The basic premise behind the self-fulfilling prophecy is this: someone believes something is going to happen in the future. While the ultimate outcome isn’t determined, the individual acts in such a manner that he or she eventually makes the prophecy true, causing the predicted event.
This can be both positive and negative. For example, say a boy likes girl but lacks confidence in himself and believes that he’s doomed to rejection and failure. If he reeks of desperation, the girl is likely to be turned off and will probably reject him (just like he thought she would).
On the other hand, with the right psychological tools, people can dramatically increase the odds in their favor. Take skateboard tricks, for instance. If you’ve got balance, instruction and a willingness to learn, that puts you ahead of the game. However, if you’re scared shitless of falling and bleeding on the pavement, you’ll never realize your full potential.
I’m not suggesting that if you have enough confidence, you can achieve any goal you set for yourself. No matter how confident and focused some fighters are, they will never become a champion. Most will be lucky to become respectable contenders because they need natural talent, hard work, connections, and luck to succeed.
A long time ago, I stood at the top of a steep ski hill telling myself that after the initial adrenaline rush, I’d be fine. When my skis ran over a patch of ice and I lost traction, I decided not to lose focus, and stayed in control until I reached the bottom of the hill. If you let fear dictate your actions instead of logic, you become far more prone to making mistakes. Try moguls.
During a trip to the Elora Gorge last summer, I readied myself for a plunge into the Grand River from some rocks about 10 feet above the water. Physically, there was no danger to me. It wasn’t like I was going to break my neck on the rocks or that I couldn’t swim. Despite the lack of obstacles, I couldn’t jump over the mental hurdle, and climbed down instead.
Telling yourself that you’ve lost before you have even tried is self-defeatism. It usually perpetuates failure in people and reinforces the idea that they can’t win. Set reasonable goals and give it everything you have.