Self- Expectancy is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is the idea that what you fear or expect most will likely come to pass; the body manifests what the mind harbors. True self-expectancy is synonymous with commitment, purpose, faith, obsession, a burning desire. It is the single most outwardly identifiable trait demonstrated by a winning human being. Positive self-expectancy is pure and simple optimism, in the face of all odds. Self-expectancy is the key to motivation. It begins where the self-image leaves off. It takes the words, pictures, and emotions of imagination, and fuses them into energy and action by commitment. Winners have positive self-expectancy which creates desire. They are dissatisfied with the status quo. They won’t change for the better.


Many people have the mistaken idea that personal motivation is an option, like an hors d’oeuvre that can be taken or left alone. But everything an individual does, whether positive or negative, intentional or unintentional, is a result of motivation. Everyone is self-motivated, a little or a lot, positively or negatively. Even doing nothing is motivation.

Motivation is a much-maligned, over-franchised, over-promoted, and misunderstood term. The word motive is defined as that within the individual, rather than outside, which incites him or her to action; an idea, a need, a notion, or organic state that prompts an action. Motivation is a force that moves us to action, and it springs from inside the individual. Defined as a strong tendency toward or away from an object or situation, it can be learned and developed. It does not have to be inborn.

For too long, however, it has been wrongly assumed that motivation is extraneous, that it can be pumped in from the outside through incentives, pep talks, contests, rallies, and sermons. Such activities do provide concepts, encouragement, awareness, and inspiration for individuals to turn on their creative powers (but only if they want to). And that is the secret. Lasting change is effected only when the need for change is both understood and internalized. Until the reward or incentive has been interpreted and internalized, it has motivating power.

The real winners in life are people who have developed a strong positive self-expectancy. They have the ability to move in the direction of the goals or images they set, or roles they want to play and will tolerate little distraction. In the face of discouragement, mistakes, and setbacks, this inner drive or commitment keeps them moving upward toward self-fulfillment.


Self-expectancy is an emotional state. The great physical and mental motivators in life—survival, hunger, thirst, revenge, love—are all charged with emotion. Two key emotions dominate human motivation with opposite, but equally dramatic results: fear and desire.

Fear is the most powerful negative expectancy and motivating force in the human system. It is the great compeller and the great inhibitor. Fear restricts, tightens, panics, forces, and ultimately destroys plans and defeats goals. Fear vividly replays haunting experiences of failure, pain, disappointment, or unpleasantness and is a dogged reminder that the same experiences are likely to repeat themselves. The consuming prison words of the fearful person are likely to be: “I have to” (the compulsion);“I can’t” (the inhibition); “I see risk”; and “I wish.” Negative tension, induced by fear, creates distress, anxiety, sickness, and hostility. Carried to extremes, psychologists believe, it can cause mental illness and even death.


Desire, conversely, is like a strong, positive magnet. It attracts, reaches, opens, directs, and encourages plans and achieves goals. Desiretriggers memories of pleasure and success and excites the need to replay these and to create new winning experiences. The consuming words of the optimistic person are likely to be: “I want to; I can; I see opportunity; and I will.” Desire is that emotional state between where you are and where you want to be. Desire is a magnetic, positive tension. Positive tension, produced by desire and expectancy, is like a bow pulled taut to propel the arrow to the bullseye.

Is tension or stress good or bad? It is good or bad, depending on whether you are optimistic or fearful. Stress is the response to any demand made on the body, and there is both good stress and bad stress. In a totally tension-free state, you are either comatose or dead. What individuals actually need is not a tensionless state, but the striving and struggling for a goal that is worthy of him or them.


Rather than seek out all the new fad movements in an attempt to try to discover ourselves, we should get back to the basics in life and perhaps even refresh our memories that history’s teachings have never changed. The best self-help book of all, of course, the Bible, says it all, opines Dr. Denis Waitley.

According to him, one maxim coming from the Bible that has been passed on through the centuries that has never changed in meaning is the one that is indelibly etched in his mind as the greatest of all winning and attitudinal statements: “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he!” All of the self-help books from Dale Carnegie to Napoleon Hill to Maxwell Maltz to Wayne Dyer, spring from this one proverb, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”As I think, I am.”

Many businessmen and salesmen through the years have been motivated byEarl Nightingale’s record of “The Strangest Secret.”In addition, “The StrangestSecret” in motivation is the fact that we, literally, become what we think about most of the time.“This declaration touches all of us without discrimination. The promise is the same for the inquisitive youth, the ambitious man or woman, the nurturing mother, Islamic, or Christian.”As you see yourself in the heart of your thought, in your mind’s eye, so you do become.

Since we always move in the direction of our currently dominant thoughts, those thoughts that we are thinking of most, it is imperative to concentrate our thoughts on the condition we want and expect to achieve rather than try to move away from what we fear or do not want. Simply stated, winners focus on concepts of solutions, rather than on concepts of problems. The mind cannot concentrate on the reverse of an idea.


What does all this have to do with self-expectancy and a winning attitude? Simply this, mental obsessions have physical manifestations. You become that which you fear, you get what you suspect, and you are that which you expect to be. The power of the self-fulfilling prophecy is one of the most amazing phenomena of human nature. The winner in life, believing in the self-fulfilling prophecy, keeps his or her momentum upward by expecting a better job, good health, financial gain, warm friendships, and success. The winner sees problems as opportunities to challenge ability and determination. The equal but opposite force, in the self-fulfilling prophecy, is optimism.

Winners see risk as an opportunity. They see the rewards of success in advance. They do not fear the penalties of failure. The winning individual knows that bad luck is attracted by negative thinking and that attitude of optimistic expectancy is the surest way to create an upward cycle and to attract the best of luck most of the time.

Winners know that so-called luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. If an individual is not prepared, he or she simply does not see or take advantage of a situation. Opportunities are always around, but only those who are prepared utilize them effectively. Winners seem to be lucky because their positive self-expectancy enables them to be better prepared for their opportunities.

Show More
Back to top button