A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

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This article links directly with my writings on luck, I advise you to read that article first before reading this one as it all ties together nicely, you can navigate to it by clicking HERE (Don’t worry, you’ll stay on this page!). Do as you like though, I can’t stop you.

In my “Luck” article, I defined a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy as “something that happens because you fully believe it will in your mind”. In reality it much more than this, it is all about attitude when it comes to a SFP. Firstly I’ll go into a more detailed description:


This diagram shows in more details, how a SFP works and also gives us the fancy scientific name. the Pygmalion Effect. Let’s start from the top, we have the actions we perform, in this instance, let’s take the analogy I used in the Luck article. You’re having a bad day, your actions have made you believe your day is bad, even if they were out of your control e.g. Being late for work, waking up to a cold shower, stubbing your toe. Which brings us to the second stage on the diagram (on the right). “Others beliefs” doesn’t really come into my analogy, so just take it as the effects of your actions. You probably feel annoyed, frustrated and maybe hopeless after everything that has went wrong in the day so far, and rightly so! But you’re stuck in this rut and unwilling to change your attitude as you think life has cheated you today, which brings us to the third stage in the diagram (the bottom). This attitude is snowballing and you’re having “bad luck” from concentrating on the bad things instead of all the good things that may have happened in the day so far, as I said, stuck in a rut. Finally, this leads to the last part of the diagram (the left side). You start to believe that everything on that day is doomed to go wrong, there is no convincing you otherwise, even things are getting better, you’re still only concentrating on the bad. In turn this starts the cycle again, it affects your actions and in this analogy you don’t do well in the interview because of your attitude, your Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of having a bad day.

It probably seems from reading this so far that there’s no good to come from a SFP, but that’s just me being pessimistic, truth is that it can work both ways, good or bad, usually the latter in my experience.

As a quick example of a good SFP, imagine you’re having a your driving test today and you are really nervous. Despite this, you are pumped, you know you’re going to ace it no problem and you fully believe that. Your positive attitude has played a part in your success. Of course you probably couldn’t have passed the test running on positivity alone, you had to have the knowledge and experience, but your attitude swung the chances in your favour.

Easier said than done…

If we could optimise ourselves to think positively more often, I believe we could accomplish much, much more as individuals and as humanity. But what makes it so difficult to stay positive? Why is it so much more easy to be negative than positive, at least for myself, I don’t know about you, how do you feel? Feel free to let me know in the comments.

I’m going to continue this series of linked articles next time with the subject of Positivity & Negativity, keep a look out!

– Jamie