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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

To paraphrase a famous line, “If you believe it, it will come”.

person on a bike
You go where you look, where is your focus?

Seems too easy but it’s an important psychological concept to consider when life feels like it’s against you-the self-fulfilling prophecy.


A self-fulfilling prophecy is our tendency to believe certain outcomes are going to happen which develops into our actions and perceptions working to make it true. This is true of both positive aspects of life such as getting a promotion, going on a date, and meeting our goals, but it is also true of our fears or those things we are trying to avoid as well.


We think, “this is going to be a rough day” and then it happens.


Another example would be thinking that everyone is out to unfairly take my money. The result will be that I see examples of it everywhere in my life and maybe even unconsciously set myself up for situations where others do take my money.


Why is this important?


If we can be aware of our expectations and what we tell ourselves about life, others, and ourselves, we can actually guide situations and outcomes to be more positive. We can exert control in situations and make things work out to the best of our abilities.


How we mentally react to life around us is a powerful force.


When riding a bicycle, the common wisdom is that if you see something in the road that you don’t want to hit (glass, debris, rocks), don’t look at it. We go where we look.


If we see broken glass and keep our gaze and focus on the glass, we will find ourselves headed right for it!


Have you ever seen a video of a child who can’t take their eyes off a mailbox run right into it? That is the impact of our focus–we go where we look.


The lesson in this is to focus on where we want to go in life, not where we don’t. If we put our attention to our goals and to the positive, we are much more likely to see it in our lives.


Avoid predicting the negative and instead expect and hope for the positive–you will find what you are looking for.


Please Note: If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital for emergency services or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

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