Self-fulfilling prophecy re-visited

I have the need to re-visit some of the ideas and concepts that have emerged in the previous postings and the comments that were made. When we pause in a process, we are able to take a closer look at what is right in front of us. Meaningful information can get lost if we move rapidly from topic to topic without giving the necessary time to fully absorb what already has unfolded.

I do not want my blog to be driven by rush – a rush to move from new topic to the next, without fully appreciating the exchange of ideas that has unfolded over time. In the world of informational flow, you need to consider two aspects; namely movement of information and expansion of information. Expansion usually occurs when you provide reflective space around an idea that may already exist.

My over-riding wish is for this blog to be a place where dialogue is ‘possible’ (as much as it is capable of). If this is to occur, then the comments that are made need to be valued and opened up for further discussion.

In the mist

In his comment about the nature of the ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ Lutz reminded us that the prophecy can be positive (constructive) or negative (destructive). When discussing the SA cricket team, I was focusing on how the team was creating a reality for themselves that undermined their performance. As I watched the body language, facial expressions and the look in the eyes of Lance Armstrong at the start of the team time trial, a ‘positive’ expectancy was activated in me. He was conveying a story to me of enhancement. He seemed to know and I seemed to ‘know’ that he was going to have an outstanding performance. The television commentators supported the prophecy by their comments. The stage was set to see if he could fulfill the prophecy of being an ‘exceptional’ athlete. He knew that he was in good shape. He knew that he was ready for the challenge. Those witnessing the start also knew that he was ready to excel. He then needed to action this anticipative reality. I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone who was watching the event that Armstrong succeeded as he did. I don’t even think it surprised him.

Any personality characteristic is able to unfold over time if one’s thoughts about self and the perceptions of others (observers) regarding who you are, feed into each other in a recursive and resonating way. Once actions unfold to support this recursive loop, then a self-fulfilling prophecy is under way. This gets cemented over time.

Thoughts within, perceptions from outside and actions that match, all need to be aligned for a self-fulfilling prophecy to unfold. Lance Armstrong and the SA cricket team are both stories of the self-fulfilling prophecy.


One thought on “Self-fulfilling prophecy re-visited

  1. Lutz

    Ken your comment with regards “time” evolved my thought leading to a question regarding the optimisation of input [mental, physical and spiritual] required to create a self fulfilling prophesy. Unmuddling the multitude of thoughts running between my ears, but without answers, my question unfolds like this …..

    I wonder what the analytical correlation [% of time, intention and effort] of the [1] self fulfilling prophecy, [2] self belief, your [3] “think, talk, do” triangle and [4] time is?

    We believe, and know, that that all of these ingredients [collectively or individually] result in a level of performance/ non-performance. Sometimes it appears that these prophecies unfold quickly, but I am not sure that this is so, I think rather that their is much that we do not see which takes much time, effort and intention [knowingly or unknowingly. This leads to the next question, which ties directly into the first – If we are leading teams, or even trying to create an optimisation within our selves, short of becoming over-bearing, undermining through to much effort or even obsessive, what is perfect mix of effort, intention and time that is required to deliver the best our teams or we can?

    Perhaps my questioning is too broad and I am over thinking?

    Thank you for the great inspiration Ken!

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