Imagine you’ve been asked to deliver a talk in your area of expertise at the upcoming TED Conference—an event where some of the most innovative and inspiring thinkers of our time present their visions to a live audience. What an opportunity! It’s a gift to be able to share what you do best with so many people. What a blessing…except for one thing, you are petrified at the idea of public speaking.
If you approach the situation feeling self-conscious, anxious, and awkward, the chances of you nailing the presentation are not very good. However, if you prepare for the experience by reminding yourself of your strengths and believing you can deliver a powerful presentation, you are far more likely to rise to the occasion. Your beliefs about yourself become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Kabbalists concur, believing that our consciousness creates our reality. In 1965, researchers, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, conducted an experiment at an elementary school that supports this notion. After administering a test to students in grades 1-6, they informed teachers of which students reflected “unusual potential for intellectual growth.” Unbeknownst to the teachers, the students were randomly chosen by Rosenthal and Jacobson with no relation to the test results. These students, about 20 percent of the student body, did not show any special talents or abilities. Yet, eight months later, when they were tested again, students marked for success scored remarkably better.
They called this the Pygmalion effect. The only difference between the students who excelled and the students who didn’t was in the mind of their teachers. Rosenthal and Jacobson assert that the expectations of the teachers resulted in measurable differences in academic achievement. The students internalized the bias of their teachers and matched their performance to meet expectations. Psychologists believe the findings of this study can be applied to other settings like the workplace, higher education, sports, or parenting.
Kabbalists believe that the Pygmalion effect works on ourselves as well and psychologists back this up. We are more successful in our endeavors when we truly believe that we can accomplish them. Our behavior and the consequential outcomes are determined by our expectations. “Our consciousness creates our reality,” says Michael Berg. “Do we know with certainty that if the Creator chooses us, we can become a complete channel for the Light of the Creator? If we do not, then, quite simply, that door is closed to us.”
Certainty is key to our success. Without it, doubt takes over and chips away at our potential. Over the course of our lives, the Creator will hand us tasks. Sometimes these tasks will challenge us. Yet, our job is to stay strong in our convictions that we can share, help others, and make the world a better place. Our lack of faith in ourselves is actually a lack of faith in The Creator. Our doubt negates our abilities and our potential rests on our certainty.
While an honest belief in our abilities to achieve results or create change is inherent to success, ego can actually be counterproductive. If you are so overconfident in your ability to deliver an outstanding talk at the TED Conference that you neglect to prepare, the talk may not go as well as planned. Our egos can run amok and turn self-assurance into over-confidence. Our better bet is to trust in the Light of the Creator while consistently working towards excellence, and let our positive consciousness mold our reality.