Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, think I’ll go an eat worms….! These are the first words of a children’s nursery rhyme, made popular in the mid-1970s by the punk band, The Boys. But it’s also the song my mother sang to me whenever I was feeling sorry for myself. It was basically her way of saying, “oh for goodness sake, stop being so down in the dumps and feeling negative – pick yourself up and get on with life…!” I suspect many other mothers and fathers sang this song in a similar way.
What the song suggests is that if we feel negative, we ARE negative. If we feel sorry for ourselves, we BECOME sorry for ourselves. We are what we think.
How many times have people said to you “I’m no good with technology” only then to seemingly prove it by cocking-up their mobile phone. “Told you so,” they proudly say. People are “no good” with technology if they say they are no good; it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And you see this kind of thing happening every day online. People say “There’s no point in joining Twitter because no-one will follow me” or “I’ve tried using LinkedIn but no-one is interested in what I have to say”. Then there are the people who say “We’ve tried making money online, but we just can’t do it”. All of these are self-fulfilling prophecies – if you say you can’t succeed online, guess what? You won’t..!
However, new research suggests all is not lost. The study from psychologists in Canada shows that even with one simple intervention, the impact of the self-fulfilling prophecy can be virtually eliminated for several weeks.
It appears that simply telling yourself that YOU WILL get followers on Twitter or that people WILL listen to you on LinkedIn or that you WILL earn money from your website is all going to make it happen.
Clearly this is not something that works through the ether or via telepathy. What happens is that it changes YOUR behaviour. Self-affirmations – telling yourself that you WILL succeed – make you more likely to do the right things which attract people to follow you or to take an interest in what your business is selling online. Making the assumption no-one is in interested tends to make your behaviour less positive, more cautious and you don’t do the right things to appear attractive to people.
Think of it like this – when you were a teenager and you wanted to go out with someone, if you sat on the sidelines, assumed they would never be interested in you all that happened was that you were a witness to them being snapped up by your love rival. “That proves it,” you’d say to yourself, “girls/boys just don’t like me”. But if you didn’t sit on the sidelines, if you took an active part in your youth club activities, you found yourself the centre of attraction with loads of potential dates. Thinking you were “no good” merely meant you were.
The same is true online – assume you will succeed, whether with social media or online money-making, and you will. And as the new research from Canada shows us, if you are in any doubt, simply keep telling yourself you are good at online business and you will become so.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+