The Pygmalion effect is a concept based on a simple principle which is the more you believe in yourself, the more likely you are to succeed. In fact, it allows you to increase your chances of success and performance by believing strongly in yourself. But where does this name come from and how can applying such a self-fulfilling prophesy help you?
Origin and etymology of the Pygmalion effect
In psychology, the Pygmalion effect is a “self-fulfilling prophecy” based on the fact that a person’s self-judgment can influence and condition their behaviour. This concept is also called the Rosenthal effect, after the psychologist who invented it.
In Greek mythology, Pygmalion was the name of a Cypriot sculptor who made a statue of a woman so beautiful that he fell in love with her. The goddess of love, Aphrodite, was so touched that she granted the statue, named Galathaea, life. This incredible story is an example of overcoming judgement and believing in one’s dreams in order to see them come true. Similar to autosuggestion, the Pygmalion effect can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.
What did the experiment consist of?
In order to reach a conclusive finding, Rosenthal’s initial experiment involved students who were convinced that they had been given a rat selected on the basis of their intellectual abilities when in reality, the selection was random. However, this did not prevent the fact that the students’ belief in the superior intellectual capacity of their rats improved the latter’s performance.
The same experiment was carried out on children, particularly in the area of schooling. Tutors who believed that the students in their charge had superior intellectual capacity achieved better results.
What can be achieved by applying the Pygmalion effect concept?
Studies show that the Pygmalion effect is an effective performance lever. Firstly, it improves self-confidence, which in turn reduces anxiety and fear of failure. It also enhances well-being and mental health, which can make you feel better and more motivated, whatever the challenges ahead.
As well as having a positive view of the future, you will be more committed to your personal development and the achievement of your goals. Just like Pygmalion, shaping your dreams in a concrete and precise way increases your chances of making them come true.