I was incredibly anxious.
The night before an important interview, I scared myself. It was a position I really wanted and thought I can learn from and eventually excel at; however, some aspects of the job required certain skills which I thought I lacked. It required a whole lot of public speaking to potential clients. I would have to present to them the company’s fundraising event plans and eventually ask them for large donations. I had to excel at: 1) public speaking 2) presenting and 3) persuading. I knew I would be good at 90% of the responsibilities this position entailed; this, though, would be tough. Just thinking about doing it threw my confidence out the window. Be confident I told myself, but then I thought, they’ll see right through me.
I arrived at the company and waited in the lobby for my name to be called. I remember constantly shaking my legs and playing with my necklace thinking “how can I interview for this job if I am not good at one of their main requirements?” Eventually, they called my name and I entered cautiously. Each question was nothing out of the norm, but I still stuttered. All my answers lacked confidence – an essential trait needed to excel at interviews. If I didn’t confidently speak up about how I’m the best candidate for this position – how could they believe I was? As expected, I didn’t get the position and though I was upset, I was not surprised.
Looking back at the situation it occurred to me: I chose my fate. I put this circumstance upon myself.
Self-fulfilling prophecy is a concept where if we think something is going to happen, that thinking will affect our behavior therefore making the prediction come true. Essentially, it’s making something come true just by thinking it will happen because that space between the original thought and the result is the influenced behavior.
Take the example above:
I got anxious
–>I thought I’ll botch the interview
–>I lost confidence in myself
–>I arrived at the interview, scared
–>I answered each question in the interview with hesitation
–>Interviewer wasn’t convinced
–>Interviewer didn’t offer me the job
–>Prophecy was fulfilled
That’s sad, isn’t it? And what else is I realize this happens so often with a lot of people!
It happens when we’re scared to attend a party with unknown people thinking it will be awkward and having a preconceived notion about it; therefore, making us self-conscious and quiet.
It happens when we believe we don’t have a chance to win an important competition; therefore, putting our competitors on a pedestal and knocking our confidence level down.
And, it happens when we think our partner will leave us for someone else; therefore, influencing our behavior towards them due to the insecurity.
All of these thoughts lead to expectations and such behaviors that then make the original notion come true.
Once I realized I am inflicting this fate upon myself – I understood something else: this self-fulfilling prophecy phenomenon isn’t just applicable for negative thinking but also positive thinking! If I can choose my fate for such negative circumstances, I can also choose it for something more positive.
If I think I can be a great leader – I will likely be a great one through: my thoughts and behavior influencing others’ thoughts and behaviors towards me, reinforcing my original judgment.
If I think I can win a competitive game – I will have more chances to win through: my confidence level, trying harder, having others see me as a fierce competitor, reinforcing my original judgment.
If I believe I can finish a project at work within the short deadline – I will make it happen anyway and anyhow through: confidence and doing anything in my power to meet it, reinforcing my original judgment.
And, if I had just thought that I can eventually learn such skills like public speaking with practice, my anxiety would have decreased and my confidence level would have increased which would have ultimately shown through in my interview.
We just need the belief that we can do it and that belief alone will influence ours and others perception and behavior and help us fulfill it.
It’s such a simple concept that can change and better outcomes of a great deal of situations yet, somehow, it’s rarely known. This concept is generally associated with the negative aspect of it that often the positive spin is foreign to most people and hence is rarely applied. Ultimately, if we trust on a certain outcome to occur, it is more likely to happen. Therefore, trust the good and trust the positive and there will be higher chances it will occur!
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