We will always tend to fulfill our own expectation of ourselves.
– Brian Tracy
Expectation is a future-based belief that may or may not be realistic.
Do expectations factor into our outcomes?
This is something that Ulrich Weger and Stephen Loughnan wondered about, so they did an experiment with 2 groups of people that were asked a series of questions on a screen.
One group was told they would be given subliminal flashes of the answers that their unconscious minds would understand right before they were asked the question, and the other group was told the flashes were just an indicator that the next question was on its way.
Nothing meaningful was in the flash for either group, yet those that expected that they were being exposed to the answers did better on the test.
Expectation of knowing the answers made them more likely to respond correctly.
This is in alignment with athletic accomplishment, where there is a general perception that people can’t do better than X – like run a 4 minute mile.
This was true for years and years, yet right after Roger Bannister finally broke through that “limitation” in 1954, others followed soon after.
Did the physical abilities of mankind suddenly take a jump?
No, it was the expectation that it was possible that allowed others to increase their speed too, and now it has become the standard of male professional middle distance runners.
This can be applied to many other things as well – vision, fatigue, immune-response – it is amazing how many barriers people like you and me can break through just because we expect to do so!
Read more about some of this research on Scientific American:
This is an exciting area of research – how can you increase your expectations to become more than you used to think possible?