Emotional Preparation: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

piano-ology-emotional-preparation-self-fulfilling-prophecy-featured-photo-from-nasa-on-wikimedia.org The Wright Brothers (Photo from NASA on Wikimedia.org)

Let’s assume, for the moment, that “talent” is some rare and special gift bestowed by the gods only upon a select and fortunate few.

Then, let’s consider the dangers that ensue from this mistaken belief…

  • Students who believe that they are “untalented”…
    • may believe that effort is pointless and give up trying.
    • may believe that they are not special and therefore not worthy of doing important things.
    • may believer that they are not special and therefore not responsible for doing important things.
  • While students who are labelled “talented” are often accorded special opportunities that are denied to those who are not, they too are in danger…
    • Those who are rewarded for their “talents” may adapt their behavior to maintain such rewards. Such dependency on extrinsic motivators is not necessarily in their interest.
    • Being labelled as “talented” may make one a slave to one’s gifts, instilling expectations that lead to unhealthy perfectionism and competition with others.
    • Believing that things should come easily to them may lead to despair as even “the biggest talents” discover their limitations.

As you can see, labeling people has profound implications for everyone… “talented” or otherwise.

All that said, no eleven words says it better…

“If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford

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