The University of Chicago did a compelling experiment in psychology with eleven men and women. These eleven did not know they were to be tested, while those around them did.
The idea was simple, each person that encountered the subject would tell them they didn’t look well.
At home Jim’s wife told him, ‘Honey, you don’t look so good, maybe you should call in sick.’
When he got to worker a co-worker told him, ‘You look kind of pale, are you feeling ok?’
Later another co-worker would share, ‘How are you feeling? You seem very tired.’ This continued for the time the person was at work as person after person in on the study would approach them and give them a similar comment.
As you have surely guessed, all eleven subjects felt sick by the end of the day, even though they were healthy when the day began.
A similar study was done with a football team who were told they had taken in contaminated food. By week’s end two players felt so sick they couldn’t get out of bed. You can learn of similar studies at Cleveland University.
Most people are familiar with the Pygmalion Effect, where random students were picked for an advanced class and the teachers were told the students were geniuses and needed to be challenged to excel. The students performed at a high level in meeting the expectations of the instructors, even though they had been chosen at random.
Beliefs are powerful, so guard your filter carefully, be aware of subtle inductions people make lest you take their beliefs on yourself. For instance, avoid stories about the ‘flu season’ and news reports that make grand generalizations.
Be careful what you tell yourself as well. Making comments like, ‘I am…’ are very influential to your mind and body, so choose your words carefully. If you end the sentence ‘I am’ with things like tired, depressed, angry, lonely, or sick you can be setting yourself up for a fall.
Instead choose to consistently use empowering words like, ‘I am’ strong, healthy, happy, magnificent, energized or passionate. These words send a different command to your nervous system. Protect the filter to your mind, take the garbage out and fill it with beliefs and language that serve you! Filter out the words others use that don’t serve your highest good either.
Use the Pygmalion Effect to your advantage, be your own standard bearer and raise your expectations of yourself. Give yourself an empowering psychology and consciously choose the words you say to yourself and others, and live with a belief that you can achieve the impossible.