A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

A few months ago I wrote an article about one of the “Secrets” of the martial arts, the mysterious Mind/Body link. The only real “Secret” part is that very few recognize it’s a closed loop, just as the mind can motivate the body, the body can motivate the mind. This month I want to explain another critically important closed loop. This loop is one that all parents should be mindful of with their kids returning to school, but it’s also something adults can learn from as well.

I think most everyone would agree that if someone expends minimal effort toward a goal, they will get minimal results. Similarly, I think it could be agreed upon that if one puts forth tremendous effort, they may reap tremendous results. Certainly there can be exceptions, but as they say “the exception proves the rule.”

What many don’t realize however is that attitude and confidence play a key component in this equation, and it’s the part that in fact creates a closed loop.  Here’s what I mean. If a person is confident and in general feels they are capable of achieving worthwhile goals, they will generally try harder and put more effort into achievement. They expect good things to come from their efforts, and by and large, they get good or even great results. It’s what happens next that really creates momentum though. Because when a person achieves good results, they in general believe in themselves even more and have a more expectant attitude, so the next time they’re likely to try even harder and reap even greater results. This then reinforces their attitude and their willingness to put forth even greater and greater efforts reaping greater and greater results. It’s a cycle that can have tremendous positive momentum.

Unfortunately, this cycle can work the opposite way too. A person that doesn't believe in themselves tends to put forth minimal effort. With an already defeated attitude they may feel “What’s the point in trying?” You can imagine the results that person gets.  Those poor results in turn reinforce their previously held belief that they aren’t capable. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy on both accounts.

This cycle is one that I’ve seen play over and over again in the lives of many. As you set forth to tackle a project or achieve a goal, be mindful of which track you, or your child, is on.

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