In his book, The power of positive thinking, Norman Vincent Peale shares great advice that has shaped how I approach my life in general and my goals specifically and I recommend that you do the same.
He says, “Never think of the worst. Drop it out of your thought, relegate it. Let there be no thought in your mind that the worst will happen. Avoid entertaining the concept of the worst, for whatever you take into your mind can grow there. Therefore take the best in your mind, and only that”.
Thinking only of the worst means that you are defeated even before you start. Holding a picture of a successful outcome gives you more energy and drive to want to do more.
When I step into a situation or endeavour, I have always expected to succeed and leave it better than when I found it. I cannot deny that I feel scared at times, however, I realised that I need to expect the best to receive the best.
I also realised that in some instances where I did not achieve the way I wanted to, I could easily relate it to my approach and what my expectations were about the situation.
There is an element of a self-fulling prophecy that determines the direction of your goals. A self-fulfilling prophecy is the tendency to behave in ways consistent with one’ self-concept as well with others’ expectations. It is an assumption, belief or expectation that comes true because you believe it.
The first step to achieving your goals is the expectation you set for yourself.
For instance, you may have two people stepping into the interview room one greatly confident to succeed and another one feeling highly insecure in their abilities to crack the interview. It is more likely that the more confident person will impress the interview panel than the latter. This may have nothing to do with their abilities but everything to do expectations they place on themselves.
In toxic environments where people are always told that they are not worth the positions they are in, it is more likely that the people will also approach their work with the assumption that they are not good and they will end up confirming the assumptions of their critics.
In the words of Mark Victor Hansen, “the law of self-fulfilling prophecy says that you get what you expect. So why not create great expectations and the highest vision possible of yourself and your world?”
It may be that you have experienced failure in the past that forces you to have a greater expectancy of failure in future situations. This may even lead you to avoid these situations that may lead to perceived failure.
You can turn this around by increasing your levels of confidence and self-belief:
- Affirm positive statements about yourself and your situations. This will help you to focus on your strengths.
- Do things that you fear and push your boundaries. Achieving the small milestones of what you fear builds more self-esteem and self-belief that you can do it.
- Practice self-compassion because you are not the first to make mistakes and the mistake you will commit today is not the last. Instead, learn from your mistakes and expect the best the next time.
- Practice realistic optimism which is about remaining hopeful in the face of obstacles. In the words of Heidi Grant, “Realistic optimists believe they will succeed, but also believe they have to make success happen—through things like effort, careful planning, persistence, and choosing the right strategies,”
If you are intrigued by the idea of achieving extraordinary results in your life, I invite you to explore coaching with one of our coaches. Drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tex Hlalele is a Life & Business Coach, Consultant, Speaker and Author of the book Face the person in the mirror. Book Tex for coaching and speaking engagements to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement. Get in touch by sending an email on email@example.com.
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