– What is self-fulfilling prophecy?


– What is self-fulfilling prophecy?

In: Other

The best way to explain it is probably with an example.

Say you have a test. You’re worried that you’re going to fail and you stress about it and believe that there’s no point in you even studying because of this belief that you’ll fail. So…. you don’t study and you fail the test.

You predicted you’d fail the test and you failed it but you did everything required to make sure you failed. You self fulfilled it through your own actions or in this case, inactions.

A self-fulfilling prophecy is when you make a prediction or claim of something that might happen, but then act in a way that guarantees that thing happens.

For example, you might believe that you will fail a test. As a result, you don’t study for it because why study if you are going to fail anyway. Of course, you fail the exam, and then claim that your prediction was right all along. In fact, it was your behaviour due to the prediction that led you to failing the test, not the prediction itself.

When you think something is going to happen, but it isn’t necessarily true. However, you believe in the outcome so much that your behavior ultimately creates circumstances where it helps that outcome become a reality. It can be both good and bad.

A typical bad scenario:

Man thinks wife is being unfaithful.
Man acts aggressive and accuses wife.
Man ends up pushing wife away
Wife ends up cheating due to the man’s behavior.

My favorite example is Warren Buffett thinking a small company is going to expand soon, so he invests in the company. People see that and quickly follow his investments, thus generating a ton of money for growth in that company.

Yes, perhaps the company would have grown without his investment or publicity. But in this timeline it’s because of Buffett’s initial move.

This has already been explained well by others but I’d add onto it that you should look up something called ‘learned helplessness’ too as it has some things in common with self fulfilling prophecy

You prophesise an outcome for a situation. You then fulfil the necessary events to realise the prophecy *due to your belief in it*. Self-fulfilling prophecy. It can be real circumstances or just enough to make you think it’s true.

For example: positive, imagined:

“I’m so lucky I always win this game of guessing heads or tails” you then play enough times that you guessed correctly because your belief in your good luck motivated you to keep playing. Your win convinces you that you are indeed lucky. You ignore the losses.

Negative, imagined: “everybody hates me, even strangers in the street” you walk around scowling and looking forward evidence that people hate you, you see their resting faces and their responses to your scowling and conclude that indeed they all hate you.

The imagined ones have a grain of truth and a lot of your own mind in them. They usually involve confirmation bias.

Negative, real: “I hate dogs they’re terrifying they just chase you around relentlessly” you then make a big deal when there’s a dog around, it notices you and tries to play, you run so it chases you.

Positive, real: “I’m going to make a friend today because people here are so friendly” you then appear happy, confident, and you come across as friendly and fun, and you engage people more, making them behave in friendly ways, the happy friendliness is infectious, and the atmosphere is good, resulting in making friends.

People often don’t realise they create a self fulfilling prophecy because they have an external locus of control. They feel and believe that their fate is decided for them by these external factors and they can’t see how their belief can come true because they believe it so much, rather than because they’re correct. It can be hard to convince someone of their self-fulfilled prophecy.

Lets say the CDC says that, for some, diarrhea is a symptom of covid. Someone on Facebook predicts ‘Oh no, we’re going to run out of toilet paper!’. So everybody and their uncle runs out to stock up on toilet paper and the country runs out. The Facebook person created a self fulfilling prophecy.

You think something is true and you subconsciously act in a way that makes it true.

Here’s an example:
I believe I’m bad at maths, I try to do some maths and suck at it and say to myself “Well that’s because I’m bad at maths” when I’m reality it’s more likely that I haven’t studied enough, I don’t have much experience with this area of mathematics, or there’s a function I haven’t learnt yet. Etc.

So generally it’s your own beliefs altering your actions such that your beliefs become founded in fact.