Self-fulfilling Prophesy: Meaning and Significance

A Self-fulfilling prophecy is founded on assumptions one's has made about the world. Some self-imposed predictions include feeling one will perform badly on an exam, failing the test, or thinking one will not get the job and then not obtaining it. One expectation, reinforced by one belief, prompted one action and produced the desired result. A user's positive or bad expectations about an event or a person may impact their behavior in a way that makes those predictions come true. For example, if investors feared a market crash, they would acquire fewer stocks than normal, resulting in a decline in stock prices and, ultimately, a market crash.

How does one define a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

This concept is known as the "Law of Attraction" among New Agers. Although the idea that one gets back in kind what one puts forth may have romantic overtones, it might discourage the new kid at school from making friends at lunch. The new kid is right; everyone else will treat them as they imagined they would. The theory behind such an self-fulfilling prophecy, or the Pygmalion impact, is that one's expectation of a certain event influences one's behavior in a way that brings about that conclusion.

A Model of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy at Work by Dov Eden

This model incorporates numerous management and organizational psychology ideas. It is backed by Pygmalion-at-work causally categorized experiments and other study findings. The model has five variables that together constitute a closed causal chain−

  • The supervisor's expectation is the first link in the chain. Eden and Shani discovered that high supervisory anticipation positively influenced leadership.

  • Supervisors utilize differential treatment to establish higher self-expectations in subordinates.

  • The expectation theory of motivation states that motivation to perform is proportional to one's degree of self-expectancy. They discovered that high expectations increase the overall drive to do well. Because of the unique attention offered to subordinates, they are driven to justify the high incentive and lower their workload. Distinctions by enhancing performance The interaction of these expectancy and equity processes elicited by high expectations boosts total drive.

  • Increased motivation pushes subordinates to exert greater effort, resulting in improved performance.

  • By positing causal consequences of performance on the supervisor's anticipation, the chain is completed, and the loop is closed.

The formation of expectations is a natural process in non-controlled conditions, i.e., everyday life. Natural expectations are likely affected by the supervisor's understanding of the subordinate's previous performance record, and managers typically demand more from high-performing subordinates in the future. Classical Pygmalion manipulates the supervisor's anticipation, but Eden and Ravid discuss the trainee's self-expectancy. The researchers altered both supervisory and self-expectancy at the same time. Leadership studies often begin with leadership as the beginning point in the process, although motivation has frequently been the independent component in research aiming to improve effort and performance.

This "second generation" Pygmalion effect supports the concept that after the high-performance track has been established by good leadership with high expectations from supervisors, subordinates may maintain high performance on their own. Thus, the Pygmalion effect, initiated by changing supervisor expectations and initiating the five-variable causal chain, may self-perpetuate by cycling through the three-variable loop of subordinate self-expectancy, motivation, and performance.

Precursors to an Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

When someone is stuck in an self-fulfilling prophecy, it often begins with a single thought or belief that eventually comes to dominate their whole world.

  • Always gloomily forecasting the future.

  • Negatively reflecting on previous events.

  • Seeing only the worst in any given scenario and focusing on that

  • Holding the firm belief that one's pessimistic forecasts will come to fruition regardless of what one does

There are positive uses for self-fulfilling prophesies as well. Sometimes, good expectations drive activities that assist one in becoming more successful in accomplishing their objectives. However, if a person's self-fulfilling prophecy is founded on pessimistic assumptions, it might limit that person's growth and development. However, the consequences of an self-fulfilling prophecy might be catastrophic. Stereotypes, racism, and prejudice may all have roots in people's preconceived notions of how others would act based on their expectations.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies Prove Useful

A good attitude and zeroing down on the steps one may take to realize one's objectives are crucial when using the self-fulfilling prophecy method. Having faith in one's abilities is crucial to realizing those abilities. It may be beneficial to recognize self-imposed predictions that limit one's success and make an effort to alter one's outlook. Expecting problems to arise increases the likelihood that one will create them. Nevertheless, if one shifts one's mindset and starts expecting good outcomes, one will be motivated to take action and make meaningful improvements.

Consequences of a Prediction That Comes True on Intself

Behaviour, belief, attitude, and motivation may all be profoundly influenced by the power of self-fulfilling prophecies. It is important to remember a few things while discussing self-fulfilling prophecies in the Fields of Education, Medicine, and Other Professions. According to the literature, the results of studies, trials, classes, businesses, and hospitals may all be affected by participants' preconceived notions. Participants in studies, jurors in trials, students in classrooms, and even staff and patients in hospitals may all have their reactions skewed by the expectations of those around them.

Inspiration and Confidence

Further, ego-fulfilling prophecies may significantly influence a person's drive and confidence. With confidence in one's abilities, it is easier to keep one ego motivated and focused on one's objectives. Insecurities, doubts, and low ego-efficacy may result from not being confident in one's abilities. The power of ego-fulfilling beliefs may be seen in many spheres of life, from academic performance to professional success to physical well-being. Be steadfast in our values and aspirations. Never compromise the values or principles for the sake of pleasing others. Learn to identify how the expectations of others shape our sense of confidence. Consider how the expectations of others around us may affect our actions.


Keep our eye on the prize, and keep everybody from pulling the strings for one. Ego-compassion is not hard on ourselves when we make mistakes or fall short of someone's goals. Recognize our errors and move forward from them. Let it go and think about what one can do better next time. If one knows how ego-fulfilling prophecies function, one may take steps to change any unhelpful ways of thinking that one may have developed. To reach our full potential, one must first be aware of limiting ideas or expectations and actively work to alter them. Breaking and avoiding negative ego-fulfilling prophecies is a skill that may be honed and used to help one reach our objectives. An ego-fulfilling prophecy occurs when a person's beliefs about an outcome bring about that outcome. It indicates that having a positive mindset and concentrating on the steps one can take to achieve the desired result is vital to success.

Updated on: 12-Apr-2023


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