Henry Ford once famously said “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t; you’re right.” He knew that your belief in your capability determined what you would achieve. Not your skill, talents, education, or opportunities; your beliefs determine your future!
Expectations are powerful. We tend to perform according to expectations. Research has shown that expectations of an event can actually cause it to happen. Over fifty years ago Robert K. Merten, a sociologist at Columbia University, first documented the phenomenon of the self-fulfilling prophecy. The essence of the self-fulfilling prophecy starts with a belief that is not necessarily true at the time it is held. But, when the belief is acted on it tends to produce a situation that becomes true. Beliefs create reality.
Further research has documented that high expectations generally lead to high performance, while low expectations generally lead to low performance. What you expect of yourself and your team has a profound impact on the end result. Carl Sandburg said “Nothing happens unless first a dream.” A dream is nothing more than the seed of expectation. All human accomplishment, large and small, has resulted from someone daring to think it possible.
JFK challenged the nation to be the first to land a man on the moon. In doing so he set a standard, a benchmark. Henry Ford set an expectation for his engineering team to design a V8 engine. After failed attempts, when his team said that it couldn’t be done, Henry brought on new staff and the first V8 was born. His expectations never waned; he never lowered the standard. During the Apollo 13 mission, and the unforeseen difficulties, the on-ground flight commander Gene Kranz set the standard: “Failure is not an option!”
The bottom line is this: You get what you expect. If you expect little, you’ll get little. If you expect much, you’ll get much. Individuals achieve because they expect to achieve. Teams win because they expect to win. Companies succeed because they expect to succeed. One of the quickest and most effective ways to raise your level of performance is to raise your expectations. High performance is a direct byproduct of high performance thinking. Challenge your thinking, raise your standard, expect more and you will get it!
Success begins in your thinking. Greatness begins in your thinking. It then translates to your actions and materializes in your outcomes. We all have doubts, we all face challenges, that’s part of life. How you think about your situation often is the determining factor between success and failure. Train yourself to focus on the opportunities, the learning, the growth, the possibility. Learning to think successfully is not something we are necessarily born with, it’s something you will need to cultivate and develop. The Bible encourages us to think about whatever is true, whatever is noble, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. In other words, focus your mind on what is good and what is productive, and things that lead to a successful and joyful life.
Expect greatness this 12 Weeks!