Friday, December 17, 2010

The Galatea Effect

“Keep high aspirations, moderate expectations, and small needs.”

William Howard Stein

In 1957, Dr. Robert Merton introduced an idea known as the Galatea Effect, which suggests we tend to do what we expect we’ll do.

If you think you can run a marathon, you’re more likely to push yourself through training and eventually cross the finish line. If you expect that you’ll make friends easily, you’ll likely be relaxed enough to make people around you feel at ease.

It also works the other way around. If you believe you don’t have the leadership skills to run a meeting, your insecurity will undermine your authority. If you expect you’ll clam up around the person you’re attracted to, you’ll find yourself sweating whenever you meet eyes.

What if we woke up and expected not only the best of ourselves, but also the best in the unexpected? What if we expected that the things we can’t predict will somehow turn out for the best? What if we didn’t just believe in ourselves; we believed in our ability to adapt to the unknown?

We can never know exactly what’s coming, but we can know that no matter what happens, we can turn it into something good. We can know that no matter where our aspirations lead us, we can meet all our needs through our interpretations, attitude, and actions.

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