Have you ever heard of the Pygmalion Effect?
In the late 60s, Robert Rosenthal conducted an experiment where an entire elementary school was given an IQ test. The test scores weren’t given to the teachers, but the teachers were told that 20% of the students scored high and could be expected to “bloom” intellectually over the coming year. Here’s the key part…the teachers were given the names of those students expected to bloom.
The “exceptional” students were chosen at random. Yet because the teachers expected them to perform at a higher level than the other students, they actually did perform exceptionally better!
So How About You?
January 1st is just a memory now. We’re just three weeks into the new year, but by now most of our resolutions have either been broken or completely forgotten.
If you listen to Dan Miller much, sooner or later you’ll hear him recommend the book “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale. I actually listened to the audio version before reading the book, and when I first heard it, one of the statements jumped out and grabbed me. Nightingale said this:
“We are where we are because that is exactly where we really want to be – whether we’ll admit that or not.”
I didn’t like that statement.
I disagreed with it.
I turned off the cd and argued with it.
“How can he say I’m right where I want to be???” No I’m not! I want to be 30 pounds lighter. I want to be more successful! I want to have a better marriage!”
But slowly I began to realize he was right. I AM where I want to be.
I’m not where the idealist in me wants to be, or the dreamer in me wants to be. But the core of who I am, the part of me that runs the ship day to day and makes the vast majority of my decisions…yeah…I’m right where that part of me wants to be.
You see, if I lose weight, it’s going to cost me something. I’m going to have to stop eating pizza, and actually exercise sometime. And if I want to be more successful, I’m going to have to put in the time, pay the price in self-discipline to show up day after day to grow this thing. And if I want a better marriage, guess what? I’m going to have to pursue my wife again like I did when we were dating, which takes energy and time, two commodities in short supply right now.
So in a real sense, I was exactly where I wanted to be. In a risk-free comfortable life that didn’t really require too much of me.
Can you relate? Are you where you want to be (not the dreamer you, the real you)?
Here’s where it gets real. Stats show that 50% of us make resolutions. Within three weeks 70% of us who made them have already broken them.
So what does it take for real change to occur?
I think it goes back to the Pygmalion Effect. Do you really believe you will succeed at your goals? If, deep down, you expect that you’re going to fail, then you’re going to fail. So set goals that are attainable & realistic for you.
I don’t usually say this, but if you keep striking out maybe stop trying to swing for the fence. Just shoot for first base this time and see what happens. Give yourself an easy win. Then another. Then another. Win by win you’re building momentum and success.
Right beliefs + Right Actions = Success.
So here we are. Three weeks into 2014. You will get what you expect this year. Not the dreamer you that shoots for the moon on New Years Eve. But the real you. The one who gets tired, who loses vision for what can be, who gets discouraged at the lack of progress.
To be successful you have to guard your expectations like the apple of your eye. Because you will get what you expect.
Don’t give up. Plan the work and work the plan. Stay the course. You will get there.