It is 2010 and I am walking with my friends along Martin Jischke Drive on my way to Entrepreneurship 100, one of my favorite classes on Purdue’s campus. I look down and notice a text from my Dad that reads, “Just think, you’ll be driving a 2014 Mustang in a few years.” This makes me smile thinking of my graduation date in four years. His belief in me pushes me to keep working hard through it all.
You may have heard the saying, “Behind every good man stands a great woman.” But, I would take this saying a step further to say that behind every successful person stands someone who placed high expectations on them. Whether it be a teacher, coach, parent, or boss that believed in you, their expectations alone helped you immensely more than you could ever know.
This phenomenon is known as The Pygmalion Effect in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. As social psychologist, Robert Rosenthal puts it, "What one person expects of another can come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy." Consequently, the Golem Effect argues that low expectations lead to a decrease in performance.
In both effects, the expectations of others serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Regarding the Pygmalion Effect, people internalize their positive labels, and those with positive labels succeed accordingly. The idea behind the Pygmalion Effect is that increasing the leader's expectation of the follower's performance will result in better follower performance.
Just think back to your own life:
Was there ever anyone that pushed you to keep going when you did not see the direct payoff?
Was it a coach?
Was it a teacher?
Well, whoever it was, thank them.
Their belief in your potential helped frame your idea of what you could one day become. Without it, you might not have ended up where you are now. Whether this is where you want to ultimately end up or not, appreciate the people who have helped you get this far.
When looking back on others who have believed in you, it really is about all of the little things that these people did to get you where you are today. Whether it simply be taking the time to listen to your opinion or outlining their high hopes for you, all of these little things truly add up!
Below is a short poem written by my father when I decided to pursue a degree in Management. His to-the-point words have stuck with me ever since.
It truly is amazing what a few kind words can do for someone's life...
Yet, do not wait around for everyone to imagine you doing great things. When it comes to your support system, you may only need a few people to truly believe in your capabilities. But, it is my hope that you can find a place where the right people hold you to a higher regard. Remember that by surrounding yourself with the right people, your whole life can change.
So, never settle.
And never give up.
Today will be good. :)
How To Use the “Pygmalion” Effect | TIME.com. (n.d.). Retrieved April 9, 2015, from http://ideas.time.com/2013/04/01/how-to-use-the-pygmalion-effect/
Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy: The First Follower and more... (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from http://ed.ted.com/on/IgslePtt#review
Paul, A. (2013, March 25). What We Expect From Ourselves And Others Often Becomes Reality. Retrieved April 5, 2015, from http://www.businessinsider.com/set-high-expectations-for-yourself-and-others-2013-3
The Power of the Pygmalion Effect. (n.d.). Retrieved April 7, 2015, from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2014/10/06/96806/the-power-of-the-pygmalion-effect/