Expectations Strongly Influence One’s Results

In the Rosenthal experiments, scientists went into elementary schools (grade 1 -4) to test the children’s intelligence. After much testing they uncovered really gifted children who were underperforming, but ready to breakthrough and become exceptional. They informed the teachers that these kids were fast spurters, meaning they would exhibit much better performance very shortly. They would go from being below average to being exceptional. They told the teachers not to tell the kids that they were special, “It might delay or short-circuit the breakthrough.”

All the tests that the scientists put their children through were just window dressing for the teachers benefit. The scientists didn’t look at the results of the tests, which meant they had no way of knowing which kids were smart. They just used the tests as a credibility booster so the teachers would truly believe the children were actual fast spurters.

Within a few months the children became top performers. The teacher’s high expectations that these children would become star performers subtly affected the way they interacted with them ensuring these children blossomed. This experiment proved that expectations have an impact on the results.

Here is another example, one of my heroes; Marva Collins who was an inner-city school teacher revolutionized teaching by utilizing expectations. The local school system catered to underprivileged and underachieving children. The main goal for the school system was to “warehouse” these kids because they thought these children weren’t capable of learning. Marva knew that setting low expectations was part of the problem so she left the school system to start her own school.

In an interview I watched, Marva said, “I wanted each child to REALLY BELIEVE they could succeed. Then I set really high expectations for them. The combination of high expectations and truly believing in themselves allowed them to succeed.

In Marva’s class if a child misbehaved she would ask them to go off on one side of the room and write down all of their wonderful attributes. They had to write an attribute for each letter of the alphabet (A-Z). When they rejoined the class the other kids warned them, “you better be good or she’ll make you write down another set of good things about you.”

Expectations have a profound impact on the results we achieve. Before you start out this week I want you to set high expectations of yourself and others around you and notice how much more productive you are. Happy Selling!

Leave a Reply