There was an experiment where researchers were given a set of rats and told to rate their ability to learn mazes. They were told that certain rats were “smart rats” and had an abnormally high IQ. When the researchers tested the rats, their studies showed that the “smart rats” performed significantly better than the ordinary rats.
The experiment, however, wasn’t focused on the rats, it was testing the researchers. All of the rats were the same, but telling the researchers that some of the rats were smart caused them to rate the rats better, even though there was no difference.
People will view what you do through their own set of prejudices. To a certain extent, your ability to succeed is determined by what people think of you ahead of time. When it comes to humans, very few things are actually objective.
By being aware of this, you can help yourself prepare for the future by nurturing positive impressions of yourself with those around you. If they expect you to succeed, you are more likely to (at least in their eyes) than if they expect you to fail.
Originally published October 31st, 2005