The Pygmalion Effect. Use It To Make More Money

Why What You Think The Outcome Will Be In Life Matters More Than Ever

So you think you are going to do well with your next Marketing Campaign or dealing with a loved one or colleague? This is good because if you don’t, it impacts the outcome of your campaign and just outcome, believe it or not. Read on and you will find out why.

As an update, there have been some recent experiments in Quantum Physics that prove this theory out to a scary degree. The experiments prove that intention does indeed have a measurable effect on the outcome of Quantum reactions.

Every once in awhile, a light bulb goes on for me (incandescent ones, I don‘t do fluorescents. Hey the Air Force banned them for a reason) when thoughts come together that have been brewing for some time.

I happened to be going through some of the piles of books that I have and came across “The Power of Positive Thinking In Business” by Scott W. Ventrella.

I had read and own a first run copy of Norman Vincent Peal’s classic, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Good book indeed and runs along with “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.

I had casually read through it before and it had not tripped my trigger, although I had lent it out to several people and one person in particular gave it credit for changing the course of her career and leading her to go back to school for her Masters Degree. Still, I had not revisited it.

But as I opened it up it this time I came across a section that I think sums up one of the keys to business success, and success in most areas of our lives: this is called the Pygmalion Effect.

For those of you that do not know what it is, here you go. In mythology, there was a sculptor who sculpted a beautiful woman. He poured his heart, soul, and all of his skill into the sculpture. It was so perfect that he fell in love with it and he wished it were a real woman and named her Galatea. Well, the Goddess Venus saw this and actually made Galatea into a real live woman. Thus arose the Pygmalion effect, where you get what you wish or expect.

Spring forward several thousand years and we end up with one Dr. Rosenthal of Harvard.

He did a famous experiment where he went to a school and pulled the names of three teachers out of a hat at random. He also pulled the names of some students at random. He then told the teachers that they were the three best teachers in the school and that they were going to be getting the best students to see how well they could do with them.

At the end of the year, on average, the students’ performance was 20 to 30% higher than the rest of the school.

This experiment was conducted over 300 times with similar results. In essence, when the teachers thought of themselves as stars and that their students were gifted, the teachers treated the students as gifted, and both the students and teachers performed up to these expectations.

For me, this was mind blowing that such a simple thing could increase results dramatically. But, then again, it does seem to fit in the realm of common sense and from what I have observed over three decades working with people.

In fact one in one of my early sales job I had a sales manager name Robert that demanded that when he asked you how your were doing, that you always replied with something positive such as ” I am doing GREAT” or ” I am doing Fantastic”.

At first I really thought he was a nut job as I saw him fire and literally take out Jim, our 2nd best salesman on the spot one morning when he said he was having a crappy morning and he started to go off on a tirade about Robert and his dumb be positive policy. Robert told him to shut up and right then and to take it out side I said whoaa… Well, Jim got about 4 more ” non-positive words out” and it never made it outside because Robert had a wicked right hook and dropped him like a rock and said he would not tolerate it at all. Guess what, he meant it. No whishy washy mamby pamby HR policy there.

He would not tolerate any negative talk at all amongst the sales people and he meant it. No whining or complaining, no bitching or moaning. If you had a complaint or issue, you had to frame it in a positive fashion. He knew how important that it was to do this.

The proof was in the pudding as it were in that our sales group out sold all others by not just 10 or 20% but by a whopping 1,500%. No one else was even close to our group. It made me appreciate and respect that whole policy. Perhaps this is why I have such a low tolerance for negative and whiny people. I know how truly destructive this seemingly innocuous poisonous behavior can be to all people around that person. The only exception to this rule is if I think the person is worth redeeming. Otherwise, I let them wallow in their own self-produced misery of a life. Stay away from me thank you very much. 🙂

Now back to the Teachers and the phenomenal results that were produced. What was funny (OK, perhaps not) is that rather than this being embraced and implemented on a wide scale in schools across the country, this caused a flurry of criticism within the teaching community as they said results are irrelevant. I am not kidding or making this up.

They felt that children should feel good about themselves and not be compared to others and that there must have been something else going on. So rather than being implemented on a larger scale, they did not adopt it. Got to love Liberal Progressive Teachers Unions, but then again not.

Professor J. Sterling Livingston also did experiments with management in business with, as you may have guessed it, the same results, and those results were published in the “Harvard Business Review.”

Even Peter Drucker seems to weigh in on the subject as well.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
— Peter F. Drucker

I think if you look, you see this with a great many of the successful entrepreneurs and companies out there.

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson, and Ashley Qualls (more on her later) all have one thing in common. They expect success from themselves and those around them.

Now how can you implement this in your own business?

  • Make sure that everyone buys into what your are doing. Do not tolerate negativity about what you are doing from anyone, even if they are just joking. Talk to the person and tell them that you do not want to hear it nor can they talk to anyone involved that way. If they don’t get it, get rid of them. Seriously, your business may depend on it. While this may seem harsh, the subconscious mind is a funny thing and picks up on the smallest things and tends to expand on them. Good, bad, it goes to town on them. One negative person in an organization may be costing you thousands and thousands of dollars or more.
  • Plan for success by making sure that you think through what is going to happen once you get there.

But perhaps more importantly, there is a lesson in this for all of us. Now do you have to be sickeningly sweet and Politically Correct all of the time? No, and point in fact being PC all of the time can also have a negative effect on profits as well. But of course just use common sense. Don’t allow people to share being in a bad mood, or making negative non-productive opinions. Make them couch their speech in a positive fashion. This can take months to break bad habits but you will notice not only are people more productive, but they feel better about themselves.

Your expectations also play a large role in our own performance as well. You need to start expecting success in your business and in the rest of your life. Your outlook plays a large role in your conscious and subconscious actions whether you realize it or not. That is a reason why you should avoid negative people like the plague. Especially when you are in start up mode. Actually, you should avoid them all of the time. I put a link to it in the PS below.

That is not to say that thinking “I am going to do well” in your business is going to take the place of research and educating yourself, and work, but your expectation of doing well or mediocre may have a much larger impact on your success than you ever thought.

Thinking and expecting that you are going to get 8% returns versus 21.5% could be the difference between actually getting either result.

It might just be worth “thinking” about.

Have a wonderfully profitable day. And, I have faith in you. Now we just need to make sure you do as well. Plus, it can and will make a huge impact on how Happy your are in the future. Happiness is not a destination, but a choice we make.


Andrew “Easy” Anderson

PS Here is a link to another post talking about other people that have a negative attitude and why you need to avoid them. Money Magnet Or Crap Magnet

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