That quote seems most appropriate for new years when people traditionally make New Year resolutions. Most people attempt to make new starts during January of the New Year, but many fail.
There are many reasons they fail:
- Unrealistic goals
- Vague goals
- Goals that you see others make (Trying to meet other’s goals)
- Goals that people tell you to make
- And, sometimes life just gets in the way of the goals
- Lack of belief
Out of all these reasons, the one that most often gets overlooked is “Lack of Belief.” Yet I think it’s the most important reason so many people fail.
They just don’t buy into the goal. They sound great on New Year’s day and a lot of other people may be telling you how good the goal is and how they too are making that goal, but somehow you just don’t really buy into it.
Goals not only need to be goals you believe you can achieve; they also need to be goals YOU believe in. Your level of belief directly affects your performance and results. It also affects the people you interact with.
Let’s take a teacher for example.
The teacher may have a goal of being an exciting teacher that students love to learn from, and the goal for the next semester is that every student raise their Grade Point Average.
This is a GEAT goal and everyone tells the teacher how good a goal it is. But, if the teacher doubts the capability of the students and how they will perform, the goal will never be met.
This is called the Pygmalion Effect. Robert Rosenthal, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside was the first person, I know of, to come up with this. Basically, the Pygmalion Effect says that our expectations of other people (or ourselves) can create a self- fulfilling prophecy.
Robert’s report contained a study that involved a brand new teacher that was hired to teach a new class of gifted students for the next school year. What this teacher did not know was that these students had been tested and were found to have very low IQs.
Basically, the worst of the worst kids were given to a person who thought and was told that they were gifted children.
As you would expect, when she commenced teaching, the students started misbehaving. They didn’t respond. They didn’t learn. But, she believed these students were of higher IQ, so she figured she was the problem, not the students.
After all, these were gifted students and she was a teacher so if they weren’t learning, it must be her fault.
She started to take responsibility for their failures. She thought her teaching style may be uninspiring; it didn’t stimulate them or capture their attention, she was boring them instead of inspiring them.
She started to experiment with and change the way she taught. She started to encourage them. She started to arouse their curiosity and challenge them with games and activities. In other words, she started to nurture these low IQ students.
She treated them like gifted students
The more she treated them like gifted students, the more they responded! By the end of the school year the grades of all the students had jumped tremendously. When they were retested, their IQs measured a 20 – 30 increase across the board!
She took low IQ students and literally created high IQ students. She did this because of a belief. She believed the students had higher, intellect so she treated them differently.
It was her belief that made the difference!
She had built a belief system the moment she was told she would be teaching a class of gifted students. That belief transferred to the students she was teaching.
This can apply to you and your business. If you really and sincerely believe something can be accomplished, something can be achieved, some goal can be met, you stand a VERY GOOD chance of achieving it.
The Self-fulfilling Prophecy
Back in the 50s, 60s and 70s, General Motors (and I’m sure many other companies) had a belief that to be a good executive you needed to meet certain criteria. The criteria included being male, being a certain height/ weight, race etc., it even included hair and hair color.
For years, this belief was proven true. The majority of people who rose through the ranks met these criteria. People who did not met these criteria failed to make it up the ladder of success. The company had full belief in this system and saw it proven year after year for decades.
When management finally began to question this and researched it, they found because of this belief, the people who did not meet these criteria were treated differently. They were given lessor responsibility and training. Fewer doors were open to them because, after all, why waste time and money on people who were proven to fail.
Management began to experiment and encourage, train and promote people who showed talent regardless of race, color, height, weight, hair, sex etc. What they found out was that there was no difference between the people. When given equal chance and opportunity, everyone rose (and fell) according to their own abilities, not according to some pre-conceived criteria.
Are you letting yourself and your business down due to pre-conceived notions of yourself, the market, your product, your customers, etc.?
Believe In You!
Keep this in mind when you make goals and resolutions. Do you really believe in them based on reality, not on pre-conceived notions you’ve inherited from others or developed on your own? If you REALLY believe in them and yourself, you will take your business and life to new levels! I truly believe that!