- “I never have any good luck”
- “Good opportunities always pass me by”
- “Things never work out for me”
- “I never get the girls I want”
- “I always get treated badly by others”
Any of these sound familiar? These beliefs, and many others like them, are held by an overwhelmingly large number of people.
A single bad initial experience can create a tainted view of the world in people’s minds. They then fall prey to cognitive dissonance. Everything that happens to them from then onwards is viewed through the lens of their preconceived notion of how things are “supposed” to go. 100 things could happen to them, 99 of them disproving their belief, only 1 supporting it, and the 99 conflicting events will simply be ignored, and the sole event supporting their hypothesis will be latched on to as “proof” of their views.
What people fail to realise is that is it precisely this attachment to their negative viewpoint that increases the likelihood of it coming to pass. As a result of what they believe, they inadvertently behave in such a manner that they bring about that which they most fear. A self-fulling prophecy. Then, when the undesired outcome comes to pass, they will take it as validation that they were “right all along”.
Consider the man who is convinced that he can’t get the quality of woman he desires. “She’s out of my league”, “I’m not good looking enough or rich enough”. Even if he plucks up the courage to approach, by radiating doubt he self-rejects before the interaction has even had a chance to get off the ground. Then along comes another guy, objectively no better than the first, but with a healthy sense of entitlement and self-belief, who succeeds. (incidentally this relates back to my opinion that value-building is the single best thing you can do to help in this regard – you don’t need to be delusional, you can give yourself numerous concrete reasons to believe in your own worth).
Perhaps the man who is convinced that he always gets passed over for promotion opportunities. He exudes negativity and self-doubt, deprecating himself at every opportunity. He doesn’t take chances, because he fears it will backfire. Time for promotions rolls around, and the boss has a choice between the negative, hard-working but play-it-safe drone, or a positive go-getting creative employee who isn’t afraid to push boundaries and try out new ideas. Who does he pick?
It works the other way too. People with delusionally positive outlooks on life will find a way to frame everything that happens, no matter how apparently disastrous, in a positive light. Got sacked? Great, now I can really focus in on that new career path, or use the time to start up my own business. Got dumped? A blessing in disguise – if she couldn’t see how great I really was, then she didn’t deserve me anyway, and I’ll find someone who does.
Exactly the same events can happen to two different people, and one will turn it into an advantage, whilst the other will use it as confirmation to keep holding on to their self-limiting mindset.
Even if you’ve had a bad run of experiences in life, it’s never too late to change the way you frame reality. It’s a choice that only you can make.