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5 Self-Fulfilling Prophecies You Don’t Want to Happen On You

5 Self-Fulfilling Prophecies You Don’t Want to Happen On You

We have all had them. Those thoughts that turn into beliefs that somehow become reality. This is the epitome of the self-fulfilling prophecies. A belief or thought that is made real by our attitudes and behaviors, positive or negative. It’s the negative that we want to avoid.

It may have started with a friend or loved one who drops a thought on you that seemed enticing at the time. And three years later you realize that you have been living out someone else’s dream and what turns out to be your nightmare.

Here are five self-fulfilling prophecies you don’t want make a reality.

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1. “The Wanderer” – Unwritten Goals

Think of goal setting like having a map for your life.

As The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland points out, “If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Will Get You There.”

That’s where goal setting plays an important part in our lives.  However, vague, unrealistic goals can be demotivating. Since only 10% or less of the population actually write down goals, it is easy to see how popular culture puts little emphasis on goal setting. By not writing down S.M.A.R.T. goals, you may wake up 5 years from now in the same frustrating job with the same massive amount of debt and wonder how you got to where you are. Writing down goals gives you a chance to create positive self-fulfilling prophecies and move away from a meaningless future.

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2. “The Prejudiced” – Living Out Advice from Prejudiced Family Members

It’s the uncle who you looked up to, but as you turned older you realize he had given you bad advice. For example, your uncle says “You come from the poorest part of the city, there is no way you will amount to anything.” Better yet a guidance counselor tells you, “You have never had a family member finish higher than the 10th grade, you will be running streets just like them.” By listening to these negative statements and living them out, you will have a hard time breaking a bad cycle. Choose whose advice you listen to wisely.

3. “Eeyore” – Letting Your Past Define Your Future

You remember the character from Winnie the Pooh. Eeyore was the pessimistic, ever glum donkey. He looked at his past as a means of predicting his future. Here is a real life example. Perhaps you were initially terrible in public speaking in high school or college. You tried it a few times, but you just gave up and concluded you were never going to be good at it. Fast forward to your job today. You need to give a short speech but are in complete shock and fear of it. You have just lived out your past. Rather than working towards improving, you give up early and live out an unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy. Change it around and improve regardless of your past.

4. “Someone Else’s Dream” – Living Out Your Parents Career Advice

In his book 48 Days to the Work You Love, career coach Dan Miller features a story of the surgeon who as it turns out can’t stand working with his patients on a personal level. It’s not part of his personality. So rather than dealing with it rationally he turns to heroin. By the time Dan meets with the surgeon, the only veins left to shoot up heroin are in his heel. In talking with the surgeon, it turns out that his father and grandfather were both surgeons and he felt obligated to live out their dreams and not his. Today, he still worked weekends in an emergency room setting where the relationships with patients were short lived and he found his passion of driving a truck during the week. By living out your self-fulfilling prophecies and not your parents, you find things much more gratifying.

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5. “The Paranoid Boyfriend or Girlfriend”

Have you ever met a guy, you liked him, dated him for a month. However, every week he asks if you are going to break up with him and you end up doing so? People with a strong fear of rejection are hard to live with. Don’t be that guy or girl. Build a relationship day by day through trust, faith and love.

What these 5 negative self-fulfilling prophecies have in common is that they all start with how we talk to ourselves. If you keep a positive outlook and take action towards daily goals, you will achieve more positive self-fulfilling prophecies.

As historian Howard Zinn states it best, “Pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act.”

Featured photo credit: Tom Raftery via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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