Self-fulfilling Prophecy Essay

Self-fulfilling Prophecy Essay

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More often than not, the outcomes of events that occur in a person’s life is the product of the idea of the self-fulfilling prophecy. It is that which “occurs when a person’s expectations of an event make the outcome more likely to occur than would otherwise have been true” (Adler and Towne, Looking Out, Looking In 66). Or restated, as Henry Ford once put it, “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right!” This brief research paper touches on the two types of self-fulfilling prophecies, those that are self-imposed and those that are imposed by others. Additionally, it gives a discussion on how great of an influence it is in each person’s life, both positively and negatively, and how it consequently helps to mold one’s self-concept and ultimately one’s self.

The first topic of discussion is the self-imposed, or self-inflicted, self-fulfilling prophecy. This idea follows that if one has a preconception or notion of an outcome, then chances are that person will raise the possibility of making it so. Take for example these cases-in-hand that Channing Grigsby, teacher of self-esteem speaks of:

‘I can’t handle this.’ And guess what? We don’t handle it well. If I tell myself I won’t have a good time at the party I’m going to, I am likely to behave in ways that generate exactly that reality, eliciting from other people indifferent responses, proving my premise. (“A Course in Self-Esteem” 5)

Additionally, and antithetically, consider the example of the student studying for a mathematics test the following morning whose belief is that since he is and has been studying and has a good working knowledge of the subject area, that he will do well on the test and does so the following morning. When compared to another student doing the same but is less prepared and knowledgeable in the area and additionally thinks that he will fail and did, he performed better because of his positive expectation and preparedness. Take a moment to reconsider the inclusion of the idea of preparation in the example. Here, preparation is just as important a factor to consider because it is a variable that can greatly surpass the influence of the self-fulfilling prophecy. The other student who did not prepare well and did not know the material as well would have failed anyway, despite how great of preconceived thoughts he may have had. In this case, because the concept...


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...pment. And because it does so, it is absolutely essential that as a collective, as a body, as a society, as a people, that a certain degree of understanding is found. That is so that individuals may have a better understanding of their internal, emotional and psychological processes as well as those of others. And with that, a mutual understanding of one another that helps to promote community and a better state of physical, mental, social and spiritual health.

Works Cited
Adler, Ronald B., and Neil Towne. Looking Out, Looking In. USA: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1999.
Bidwell, Lee D. Millar, and Brenda J. Vander Mey. Sociology of the Family: Investigating Family Issues. MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2000.
Bushman, Brad J., Roy F. Baumeister, and Angela D. Stack. “Catharsis, Aggression, and Persuasive Influence: Self-Fulfilling or Self-Defeating Prophecies.” Online Posting. 17 July 2001 <http://www.apa.org/journals/psp/psp763367.html>.
Grigsby, Channing. “A Course in Self-Esteem: 5. Sources of Low Self-Esteem.” Online Posting. 17 July 2001 <http://www.getnewvisions.com/se/05crse_sources.html>.
“Self-fulfilling.” Def. 2. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. 1997.

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