Saturday, 31 October 2020

How can I connect with my most important relationships?

Self-fulfilling prophecy The phenomenon whereby initially false expectations cause the fulfillment of those expectations. Two years later, the kids labeled as late bloomers actually scored substantially higher than their classmates did on a test of general abilities. However, unknown to the teachers, the list of kids originally labeled late bloomers was a random selection from the class rosters. So the only reason they experienced a dramatic intellectual growth spurt was that the teachers were led to expect they would! What accounts for this self-fulfilling prophecy? Years of additional research have revealed that although such effects don't always occur, when they do, it is because teachers' expectations affect their behavior toward the students in ways that improve the students' learning (Rosenthal, 2002). For example, kids expected to do well are given more attention and more nods and smiles, are challenged more, and are given more positive reinforcement for their successes (Harris & Rosenthal, 1985; Examples of accountability systems imposed on you include: The need to attend a job you hate every day or else you will be fired, Being told by your doctor you must stop smoking, or Being told by your spouse what you should and shouldn't do. Examples of accountability systems created by you include: Setting your own goals and making them public, Deciding to chat with an accountability partner once a week, Undertaking a 30-day challenge you set for yourself, or Setting your own deadline for your projects. If you don't set your own accountability system, people around you will set it for you. When I asked Debbie to consider her potential obstacles she said that her biggest concern was whether or not she was physically up to the challenge. While she had recovered from her illness fully, she was still feeling a little vulnerable emotionally.

To address this issue I asked Debbie what she needed to do to prove to herself that she could handle the position. Debbie said that she needed to improve her physical conditioning and she needed some kind of reminder that she could do this. To address these obstacles I suggested that Debbie add the following two action steps to the top of her list: Meet with a personal trainer to discuss my health and get a program to build up my strength. Ask three friends to check in with me weekly for the first month to remind me that I have what it takes to fulfill this goal. Five months later I received an excited e-mail from Debbie saying that she had finally gotten up the nerve to apply to two major ski lodges in Colorado and she received offers from both! Debbie is now a full-fledged professional ski instructor. Take Action! Jussim, 1986). Students tend to respond to such behavior with more engagement and more effort and, consequently, more learning. One study also showed that students' expectations can also change teachers' behavior: If students expect a teacher to be excellent, the teacher performs better (Feldman & Prohaska, 1979). Through a process known as the self-fulfilling prophecy, teachers' positive expectations for their students can shape how well those students actually perform. Since that classic study on teachers and students, self-fulfilling prophecies have been demonstrated in many other contexts as well (eg, Snyder et al. If you expect someone to be friendly and sociable, you are likely to act in ways that elicit such behavior. If you expect someone to be unpleasant and annoying, you are likely to act in ways that provoke that kind of behavior. One study found that army platoon leaders led to expect their platoon to be made up of exceptional recruits actually produced better soldiers (Eden, 1990). Mere expectations won't turn a serial killer such as Jeffrey Dahmer into a humanitarian such as Nelson Mandela, but most of us are capable of being pleasant or unpleasant, industrious or indifferent. Within a moderate range of variability, it seems quite clear that perceivers' expectations about others often shift people's behavior toward confirming those expectations. And guess what? You might not like their system.

As the saying goes, if you don't set your own goals, you'll spend your life making other people's goals a reality. The bottom line is: there is no such thing as zero accountability. If you don't direct your life, someone else will, and that probably won't be in your best interest. This is why I encourage you to leverage the power of accountability to help you build momentum and move toward the life you desire. How to create accountability One thing to understand when you create accountability is that the less disciplined you are, the stronger the accountability system you need. While for some, writing down their goals might be enough, most of us need a stronger form of accountability. For instance, this could be sharing our goals with an accountability partner or making commitments with hard deadlines. Uncover Your Real Obstacle It's important to determine a real obstacle versus a perceived obstacle. Often we get caught up in familiar language and neglect to identify the real concern. For example, my client May said she wanted to be a pastry chef and that her obstacle was a fear of failure. This is a typical response. Upon hearing this I assured her that in fact failure would be a part of her experience. To demonstrate this I asked May if she had ever made something that didn't come out right. Yes, she replied, plenty of times. What did you do when that happened? I just tried it again until I got it right. Limits on the Power of Confirmation Biases We have beaten the drum for confirmation bias very loudly in this section, and the large body of evidence warrants doing so.

However, confirmation biases do not always occur. If people's observations clearly conflict with their initial expectations, they will revise their view of particular people and events. This is especially likely if the gap between what people expect and what they observe is very extreme. For example, if you play chess with a nine-year-old and don't expect the child to show much skill, and then the kid beats you, you will likely revise your opinion of the child's chess ability. In fact, because your expectation was so different from the outcome, you might even overrate the child's ability. It is interesting, though, that even in such cases, people usually grant the exception but keep the underlying schema. In the chess example, you'd probably think, This kid's a genius, but most nine-year-olds stink at chess. Of course, if enough nine-year-olds whip you in chess, the schema eventually would give way to the data. Even the most disciplined people use accountability to perform at their best. Therefore, you are not exempt. Some of the ways I created accountability this year was to: Send my list of goals to my subscribers, Decide on the number of articles to write and publish, and Tell my editor when I will send him my articles. This has worked well for me, but I could have benefited from extra accountability by having an accountability partner, for example. What about you? Who is counting on you? What are the consequences on other people's lives if you don't move forward? Okay, I said, so you know how to handle failure. What's really going on then?

What are you really concerned about? May said that her real fear was that people wouldn't like what she baked. Once again, probing further, I asked if she had ever baked for her family or friends. Yes, she replied, they all love my baking. Well, I said, tongue in cheek, are they from another planet? Are they somehow different than other normal people? May laughed and, getting the idea, looked deeper for the true obstacle. Underneath May's generalized fear was a legitimate, specific concern that she lacked the necessary knowledge to be a pastry chef. In addition, when people are aware of and concerned about being biased, their cognitive system may kick in to correct the feared bias (Chien et al. Wegener & Petty, 1995). Another way to think about this correction is to say that people's need for accuracy trumps their need for closure, leading them to think more carefully--or at least to respond in a way that is opposite to what they think is a biased judgment. However, the evidence suggests that this correction process tends to be inexact and sometimes leads people to bend over backward in the opposite direction. Finally, in the context of self-fulfilling prophecies, if the target of your expectation knows you think a certain way about him or her, the person may go out of the way to try to disconfirm your expectation (Hilton & Darley, 1985; Jamieson & Harkins, 2007). SOCIAL PSYCH OUT WORLD A Scary Implication: The Tyranny of Negative Labels In a 2013 episode of the radio program This American Life, Ira Glass (Glass, April 12, 2013) described the murder case of Vince Gilmer. In 2006, Gilmer was sentenced to life in prison and described by the judge as a cold-blooded killer. Without consequences, you will find it harder to remain motivated. To build an accountability system that works for you, answer the following questions:

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