Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Perils of Negative Expectations

Empirical studies have reinforced one of my pet philosophies. From a great little discovery of a blog, BPS Research Digest, explains "Why it's best not to expect the worst."

The study they cite doesn't point to a correlation between expectations and success as much as the link between negative expectations and negative sense of self. In other words, if you expect to do poorly, and do, you see it as further evidence of a larger personal failure. If you expect to do well, but do poorly, you don't internalize the failure, but give it an emotional shrug.

I think it goes farther than that, though. Expectations influence not only your own motivation, but also the way the world approaches you. It's a matter of energy, to sound quite postmodern about it. Positive attracts positive, negative attracts the same.