Did you know, there’s a psychological anomaly called the Pygmalion Effect by which higher expectations actually result in an increase in performance. That is to say that if people, yourself included, believe in your abilities to accomplish something, you are more likely to succeed.
The reverse effect, by which low expectations lead to poorer performance, is dubbed the Golem Effect.
Although they are basic principles learned in any introductory psych course, I’ve been thinking about these two effects, good and bad, quite a bit as of late. Down on myself for my missed achievements, my inability to set a path for myself and a couple unwarranted criticisms, I’ve been caught in the trap of the Golem Effect.
With each slap on the wrist, revaluation, and remedy, I have continually heard “You can’t.” Granted, this voice is usually my own, but isn’t that worse? As I disregard my talents and zero in on my shortcomings, I expect less and less to come of my efforts, and following suit is a string of subpar essays, unfinished pieces, and mediocre assignments.
In reference to my last article, this all came to my immediate attention after I was denied a position for an internship I had already been offered. No criticism, no voice telling me “You’re not good enough,” other than mine.
I beat myself up over it for days and finally had an epiphany as I sat on the beach, watching the sunset with my boyfriend after a perfect day.
Who is anyone, yourself included, to tell you you’re not good enough? To tell you that you won’t do this or you can’t do that.
Herein lies my first point: Stop beating yourself up.
It’s cliché, but the only person you have to spend all your time with is yourself. You should be your own greatest supporter, your most trusted confidante, your loyal cheerleader. If you can’t give yourself the benefit of the doubt, you’ll only wind up disappointed with your failures and negligences, because you create them for yourself.
It’s crucial to your own success, your own happiness, that you do not stand in your own way. Treat yourself with the same love and respect you want others to treat you with.
Don’t allow yourself to get caught in this cycle of self-inflicted woe. Break it, bring yourself up and be amazed at your potential.
My second point is as such: Don’t forget to build others up, too.
The simple knowledge that someone else believes you can, makes all the difference. Be the one who stokes the fire of others’ passions, who inspires another’s creativity.
We all get so caught up in what we’re not doing and what we don’t have, that we forget to appreciate all we do have, what we have achieved.
We focus on others’ successes and our own failures that we forget to recognize every person has their own struggles and demons.
So give to yourself, give back to others, and enable everyone you interact with to feel this warmth of encouragement.