Today I want to talk to you about something called The Pygmalion Effect.
The name Pygmalion comes from a popular myth in Greek Mythology. Pygmalion was a prince and an artist who decided to create a sculpture of his ideal woman. He loved his creation so much that he went to the Goddess, Venus, and begged her to bring his sculpture to life. She did, and the sculpture became the perfect partner for Pygmalion and lived up to every expectation he set for her.
There are two basic concepts with the Pygmalion Effect:
#1 If you believe something is true about yourself – eventually it will be.
#2 You will generally act in the way others expect you to.
How does this apply to us in reality? Have you ever heard the quote, “People live up to the expectations we set for them – whether good or bad.”?
Obviously this theory is not going to be true of every situation; some of humanity’s favorite stories are ones where people rebel and accomplish things no one would expect them to. But there may be something to learn from the Pygmalion theory.
Think about this… do you tend to perform better when the people around you expect you to? And the opposite… have you been in a situation where people didn’t believe in you and so you didn’t perform very well?
What about in a school setting? Weren’t your favorites teachers (or at least the ones who helped your progress the most) the ones who showed interest in your future and who believed in your ability to succeed? The ones who pushed you because they knew you had great potential?
This Pygmalion effect is also known as the “Rosenthal effect” named for the psychologist who invented the theory.
Robert Rosenthal actually performed an experiment to test the pygmalion effect at an elementary school with 1st and 2nd grade students.
Robert led the teachers to believe that certain students (regardless of their actual IQ or abilities) were more talented and bright than others by administering a test and tailoring the results.
Thus the teachers, from the start of the school year, believed that a certain group of students had a lot of academic potential.
At the end of the year this group of students showed more improvement than their peers.
Interesting! Remember – the group of students were just average. They didn’t have any objective advantage over the other students when they were chosen.
Many more studies following have shown strong evidence that a teacher’s beliefs/expectations about her students and how she treats them has significant influence over their performance in the classroom. Even down to a teacher’s body language and the tone of voice she uses when addressing students can convey either positive or negative expectation.
What does this mean for you and I? What lessons can we take from the Pygmalion Effect to help us become more aware in our everyday lives?
3 Ways To Let The Pygmalion Effect Change Your life
#1 Spend time with those who believe in you
It seems like a no-brainer – spending time with those who believe in you will help you get where you want to be. These people will naturally support and lift you up and help you reach your true potential.
On the contrary, many of us have people in our lives who are constantly pulling us down. Maybe they can’t let go of the past. Maybe they are controlling and don’t want you to feel like you have power in a relationship. Maybe they are so concerned with keeping themselves feeling good that they push you down to do so.
Whatever the situation may be, have the courage to let go of people in your life who are not contributing to your best and progressing self. Sometimes this simply means spending less time with them. Maybe there are people in your life who are simply going in a different direction than you and you can still maintain a peaceful friendship without being deeply intertwined with each other.
Sometimes, to truly move on and do what’s best for you, you have to let someone go completely. Remember that you are strong and you’ve got the universe on your side. They will be okay without you. And you will be okay without them as well.
#2 Start telling yourself that you ALREADY ARE what you want to be
Stop talking about shortcomings. Stop talking about LACK. Stop saying you’ll never be able to do this or you’ll never be able to do that.
I want you to ONLY focus on who it is you want to be in your future.
Our thoughts and beliefs are EVERYTHING when it comes to creating who we are.
YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE TODAY BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU’VE BEEN THINKING AND BELIEVING ABOUT YOURSELF FOR YEARS.
And who you become in a few years depends almost entirely on how you are thinking about yourself NOW.
If you want to be hardworking, tell yourself you already are. If you want to be rich, tell yourself you already are. If you want to be beautiful and fit and healthy, tell yourself you are there and you will naturally start to flow in that direction.
When you focus on something, the universe will send it to you. This applies to things both negative and positive.
When you think about yourself, talk about yourself and envision your future… exert all your energy into creating an image of who you want to be and then STEPPING INTO IT NOW.
Before you know it… you’ll turn around and realize that you’re there.
#3 Learn to reprogram negative and limiting beliefs about yourself with positive affirmations
The subconscious mind will believe what you tell it consistently.
A positive affirmation is a short statement that you repeat to yourself in order to reprogram your subconscious to think an empowering train of thought. Affirmations are simple and are meant to represent your deepest desires and potential.
Positive affirmations can…
bring our thoughts into words
strengthen our resolve
help us to believe in the potential of our future
rewire our brains!
raise levels of feel-good hormones
help us break patterns of negative thought
help us break patterns of negative speech
help us form a positive perception of our self
help us change harmful behavior
raise confidence before important events
and much more
Examples would be:
I love and accept myself completely.
I am confident.
I am healthy and fit.
I am the creator of my life.
I am safe to grow, create, explore, and change as my heart desires.
My efforts are supported by the Universe; I surrender to its flow.
I am confident.
I am conquering illness.
I am at peace with the past.
You have amazing potential within you. In order to get where you want to be you have to have faith and confidence. Even if you don’t feel like you have the confidence or the faith right now, you can and you will. What you think and what you say to yourself is extremely powerful and potentially life changing!
You ARE more POWERFUL than you can possibly imagine.
Remember, if you believe something is true about yourself – eventually it will be. Positive affirmations, when used daily and consistently, help you to reprogram the limiting beliefs you hold about yourself and replaces them with empowering ones.
Be aware of the expectations other people have for you. Even more importantly, be aware of the expectations you have for yourself. Sometimes these are subconscious and you have to dig deep to figure them out. Once you do you can either embrace them or replace them. Trust yourself and your intuition.
Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.
As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
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