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  • Writer's pictureDeLynn Jacobsen

The Power of Pygmalion

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

The Pygmalion effect, named for a Greek sculptor who fell in love with his statue (see also Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady), is the phenomenon of others' expectations that influence one's performance. The effect is so powerful that Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobsen (1968) (no relation) actually proved that a teacher's expectations influence student performance. The effect works both ways, ie expecting a student to be a a total success can come to pass or expecting a student to be a complete failure can create a failure.

Likewise, Law of Attraction (The Secret, Rhonda Byrne 2006) claims that beliefs/thoughts can directly change a person’s life. That is, whatever we believe, whatever we focus on - can become reality.

It’s invigorating, empowering and powerful. The key parts are to have a strong belief and to focus on it as a reality, as if it was already happening. We would remove negative words, ie “don’t, no, stop”, etc. and we'd focus solely on what we want. For example, let’s say I want to start a business but I’m unemployed at the time. Using the law of attraction, I would not be focused on being unemployed, as in, “I have no job”, “I have no money”, “I feel hopeless”, “nothing will work”. Also, I would not be applying for jobs. Instead, I would envision my fruitful business, lots of clients, flexible work schedule and I'd fasten a $100,000.00 check, made payable to DeLynn Jacobsen, on the fridge. I'd do the footwork and surround myself with my vision. (Here’s the great part): because I believe in it, others start to believe it too. Now they’re checking in, “How’s the business going?”; “Are you so excited?”; “When do you open?” - even though I may be sitting in my pajamas midday still working on it. See? Everyone else believes in it because I believe in it.

Underlying the psychological benefits of the law of attraction and Pygmalion effect, physiological components ramp up. Scans show that parts of the brain will light up when we are hopeful, when someone believes in us and when we believe in something. The opposite happens when we are hopeless. For example, when we are stressing out about life, survival and basic needs, the brain goes into fight or flight mode wherein systems function at survival mode.

“In response to acute stress, the body's sympathetic nervous system is activated due to the sudden release of hormones. The sympathetic nervous systems stimulate the adrenal glands triggering the release of catecholamines, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline. This results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. After the threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to its pre-arousal levels.” But what if the threat doesn't go away?

For those of us who foster the law of attraction in all areas of life, the CoVid-19 panic makes perfect sense. Here’s why; when we believed we would run out of toilet paper, we did. When we all truly believed we would be fine, we were fine. We saw very few cases in the US, a handful of sick people and no deaths. However, once the media ramped up the panic, told us how sick everyone is, shut everything down, created a streamline of death and doom, listed symptoms and focused only on the CoVid mortality rate (instead of the survival rate), the testing and pandemonium, cases in the US spiked and many people started to believe they were sick. In fact, most people want to get tested. Why? Just to know you have it? And then what will happen? Knowing you have it does nothing to help. It just reinforces sickness and symptoms (see law of attraction). Guess what else it does; it keeps your system in fight or flight thereby compromising your ability to stave off illness.

Yes, sure there’s an element of protecting others. But we’ve always had measures in place to stay healthy; stay home when sick, cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing, wash your hands often for 15-20seconds with soap and water and go to the hospital when you’re having trouble breathing. This is nothing new.

However, stop and look at what’s happened. We are all locked in our homes, the economy is crashing, our country is closed, the world is on lockdown and all we hear is that’s it’s going to get worse. “Thousands of more deaths!” We are being brainwashed into believing something that may or may not happen. To believe I will die from CoVid-19 (or anything else) can speed up the process and keep my system in fight or flight which decreases the ability to stave off illness.

We can't possibly know so let's believe we are ok. I’m a believer in the human body and spirit. I believe we will overcome this. I believe we are well and know what to do when we are sick. I believe in life and happiness.

At the end of this, even if I die from it, I will have spent my last few weeks believing in life and feeling positive.

So believe in life, write this on your mirror, "I am healthy and well!", wash your hands, watch or listen to uplifting media (not the news) and breathe deeply for 30 seconds 3 times a day.

Believe this: You matter. You’re important. You’re relevant. You’re valuable. You're healthy and well!

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