How To Be Your Own Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Here’s a simple truth that packs a lot of punch:

Beliefs we have about ourselves and others serve as self-fulfilling prophecies.

It’s been proven in classrooms, time and again. If a teacher has the preconceived notion that a child is smart, that child is more likely to do well. If a teacher sees a child as deficient in some way, that child is more likely to struggle.

This proves that what we think about others — as well as ourselves — has an incredibly powerful effect on what actually happens in our lives.

Meaning, if you want a leg up on succeeding as a copywriter, you can improve your chance of success by creating self-fulfilling beliefs.

Why You Can Determine Your Own Reality

Before I go any further, though, let me make one thing clear. I’m not just talking about being optimistic or using what some call the Law of Attraction. Whether or not you believe those concepts can change your life (and I happen to think they can), the concept behind self-fulfilling beliefs is a little different.

For starters, we all live in our own social reality. In other words, our social beliefs and judgments control how we feel and act — they determine our reality. This is important, because as big-brained, conscious beings, we can’t just exist. We need social truths to steer our thoughts and actions.

In turn, these social truths dictate how we think and act. It’s what makes our goals possible or impossible. It’s what helps us decide whether or not we can do something.

Is Success A Cause Or A Consequence?

If your goal is to be a successful freelance copywriter, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure that happens.

It starts with believing in yourself. Unquestionably, that’s the most important step. After all, most social psychology studies show that when it comes to social interaction (including life in the freelancing world), the answer is yes — you get what you expect to a certain extent.

After that, you need to make sure others believe you’ll succeed.

Consider this: A 1975 study by social psychologist Richard Miller showed how much expectations can influence behavior. He proved this by looking at the amount of trash on the floor in two different elementary classrooms. In one, the teacher simply told the class to be neat and tidy. The result? The amount of litter placed in trash cans by kids went from 15% to 45%. But the effect was only temporary.

The second class was repeatedly congratulated for being neat and tidy, even though they started out with just as much trash on the floor as the first class. After hearing this praise for eight days, the kids started putting more than 80% of their trash in the trash can — and it was a lasting change.

Suffice it to say, the effect can be huge when someone else believes in you.

Living Up To What You Expect Of Yourself

Clearly then, it’s powerful to have a support network. Just keep in mind that positive expectations really need to start with what you believe you can accomplish.

That’s because there’s one situation where you won’t confirm someone’s expectations. It happens when you have a clear self-concept of who you are and what you can become. In that case, you can actually change the expectations of others — especially if they clash with your self-concept.

If you can make your goal to succeed as a copywriter loud and clear, your behavior won’t change based on other people’s doubts. Instead, it’s the perception other people have of you that will change.

Two Vital Steps To Reaching Your Goal

Let’s recap. On one hand, I’ve said you’re more likely to succeed if you have others around you who believe in and support you.

On the other hand, I’ve said the opinions of others don’t matter — and can in fact be changed — if your opinion of your own abilities is well established.

Sound counterintuitive?

It’s not. What it comes down to is this: You’ll experience your best chance of succeeding — and fast — if you use both tactics.

In terms of people supporting you and believing in you, your best bet is to connect with others who have been through the same thing. You’ve got to find people who understand the life and goals of a freelance copywriter. People who know what it takes.

In contrast, your own belief in yourself becomes vital when you’re dealing with people who don’t quite “get” this freelancing, work-at-home, be-your-own-boss kind of thing. Usually, these are folks who aren’t sure what copywriting is in the first place and don’t understand how you can make a living from it.

Use the encouragement you get from the first group to fire you up and change the opinions of the second. Over time, you’ll bring about a powerful self-fulfilling prophecy that has you landing on the high side of earnings as a successful freelance copywriter.

Think You’re Ready For Real Change?

If there’s one place you can start building your own powerful self-fulfilling prophecy, it’s AWAI’s annual Bootcamp.

Truthfully, you could go to any of the copywriting conferences or live events to experience the same effect. I recommend Bootcamp simply because it’s the biggest, most informative, most colorful event of them all.

It’s a place where you’ll connect with like-minded folks who share your dream. Not only that, but they’ll want you to succeed. Knowing others who continuously move forward in this world actually makes your own journey easier — largely because you can learn from and bounce ideas off each other.

On the flipside, going to Bootcamp shows everyone else in your life that your commitment is real. It also makes it obvious that this isn’t a pipe dream. After all, a professional conference with 400+ people and a packed schedule over the course of three days is a complex affair created for those ready for real change; it’s not for dabblers.

Build Self-Fulfilling Prophecies Around Your Goal

You can learn more about Bootcamp here, and my own personal experience there (it’s the reason I was able to make six figures last year).

Either way, remember that social beliefs are self-confirming. Repeatedly hearing something — especially if it’s positive — makes you want to live up to that label.

Your take-home message is this: There’s real power in self-fulfilling prophecies. After all, you get from others what you expect of them. And, when you connect with others who understand your goals, support them, and believe you can accomplish them, it helps you become the person they imagine you to be.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: April 26, 2011

3 Responses to “How To Be Your Own Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”

  1. Nice job Mindy. Combining contemplation and action is a fundamental key to success -- and your article spells out why!

    Brian WApril 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm

  2. Mindy, you're a woman after my heart. I need the likes of you as a personal coach. I know I could get somewhere with you in my corner.

    I'd love to correspond with you one on one.God bless you for all you do. Marilyn!!

    Guest (marilyn)April 27, 2011 at 9:27 pm


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)