Most everyone knows about expectations. Simply stated, expectations are a strong belief that something will happen sometime soon or in the future. But expectations represent sometime more than that simple statement.

Many don’t realize that expectations also serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy. A self-fulfilling prophecy is an event that, because it is predicted and expected, is therefore more likely to happen, and even caused to happen.

As an example, a few years ago Success magazine had an article about two different groups of psychologists who were asked to observe the same child playing. One group was told beforehand that the child was emotionally disturbed. The other group was told that the child was a genius. When the psychologists were asked to report on their observations afterward, each group had found evidence to support their preconceived ideas.

It's important to realize that expectations or self-fulfilling prophecies are everyday experiences -not just laboratory experiments. For instance, what do you expect your day to be like when you get up in the morning? How do you expect your children to behave? How do you expect your co-workers will perform? How much success do you expect for yourself?

The point is that if you predict failure, failure is generally what you will find. But if you expect excellence, excellence is very likely what you will get. How we think about a situation determines how we act, and how we act, more than anything else, determines the results.

That is how expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies and how they influence the outcomes. There's nothing magical about it. What you get in life is pretty much how you behave, coming back at you. Norman Vincent Peale, the late American minister and author famous for his concept of positive thinking, said, “We tend to get what we expect.”

Over the next several days, see if you recognize areas where you are setting yourself up because of your expectations. If you are setting yourself up for the good, terrific! If not, what can you do to change those internal expectations, and change your life and the lives of those who surround you?

Think about it…