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Avoid Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Avoid Self-Fulfilling Prophecies
(Photo: benleto)


What you fear you create. – Dr. Phil

If you react negatively to your stereotyped intuitions, the situation will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you react positively, you have 53% probability that the outcome is more positive than you expected.

The challenge – When you dislike somebody or fear a situation, your response to these feelings can lead to a confirmation of your initial hypotheses. So you will end up being right about disliking that person or  fearing that situation.

The solution – Take positive personal action to stir the situation in the desired direction (many times you will get close to your goal)

Example 1: Being social at work?

You got a new job and are getting to know your colleagues. To achieve this, you see the lunch break as an opportunity to socialize and who knows, maybe to have a good time by talking of some non-work-related stuff. As it turns out, your new buddies are not so talkative and when they open their mouth is either to eat or talk about the last work meeting. Great. What would you do?

Negative action: Why should I waste my energy pushing a conversation with this grey people? I’d rather be doing other things, having lunch on my own, or not having lunch at all.

Positive action: I will try to move the conversation to funny topics or more personal stuff, hoping to skip work conversations. Maybe they will open up or become less stiff.

Should you chose the negative path, probably in 2-3 months you will see your colleagues … well, quite grey and boring. Man you were right, you are a future teller. Should you chose act positively, those that were grey by nature will stay grey, but hey … you might find some gems in the shit, some colleagues turn out to be talkative, even funny, they even make dirty jokes!! You saved your lunchtime.

Example 2: If you sense you are at danger, attack first.

This one is dead dimple. A paranoid believes that he is going to be attacked, and as defense mechanism, opts for attacking first. The attacked one, as a consequence, attacks back the paranoid. Yes, Mr. Paranoid was right, he ends up being attacked. Here, it is obvious what to do.

Example 3: The jealous man

You think your girlfriend might abandon you one day, well, shit happens, right? Why couldn’t it happen to you? You are not so special, there are tons or more muscular, handsome, large-dick-sized guys, why should she stick to you?

Negative action. A sensible move is to watch her, check constantly what she is up to or with who she talks. Who is that new guy that you added in Facebook? Two more years of the same and she dumps you. Wohoo, you were right.

Positive action. She has her own life and own things, let her be, if you are not meant to be together you will find out, but you won’t push her out of your relationship. Love is fragile, the less effort you put in braking it, the more chances you have it will last.


Take-home Message

What do these situations have in common? Fear. Fear to the unknown, fear to a negative outcome, fear to giving without knowing if you will be reciprocated. As it occurs in many cases, we oversize our fears while if we think rationally they are not a big deal. Think rationally, challenge your fears and assumptions, you will regain control of the situation.


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