How many times have you believed the worst in people or a situation, long before you know enough to make an educated decision? I am guilty.. guilty.. guilty! We often develop preconceived notions about people and their intentions. We can use the theory of self-fulfilling prophecies to our advantage but often they are detrimental to us.
Self-fulfilling prophecies are known as the Pygmalion effect. Paul Watzlawick, an Austrian born psychologist and philosopher said, “A self-fulfilling prophecy is an assumption or prediction that, purely as a result of having been made, cause the expected or predicted event to occur and thus confirms its own ‘accuracy.'” It is the theory that we can sabotage or improve a situation by either negative or positive thoughts about it.
I wish I could be a perpetual optimist but unfortunately my life experiences have taught me otherwise. I hate being pessimistic, but it can be devastating to be let down. I have had people who I put faith in, hurt me and shatter my confidence in others. In reality I know I have (often unintentionally) done the same. I always expect patience and understand for myself, when I am not always willing to give it freely to someone else.
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
~General Colin Powell
I challenge you to be more optimistic about the world around you. Our children are taught by example. We can’t steal the hope from their eyes. We need to be kind, loving, hopeful, and most of all optimistic. We need them to know they can fail with grace but they can succeed with determination.
I will use myself as an example. I am happy to point out that I grew up in a very rural part of southeastern Kentucky. I am proud of where I came from. Life isn’t always easy growing up in the foothills of the mountains. The entire World has a preconceived notion about Kentucky and especially rural Kentucky. I hate the stereotype that we are all barefoot and pregnant at sixteen. This stereotype is only compounded by my thick southern accent.
Someone once asked me, “Aren’t you afraid they will make fun of you?”. I figured out how to use my accent to my advantage. It is a conversation starter. I once spent a large chunk of an evening volunteering at the KET gala entertaining then football coach Rich Brooks and his friends with my accent. I like proving that just because, “I talk slow, doesn’t mean I am stupid.”
Instead of walking into a room or speaking with hesitation, I speak with great confidence. I am determined to undermine the stereotype that hinders many in Kentucky. I am using a self-fulfilling prophecy to aid instead of hindering myself.
We shouldn’t lower our expectations of others just out of the shear fear of disappointment. We should aspire them to greatness with our expectations.
Happy Spectacular Sunday,