You can be what you want: The Galatea Effect

by gaetano
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Everybody knows that what we do in life shapes what we get. If you exercise regularly you stay in shape. If you well admin your finance you likely have more money. If you do the right things with your partner you get a better relationship, and so on..

But, not everyone is aware that what you do is really driven by what you think and believe, particularly the hidden beliefs which help us make sense of the world and ourselves.

It is not easy to knows our beliefs because they usually appear disguised as facts, and we have to deeply listen to ourselves to discover them.

It is something like having a “thinker” and a “prover” in the mind: whatever the thinker thinks, the prover will prove. Furthermore, other people prove what another thinker thinks!

We have already seen (What others think of you can become your reality) how what you believe about others affects what they do. This exchange work in two ways continuously with verbal, and non-verbal communication.

The ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’

An example could be a woman who believes that all her relationships are doomed to failure. Subconsciously she does little things that bring the relationship to failure, and when it ends, it confirms the belief. She helped to ‘fulfill the prophecy’.

We already talked about the Pygmalion effect, but even more powerful in the Galatea effect. If an employee thinks she can succeed, she will likely succeed. Consequently, any actions the supervisor can take that increase the employee’s feelings of positive self-worth, will help the employee’s performance improve.

One of the most valuable NLP presuppositions is: “every person already has all the necessary resources to affect any desired change”.  What this means is, if a person wants to change in any way, they can do it! They have all the inner resources. They may lack the “how” but they have the capability.

We can catch our beliefs through our words, particularly the labels we assign to things. A label is a generalization of many perceptions (beliefs, behaviors and experiences) that help us divide up our world into neat little packages and know just how to act for each. We respond to these aspects, changing our realities around the label.

Who is labeled “smarter” tend to act smarter, who is treated as insane may begin to act that way, and who is labeled as “beautiful” behave as beautiful. Changing a label can open up many interesting possibilities.

What many of us try to do though is to keep our existing labels and make changes in behavior.

So if we are too fast we should slow down. If we drink too much we should stop. If we are fat and lazy, we should start exercising.

The problem is,  that the desire of changing contains the seeds of our existing label and vice versa. Everything contains the seeds for it’s opposite inside of itself: this is the reality of dualism.

So instead of saying that we “want stop smoking” we might go for a new label as a “I want to be an healthy and  active person”. So, when you want to make a change, you have to think what new label would you give yourself as a person who already has those new behaviors naturally.

Ask often yourself what you want to be and than select the most appropriate label..

Who you want to be?


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