A self-fulfilling prophecy is a belief that causes itself to become true.
Yes, what we strongly believe may come true, but it has nothing to do with spirits, miracles or magic. Rather, it is often a result of our change in behaviours after believing – i.e. the alignment of our thoughts, words, and actions.
In short, self-fulfilling prophecies don’t come true because they are powerful. They do so because we are.
“No belief can exist except through you”
Things To Note About Beliefs:
Before we proceed, let’s clarify some things about belief.
Belief is subjective and depends on the individual:
Beliefs are not objective facts, but rather personal opinions or interpretations. Anyone can believe anything to be true; and, millions of people can believe something to be true, yet it may not be the fact. For example, beliefs such as “the meaning of life is to be happy”, “Love is all you need”, “Everything happens for a reason”, or “People are inherently X, Y or Z” are all beautiful beliefs held by billions of people, but they are not necessarily true nor always helpful.
Belief is sustained by the individual:
This means that the individual is the one who keeps the belief alive, by continuing to think about it, talk about it, and act on it. Belief only exists and has an effect on reality as long as the individual continues to believe, hold onto and act on it. Sometimes, people cling to their beliefs by denying the fact that is right in front of their noses.
Beliefs can be transferred or adopted unconsciously:
Beliefs can be influenced by persuasion, social surroundings, and personal experiences. We often unconsciously adopt the beliefs of those around us. This is especially true in childhood when we are more impressionable (and if that belief is held by someone of authority). Other times, we start believing in something due to our personal experience (or interpretation of that experience). For example, if you’ve been betrayed over and over again, you may start believing that everyone is evil and out to get you.
Beliefs can be abandoned or changed:
When we are exposed to new (and truer) information that contradicts our existing beliefs, we may be forced to abandon or change those beliefs. For example, the illness or death of a loved one can force us to change our beliefs that “money is everything”. Also, if someone is a racist, meeting someone who is exceptionally kind, and who helps them out when no one else will might force them to reconsider their beliefs.
In all this, it is important to keep in mind that the more our beliefs align with reality, the fewer mistakes we will make and the fewer miseries we will experience. And, this reminds me of the words of Jesus (who interestingly, refers to himself as the “truth”). He said:
“Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but whoever it falls on will be crushed”– Mathew 21:44.
I like to interpret it as an allusion to the indifferent and rigid nature of reality or truth. It is not something that can be changed or manipulated. Someone can ignore and lie about it, but when it eventually catches up – when reality finally dawns on them – it either breaks or crushes them. In other words, it is important not to delude yourself.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean we can’t hold beliefs that are so extreme they sound outlandish. In fact, the truth is that there are so many possibilities that denying that is, on its own, a lie.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”— Steve Jobs
Why Do Beliefs Work?
Beliefs don’t come true because they’re powerful. They come true when you are powerful enough to persist in them. When thoughts, words, and actions align, impossible may be.
What’s possible in our world is unfathomable. From placebo and rocket engines to winning trophies and civil rights movements, beliefs are often what makes the seemingly impossible possible. And, the strange thing about beliefs is that the more people believe them, the firmer we trust in them.
Furthermore, even if a belief is not based on reality, it can still have a powerful effect on people’s behaviour. This is because beliefs can shape our expectations and our interpretation of reality. But, there are limits to beliefs.
For example, when a famous clergyman lays his hands on a member of his congregation. The member believes that they will feel a rush of power that will make them fall and heal their infirmities. As a result, they may actually feel it and behave accordingly, by falling, screaming, or shaking. This is autosuggestion, herd behaviour, hypnosis, and placebo effect (which can actually bring about healing) in action. However, you will never see people levitating or flying during crusades or other religious events, because these phenomena are not aligned with reality.
In another instance, someone may actually find themselves succeeding more in their career after getting a mentor who convinces and encourages them to believe in their dreams. The mentor may not give them any extra capacity or bring any new opportunities, but the mere fact that they now believe will motivate them to work hard, find opportunities, and persist until their dreams come true.
In simple terms, beliefs work because we work extra hard – both consciously and unconsciously – to see them come true.
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How Your Beliefs Can Change Your Life:
Your beliefs can change your life by shaping your expectations, behaviours, and ultimately, your reality.
For example, I didn’t make my first 100k until I believed I could. Interestingly enough, I didn’t choose to believe, I was made to.
How? A stranger who liked my writing messaged me. She told me I could make a lot of money freelancing. I didn’t believe her because I thought I would be discriminated against and suffer some restrictions as a Nigerian living in Nigeria.
However, she showed me her earnings despite also being a Nigerian living in Nigeria, and I immediately believed. She further showed me how to create and optimize my freelancing account, send proposals, and withdraw funds. After that, I started applying for gigs with full belief that I would make a lot of money. And I did.
When you believe something positive, you automatically develop;
Which all come together to help you create what you believe and even unlock more potentials and possibilities.
But, when you lack belief, or worse, believe something negative, you automatically develop;
Which all come together to hamper your ability to unlock your full potential and possibilities.
Hence, it becomes essential to scrutinize your beliefs and ensure they align with your vision for your future. To do this, you first have to identify them…
Steps To Identify Unhealthy Beliefs:
To me, “Rest and Ricklaxation” was one of the most striking episodes of Rick and Morty Season 3. If you’re a fan, you already know Morty as someone who is insecure, anxious, self-critical, and constantly worried about what other people think of him. He is afraid to take risks and constantly puts himself down. In short, he is a loser who never gets the girl he likes and is constantly being pushed around.
However, after having an alien detoxification experience, we see a new version of him emerge. After Morty is detoxified, he becomes a much more confident and assertive person. He is no longer afraid to speak his mind, and he is more willing to take risks. He is also more self-accepting and stops being so critical of himself. Eventually, he starts dating the kind of girls he likes and becomes a successful business tycoon.
While we can’t get the “alien detoxification” experience, I believe our lives will be much better if we expel unhealthy and unhelpful beliefs from our lives. Below are some steps you could take:
Observe the patterns:
Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Are there any patterns that you can identify? For example, do you tend to think negative thoughts about yourself? Do you avoid taking risks? Do you procrastinate?
Question the patterns:
Once you identify a pattern, the next step is to ask yourself why those patterns are repeating. This step will reveal the true underlying beliefs. You can practice mindfulness and self-awareness to help you better identify these beliefs. (Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment – your mind, body, and the environment – without judgement or attachment.)
Question your beliefs:
Once you are aware of the patterns in your life and the beliefs that may be driving them, start questioning their purpose and trueness. Are these beliefs based on evidence? Are they helpful or harmful? Are they limiting or empowering?
Talk to a trusted person:
Having a conversation with trusted friends, family members, or a therapist can help you better understand your underlying/unconscious beliefs. Getting feedback from them can help you to see your beliefs in a new light.
In all these, you must be honest with yourself and avoid being defensive.
Now, identifying unhealthy and unhelpful beliefs and abandoning them is one thing. The second, equally critical part of archiving your dreams is inculcating healthy and helpful beliefs.
How To Believe In Something and Make It Happen: The Truth About Self-fulfilling Prophecies
A lot of people talk about how important it is to confess good things about yourself. Billions of people every year pray and prophesy good things into their lives. But, the reality is seldom do those prayers and prophecies come true, because they are mostly wishful thinking sugarcoated with blind optimism.
I’m not saying positive affirmations or prayers don’t work. I’m saying I don’t just believe they make things happen. For things to happen, it takes someone who is willing to go above and beyond.
In my JSS1 first term, I emerged in the 6th position in class. This was a slap because back in primary school, I’d always dominated at the 2nd position. So, after receiving that result, I said to myself, my friend, and my family, “I will come 1st next term”. The next term, I came 2nd.
Whilst it is easy to simply say, “Oh, you made it because you confessed it”, the truth was that I stayed up late at night, read, did my assignments, spent less time on distractions (like video games and movies), and put in my absolute best. It was not easy, and I had to keep doing that till my University level where I also graduated with a Second Class Upper.
To make the things you believe come true, you must be pragmatic and systematic; you must:
Be clear about what you want:
What is your goal? What do you want to achieve? The more specific you can be, the better. Don’t just say, “I want to succeed.” Instead, say, “I want to make X amount of money before next year,” or “I want to complete X project within the next 3 months,” or “I want to learn X skill this new year,” and so on.
Visualise yourself achieving your goal:
See yourself in your mind’s eye, having already accomplished what you set out to do. Think about what you will do with the money. Imagine yourself standing in front of a crowd receiving an award, picture how life will be with the perfect partner. Be so clear on what you want that every other nice thing, be it sex, alcohol, or fun, feels like a distraction, and all other seemingly nice accomplishments, be it followers, a medal, or a title, feel like noise to you.
Surround yourself with people who support your vision:
The people you spend time with can have a big impact on your beliefs. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and support your goals. Back in secondary school, a friend told me that he wanted me to outperform someone. He was so serious about this that he would supply me with whatever I needed to surpass the other person, whether it was explanations, materials, past questions, answers, etc.
Be mindful of the information you consume:
The media, books, and other sources of information can also influence your beliefs. Just as my friend altered my beliefs, the content you consume can also alter your beliefs. If you find yourself surrounded by content that suggests you do something unethical, unlawful, or downright evil, be cautious because you might start believing it is the right or only way to act.
Believe in the power of your mind:
Your mind is a powerful tool. When you believe in something, your mind will work towards making it happen. You will begin to identify patterns and develop roadmaps in your mind. You don’t have to have it all figured out. Simply believe, trust your powerful mind,
Develop a plan:
With what you’ve learned – from experience and research – come up with a comprehensive plan you believe if executed perfectly will unfailingly bring your dreams to reality. For example, if you want to be a successful blogger, you might want to think about the domain name, hosting, and web design; your audience and competition; content creation and distribution; as well as means of monetization.
Learn the basics and principles:
No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, there are things you must learn and master. Leonardo da Vinci didn’t start off painting the Mona Lisa. He had to master how to shade, the human anatomy, the landscape, colour combination, and so much more. The principles are like figuring out how to mould the bricks that will be used, over and over again, in building the structure.
Develop systems and routines:
We are creatures of habit and don’t like being confused or in chaos. Most people would rather return to a home where they are sure they will be beaten than address a crowd in which they don’t know how they will react. Don’t think you’re that different. If you lack a system – a clear order in which the work should proceed – or lack routines – time, place, and tools – which you can consistently go to and rely on for building your dreams, you will most likely give up on your goals. Good systems and routines eventually solidify into habits and become second nature to you – making success closer to grasp.
Get a mentor or coach:
Just as my friend shaped my beliefs and freed me from the limited mindset I operated in, a mentor can liberate you from the mental prison and limiting beliefs you’ve been raised with. The truth is that if everyone in your family is poor, there’s a huge chance everyone in your family has a limiting mindset holding them back (you might even call this a “generational curse” if you’re superstitious). This is the same for a happy marriage, career success, or success in any aspect of life. The best thing you can do for yourself is to find someone who is not suffering from that limitation and ask them to lead you out of the wilderness you’ve been stuck in all your life.
Don’t give up too soon:
One thing that separates successful people from unsuccessful people is how much they are willing to stick to it. Successful people understand that even if you plant a fertile seed in nutrient-rich soil, and water it, it will still take time for the plant to grow. If you want a self-fulfilling prophecy to come true, you’ve got to be patient and keep protecting your vision. Don’t give up.
Conclusion: You’re Responsible For Creating Your Self-fulfilling Prophecy
A few years ago, I used to worry a lot about how to approach strangers and interact with ladies. I desired to engage with the ladies I was interested in and make a positive impression on them. Consequently, I started reading blog posts, watching YouTube videos, and consuming books that focused on these topics. Within a few years, I’ve become skilled at communication and persuasion, often knowing what to say and how to act to connect with people. Now, everyone loves me immediately they set their eyes on me.
Okay, I’m just kidding; not everyone likes me. I don’t think there’s anyone like that. But I can confidently say that I’ve become more likeable and worry a whole lot less about being liked.
If you want it bad enough and believe you will get it, sooner or later you will.
When our desires, words, and actions align, prophecies sooner or later get fulfilled.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. ”— Paulo Coelho
Below are some handpicked content you might find interesting:
- Stop Chasing, Start Attracting: This May Be The Secret To Getting What You Want
- You’re a Product of Your Beliefs [This Is How To Ensure Your Beliefs Are True And Helpful].
- The Reason You Doubt Yourself [How To Identify And Get Over Imposter Syndrome]
- Become An Anomaly: Why Not Everyone Can Be Successful [And How To Stop Being Like Everyone]
- What Do You Truly Deserve? [And How To Get It]
A Self-Help Writer And Editor Who Keeps It Simple (Yet Elegant)