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The Power of Expectations


We will always tend to fulfill our own expectation of ourselves

Brian Tracy

Going Up is a Direction

As we know, UP is a direction. More importantly, it is a direction that we want to go. The first step in moving UP is to set our sights beyond our current circumstances.

Inherent in the definition of UP is that it never stops. There is always one more rung on the ladder and one more battle to fight. One more person to help, and one more analogy to make. So, wherever we are today, we have room to improve.

The thing that holds us back

What’s holding us back? Our expectations are set too low. That is one of the main things keeping us from achieving more.

When an expectation is set, our minds are so powerful and complex. Our actions immediately begin to line up with that expectation.

Robert K. Merton coined the phrase “self-fulfilling prophecy” to describe this phenomenon in his 1957 book Social Theory and Social Structure. Wikipedia defines a self-fulfilling prophecy as “a prediction that, in being made, actually causes itself to become true”.

My Fair Lady

In George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, Eliza Doolittle is transformed from a Cockney flower girl to a lady.

What made the difference? The image that she had of herself changed when others treated her differently. Colonel Pickering called her “Miss Doolittle,” which Liza says began to teach her self-respect.

She explained to Colonel Pickering, “The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she’s treated. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treated me as a flower girl, and always will, but I know I can be a lady to you because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.”

We See It Every Day

Most of us have observed the power of expectations with a familiar example. A co-worker mentions to us late in the day that they think that they’re coming down with a cold.

We may respond with something like, “I’ve heard there’s something going around”. We could even say, “You look all right to me”. It really doesn’t matter what we say at that point as the person really expects to get sick.


Continue looking up. Read the next article by clicking the link below:

Look Up! – The Power Of Expectations (Part 2 of 3)

Look Up! – The Power Of Expectations (Part 3 of 3)

2 comments on “Look Up! – The Power Of Expectations (Part 1 of 3)

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