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Beating the Odds

Great expectations

Abraham Lincoln said, “If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.”

If you’re a leader of any kind — coach, teacher, boss — pay great attention to Lincoln’s words, because they are being confirmed by science.

You tend to get what you expect.

Intelligence, for example, seems to vary depending on who is interacting. When you’re with certain people, you feel smart. When you’re with others, not so much.

According to this New York Times article, psychologist Joshua Aronson thinks of intelligence not as a “lump of something that’s in our heads,” but as “a transaction among people.”

You can use this science to become a better leader. The more you expect, the more you get. Give people a sense of purpose and you can get miracles.

Remember what coach Herb Brooks said to the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team just before ending them out to play the heavily favored Soviet Union?

“You were born to be a player.”

Filled with this sense of themselves, the players shocked the Soviets and went on to win the gold medal.

If you expect the worst in people you will find it. But if you expect the best, you tend to get it!

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Would you like to improve at what you do? “The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice into Success” can show you how! Are you a coach? “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” can make you a better one. Looking for motivation? Read “Thank God You’re Lazy!: The Instant Cure for What’s Holding You Back.”


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