With Confidence, Expect

By Meliora Consulting and Learning Academy - November 9, 2021
With Confidence, Expect

Our expectations are frequently based on assumptions we hold about individuals or groups of individuals. The same holds for us. Have you ever noticed how your expectations become a reality? A self-fulfilling prophecy is a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is something we do both consciously and unconsciously. Remember that kid in elementary school who was always rowdy and disruptive? If people already believe they are perceived in a certain way, they will act in that manner, even if they do not intend to. The rowdy kid in elementary school was well aware that everyone saw him as disruptive, and he was. The teacher anticipated terrible behavior and met the expectations.

Consider how powerful this can be in your own life. Are your assumptions and expectations about yourself liberating or oppressive? There are numerous examples of "self-fulfilling prophecies" or the Law of Expectations at work in everyday life. Have you ever noticed how people who believe they are about to be fired experience a drop in the quality and enthusiasm for their work? What happens next? They are terminated! Their belief causes them to act in a certain way, and those expectations then work to bring about what was previously only a figment of their imagination.

In another study, second graders listened to teacher statements before taking a math test. There were three kinds of ideas: expectation statements, persuasion statements, and reinforcement statements. "You know your math well!" or "You work hard at your math!" were some of the expectation statements. Persuasion statements included phrases such as "You should be good at math." or "You should be getting better grades in math." Finally, for the reinforcement statements, teachers said things like, "I'm proud of your progress" or "This is fantastic work!" What do you think the outcomes were? The highest scores were in the "expectation" category! What was it about the expectation statements that made them so effective? They instilled personal assumptions in each student. These assumptions influenced the actual external outcomes.