Are you your own worst enemy? Sometimes we bring about negative results into our lives without meaning to. One way that we do that is through self-fulfilling prophecies. So if you want to put an end to this, tune in to this week’s episode of The Women in Medicine Badass Radio.
Hello all my WIMBAs. Welcome to the show. Today we are talking about self-fulfilling prophecies and if you’re not familiar with the term or what it means, listen up.
So what is a self-fulfilling prophecy? It’s an expectation that shapes your actions. There are two ways this can work. You can have a belief that leads you to do certain things and turn that belief into reality. We see this all the time. This is why we set goals. We have something we want to accomplish, we expect certain results when we take an action, and voila – we’ve succeeded.
This can also work against you if your belief is a negative one. So think about a situation where you had self-doubt. You might want to accomplish something, but you don’t believe it is possible either because of your circumstances or because of your lack of ability. So you hold yourself back.
As Brian Tracy said, “Whatever we expect with confidence becomes our own self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Now something super interesting happens called confirmation bias. This is where we subconsciously look to prove ourselves right. What this translates into is the phenomenon whereby if you have a negative belief, you don’t take action or you take insufficient action and essentially sabotage yourself to prove your belief true. Crazy, right? Well, we do it all the time. So if you know that’s you and you want to break the cycle, you’re in the right place.
I mentioned there are two types of self-fulfilling prophecies. The first we said is when your actions are shaped by your expectations. The second type is when your actions are shaped by other people’s expectations. So think about a situation where someone doubted you and how their doubt seeped into your brain and led you to hold yourself back? It could have been a teacher or a friend, a boss or a colleague. And, of course, it can also happen in the reverse where because someone had a positive expectation of you, you exceeded your own expectations of yourself because your actions aligned with their expectation.
Some tricky mindset stuff here.
By the way, when other people’s expectations or actions influence how you behave, that is known as the Pygmalion effect.
Here’s a classic example of that. Roger Banister was a runner. During his time, people believed that you couldn’t run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Doctors ran tests and said four minutes is the limit of our human ability. It is no surprise, then, that runners always ran above the 4 minute mark.
That’s when Banister came in. He thought this was nonsense and was determined to prove doctors wrong. He practiced and got his time down from 4 min 12 seconds to 4 min 2 seconds.
Fast forward to the 1952 Olympics, Roger was determined to break the record. People said it couldn’t be done. And then, he ran the mile in 3 minutes and 59 seconds. Amazing, right? Well, that’s not the most amazing part yet.
By demonstrating that it was possible, he broke through the mental barrier that runners had held onto and it didn’t take long for others to follow suit. Just 6 weeks later, someone else ran it in 3 minutes 58 seconds. In total, in 1952 there were 37 runners who ran a mile in under 4 minutes. The following year, another 500 runners did the same. Since that time so many people have done it that we’ve lost count of how many times it’s been done.
What this shows is that what you focus on grows. Or as they say, “Where the mind goes, energy flows.” That’s why it’s so important that you watch your language. Instead of saying or focusing on what you don’t want, you need to focus on what you do want.
That’s why worrying or anxiety is considered a form of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here’s a quote from Robert Anthony on this. He says:
“The problem with worry is that we attract the very thing we are trying to avoid. We live a self-fulfilling prophecy. Life keeps its agreement with us through our beliefs, because whatever we think about, we bring about. Life is like a mirror. It reflects back whatever image we present to it.”
To add to this, Lawrence Reed says this about pessimism:
“Pessimism is not only unwarranted, it is also a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think the cause is lost, it will be. No one works hard for a cause they think will lose.”
But as mentioned, you can use the brain’s tendency to confirm its own biases to your advantage. Mark Victor Hansen, founder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series says:
“The law of self-fulfilling prophecy says that you get what you expect. So why not create great expectations and the highest vision possible of yourself and your world?”
Here’s an example. Jodi Picoult is a famous novelist. She said:
“My first job was as an assistant in the local library. Self fulfilling prophecy?”
And another author, Stephen Covey, said:
“In our own lives, having a mind-set of expecting to win increases our odds of winning. It helps us get better results. And better results help us increase our credibility and self-confidence, which leads to more positive self-expectancy, and more winning – and the upward cycle continues. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
The idea is that you have to identify what beliefs you hold about yourself that are holding you back and actively work to prove yourself wrong, not the other way around.
So how can you do this?
One of the best ways I know how to shape your unconscious beliefs is through brain priming. This is where you intentionally rehearse what you want your brain to believe even when you don’t believe it yet. With practice, this will become your reality.
To find out more about how you can prime your brain, download my free ebook, How to Train Your Brain for Success in 5 steps by going to bit.ly/trainyourbrainforsuccess
Here’s an example from the research to show you this works. Researchers took a group into a flight simulator. They measured their eyesight before and after the experiment. For the experimental group, they dressed them up as pilots for the study. And what do you know, 40 percent of these subjects had an improvement in their eyesight because they associated fighter pilots with people who can see well.
So your environment is a big factor in how you think about yourself. But since you may want these results in a short amount of time and you may not have access to a study like this, I recommend brainwashing yourself to believe what you want to believe.
You see, change is hard, especially when you believe it’s not possible. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. So if you’re ready to transform your life by reprogramming your subconscious, become a PRIMEr by going to www.thepriminglab.com
It’s my membership site where we prime one area of your life at a time. You get educational content via video, weekly group coaching with me, and of course, accountability.
So enroll today and I’ll see you on the inside where we get to create your life on purpose.