
When is conceived, a self-fulfilling prophecy is a wrong description of the situation, because it does not reflect the apparent outcome. However, that misconception will provoke new behaviours that make that initial positive belief come true.
Positive and negative self-fulfilling prophecies
Self-fulfilling prophecies could be either positive or negative. It depends on your beliefs, if you have confidence in your abilities and believe that you’ll succeed, it will happen so. But if you don’t trust yourself and think that you’re a loser, that will happen too. It’s all up to you.
If you think that you can or you think that you can’t, you’re right. Henry Ford
I used to be very skeptical of these kind of self-motivation sayings. How am I supposed to believe that I can do something when I really don’t believe I am capable of doing that? Then I stumbled upon a Thomas Edison’s quote and when started to reflect on it, I had to admit he might be right. Maybe I am capable of doing much more than I imagine. If other people thought that was possible, why shouldn’t I believe too?
If we did all of the things that we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. Thomas Edison
The power of self-fulfilling prophecy
Reflecting more and more on this, I realized that my old negative beliefs about my abilities were not actually evidence based. They were just beliefs. And these beliefs used to come true almost anytime when I had to face some challenges. Rarely happened to be surprised by the contrary. Many times I didn’t even try to do something new, thinking that I will fail.
Then on day I said stop to all my negative thinking and dared to dream. BIG. I remember reading the book of Ben Carson by that time Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence and got inspired by it. There is one paragraph that really touched my heart:
“It does not matter where we come from or what we look like. If we recognize our abilities, are willing to learn and to use what we know in helping others, we will always have a place in the world.” Ben Carson
But dreaming big is just the beginning of the journey. Soon I realized that big dreams need a lot of effort and time. Sustained effort, not now and then. Everybody knows that the amount of effort put into achieving a goal reflects the value we place on that goal. Low efforts for little important goals and vice versa.
What about you? Have you ever experienced a self-fulfilling prophecy?