Be The Hero of the Story: Expect to Win
by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.
I knew a guy who used to have phenomenal luck finding prime, hard-to-get parking spaces. We were once looking for a shop on “M” Street in Georgetown in Washington, D.C. It’s a very crowded area where parking on the street is next to impossible.
I noticed a parking lot near the store, which was just ahead of us. When I pointed out the lot to my friend, he said, “That’s O.K., I’ll just find a spot in front of the store.” I laughed and shrugged. Let him find out for himself, I thought.
A minute later, he was parking his car directly at the front door of the shop and I was looking at him in astonishment. It was his turn to laugh. “I always get a spot in front,” he told me. “I’m the hero of the story.”
He went on to explain that in movies and t.v. you’ll notice that the hero of the story always drives right up to the place he’s supposed to go and parks his car in front. He had decided to act like the hero of the story and assume there would be a place for him. He had discovered that since most people assumed that they would not get such spots, they took other less desirable locations, increasing the odds that anyone who looked for the best spot first would get it.
That wasn’t my first lesson in how powerful positive expectations could be, but it’s one that stands out in memory. (Of course, it also means that negative expectations can be pretty powerful as well.)
Your expectations and beliefs dictate your behaviors. They determine even what you are able to do as well as what you actually accomplish. There is an old saying, "if you think you can or think you can't, you're right." My friend thought he could, so he tried. Thus he succeeded a great deal of the time.
There's a useful "trick" I learned a while back for acquiring a "can do" approach. If you want to make a successful change for the positive, you remind yourself of a great truth, based on everyday evidence: if someone else is able to do it, you can probably do it too. You may not be able to do it with exactly the same outcomes, but that's not the point. You start with the knowledge that it can be done, and then experiment with the various known methods for making it happen for you. You don't need to make constant unbelievable affirmations that it will work or that some law of attraction will naturally bring it to you. You simply need to know it can be done and believe that you could learn to do it as well.
And yes, it does have to be within the realm of actual possibility for you. You know if you are five feet, six inches tall you are highly unlikely to play professional basketball -- unless you form a whole new league wherein no one playing can be over six feet tall.
The technique works best if you start with accomplishments that are highly likely for you and proceed later to the more and more difficult. You get a chance to build some faith in yourself. And developing faith in yourself is critical to life-long success.
There's a famous quote that applies here, regardless of your subscribing to its source: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”