Why School Made Me Stupid (PLUS 3 WAYS TO REVERSE A SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY)
Have you ever wondered how some people are just so confident in themselves?
Having confidence in yourself is like having powerful leverage against your negative thoughts. In order to build a brighter future for yourself, you should start with confidence because it trains your mind to focus on the right path, no matter what your current physical abilities are.
So how do you get onto the right path, and how do you know if something is holding you back? …
The self-fulfilling prophecy – also known as the law of attraction – is all about the power and strength of the mind and how you can actually use your mind to manifest good things or bad things into your life. You can use the self-fulfilling prophecy to confidently push yourself toward your goals, or you can use it to drag yourself in another direction.
The self-fulfilling prophecy is a loop which works in 4 different stages:
1) Initial event – something happens to you that sticks out in your mind. This event causes you to move to stage two which is …
2) Belief – because of the event, you now have a particular belief about yourself that, in reality, may or may not be true.
3) Actions that confirm the belief – because you now have this belief you begin to act in certain ways that confirm your belief, or they attribute certain actions to their belief, even though the two things may not be connected at all.
4) Outcome that confirms the belief – because you acted in a certain way, an outcome results which confirms your initial belief … and therefore fulfills the prophecy you had about yourself.
I’m going to through an example now and I want you to pick out the event, belief, action, and outcome:
So a young girl attending elementary school brings her report card home one day. She gets As in all her subjects because she understands the work quite well. She wants to keep her A+ status, so she avoids asking questions that she thinks will make her look stupid and does exactly what she is told. As she gets to the area of her report card where soft skills are graded, she sees she has a Satisfactory (or a C) in Problem Solving.
This girl is devastated to know that she is a bad problem solver, and even questions her academic intelligence because of this satisfactory grade.
The young girl returns to school, fearful that the questions she comes up with during class are stupid. You see, she figures that the only reason she comes up with these questions is because she can’t do any problem solving on her own. So she stops asking questions in class. And when the teacher asks questions to the class in hope that somebody will raise their hand with an answer, she never raises her hand because she believes, as a result of not being able to problem-solve, her answers will be wrong… As a result, year after year, she continued to receive a satisfactory grading for problem-solving.
Think about it! Then continue reading to see the answers:
(1) Event – Her first satisfactory grading, that was an unfortunate result of her trying to do the right thing and her fear of being wrong.
(2) Belief – She believed she could not problem-solve and that she was unintelligent.
(3) Action that confirms belief – She stopped raising her hand and asking questions because she believed she was stupid as a result of her inability to problem solve.
(4) Outcome that confirms belief – As a result of her actions (not participating in class or contributing in class discussion) the girl continued to receive satisfactory gradings year after year which confirmed her belief that she is a bad problem solver.
So why am I going through this with you?
Well if you find yourself in a scenario like I did when I believed I was stupid and could not problem solve, I want you to be able to overcome that belief. I want you to learn how to correct your beliefs before you create self-fulfilling prophecies that can damage the way you think about yourself and the way you act in the world.
(1) So that’s why the first tip for avoiding the dangers of the self-fulfilling prophecy is to identify the validity of your belief.
You see, like my satisfactory report card grade, the event that caused you to have a certain belief may not be factual or represent the truth of the matter. If you believe something, there needs to be a good reason for that belief.
So in the case of my report grade, the teachers were missing a lot of context about my problem-solving abilities. The fact of the matter was not that I was a bad problem solver, the fact was that I was petrified of being wrong, and simply wanted to do as I was told when it came to projects and assignments. So although I may have not displayed superb problem solving, the satisfactory grade I received did not represent the full truth.
That said, the first instance of me receiving a satisfactory grade for problem-solving was not valid evidence to prove my belief.
For something to be valid, it has to flow logically from one thing to the next. So 2 + 1 = 3. But if evidence is missing (? + 1 = …), you won’t be able to draw a valid conclusion.
So if you have a negative belief about yourself make sure there is evidence to support it, otherwise your negative belief may be invalid.
(2) Now that leads me to the second tip for avoiding the dangers of the self-fulfilling prophecy and that is to remember that we create our rock bottom, BUT we also create our breakthrough.
Remember that how we respond to situations becomes our reality. So even if something bad happens to you that is completely out of your control, you can still control your response to that bad event. Therefore you can control whether the situation improves/becomes bearable or get worse simply based on what you decide to think and how you decide to act.
If you look at the S.F.P Loop, it is a loop because the outcome causes you to confirm your beliefs. This constant cycle of belief-confirmation leads to the rumination of negative beliefs about yourself. And it is this rumination that causes you to fall deeper and deeper into rock bottom.
So to stop the rumination of negative thoughts and create your breakthrough moment, you need to break the S.F.P. Loop. To do that, you can (1) create a positive belief about yourself to motivate you to more productive actions and therefore more productive outcomes, and (2) respond to the initial event by figuring out how you can learn, instead of just accepting the belief at face value.
Remember that actions that confirm your belief and the resulting outcome can occur whether the belief is positive or negative. So why not correct your beliefs through positive thoughts in order to create positive outcomes for yourself?
You cannot rely on the world to create an amazing life for you. You need to take the initiative and create that life yourself.
If you remember in a previous YouTube video I talked about the importance of positive self-talk and how our self-talk is what determines our mental fortitude. And you can check out my exercise for making positive self talk a habit by clicking here.
(3) The third tip for avoiding the dangers of the self-fulfilling prophecy is to fake it til you make it
This tip is an extension of tip number two – once you create that positive belief about yourself (which you can also think about as the reward in your habit formula) this belief will act as motivation for you to take productive and positive actions.
You see, belief comes first when it comes to taking action in your personal development. So if you can replace every negative thought in your mind with a positive one, you won’t have any motivation to act in ways that confirm negative beliefs.
If we go back to the example of me believing I was a bad problem solver, I had this belief follow me until I started working my first salary job when I was 21. In order to counteract this belief, it was absolutely necessary for me to start telling myself I was a good problem solver. I told myself that over and over and over and made sure to problem solve anything and everything I could to validate my new positive belief.
I seriously tried to problem solve the simplest daily tasks because I needed to start proving to myself that I could actually figure things out. So sometimes that meant problem-solving the most efficient way to order all-you-can-eat sushi and other times that meant figuring out how much time I could save by nailing down my morning routine to the second. And sometimes after I displayed these small problem-solving abilities, I would get comments from people like “good thinking” or “good idea” and that validated my belief even further. I then got more confidence to perform more problem-solving type actions which would get me the outcomes I wanted.
So sometimes fake it til you make it is exactly what you need to start seeing positive results in your life.
A New Habit Challenge
So if you made it to the end of this post, I want to invite you to join my new habit challenge which will be using the self-fulfilling prophecy. This has to do with diet and eating habits and I hope you will join me for this one. I decided to create this challenge because over the past year, I’ve gained 7 pounds and I’m not very happy about this. I noticed that I started telling myself things like “I can’t help but eat food when I see it, even if I am full” and “my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to yummy food!” Sooo… of course, that belief led me to start eating anything and everything and unfortunately being gluttonous. Those actions led to the outcome of me gaining weight. And there we have the self-fulfilling prophecy.
Now if I’m going to take my own advice, I need to implant positive and corrective thoughts in my mind about my eating habits. By doing this, I can change my actions and actually break the original S.F.P. Loop and lose the 7 pounds I gained. And of course, I’ll be using the habit formula to stop myself from overeating or eating things that are unhealthy.
So if you have bad thoughts about food which lead you to overeat, considering joining the 60-day S.F.P Challenge with me! To join, all you have to do is send me a message on Instagram, and I’ll add you to the group chat to get started.
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As always, I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to make this the #YearofYou!
Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.