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Why Beliefs Are Extremely Crucial To Success

Understanding the pygmalion effect

Ayodeji Awosika
5 min readDec 12, 2021


I wish I could remember the exact source of this story, but I know from memory that I read it and it’s actually true. Here’s how the story goes. There was a woman teaching in an inner-city school. The inner-city school was notorious for the things inner-city schools are notorious for — lack of resources, overworked teachers, and ultimately failed students.

And most people wouldn’t blame the students for doing so poorly in their school work. After all, look at their environments. They were destined to fail, right? Well, not according to this teacher. Instead of coddling her students or trying to dumb down the material so that they’d get it, she simply demanded more of them.

She had grade school students reading advanced literature well above their grade level. A class that formerly was full of failing students now had students who excelled beyond the wildest expectations of everyone except for the teacher.

Sadly, you can see how the exact opposite scenario might play out. Across the country, there are certainly a bunch of students who fail because of low expectations from their authority figures. No one expects them to succeed, so they don’t. And this is a problem we have in society as a whole. This is a problem I’ve continued to talk about over and over again.

See, it’s not just the fact that in many ways society is set up for you to fail, but you also have to deal with the psychological component of low expectations that comes with it. Society assumes you’re destined to say in the same position, so you assume it. So does everyone else around you. Soon, being mediocre becomes normal. And often you’re made out to be insensitive if you expect more of yourself and other people.

Like I often say, I’m not optimistic about the collective, but I’m optimistic about you. Why? Because I know the power of this concept all too well.

The Pygmalion Effect: How to Create a Positive Self-Fulling Prophecy

“The Pygmalion effect, or Rosenthal effect, is a psychological phenomenon wherein high expectations lead to improved performance in a given area.”



Ayodeji Awosika

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