Life is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy by Denis Waitley

Denis WaitleyPositive self-expectancy is the first, most identifiable quality of a top-achieving, winning human being. It is pure and simple optimism: real enthusiasm for everything you do. And optimism is expecting the most favorable result from your own actions.

There never was a winner who didn’t expect to win in advance. Winners understand that life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And they know that you usually get what you expect in the long run. So winners accept the belief that hope and a deep, unbreakable faith—forged into a fundamental attitude of positive self-expectancy—is the eternal spring from which all creative, motivating energy flows.
The idea that faith conquers all has been verified from biblical times to current-day medical histories to daily stories of heroism and come-from-behind victories and rags-to-riches success we read about every day in the newspapers. They’re human biographies of greatness we read about, hear about, and watch on TV. And we marvel over these special people who pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.
Let me ask you this: Did it ever occur to you that you, also, are one of these special people? Well, you are! Most real winners in life are so busy contributing, they don’t even think of seeking publicity for their acts. Most are discovered by the media, caught in the act of winning. Only a few famous people are winners, and only a few winners will become famous people. That’s because success is a very individual thing. Success is the way you spend your minutes doing your best for others. It is the way you take the talent you were born with, and the knowledge and skills you have since developed, and use them fully, toward a purpose that makes you feel worthwhile, according to your own individual, internal standards.
In your quest for excellence, there are two powerful sets of great expectations affecting your life. First, there are the expectations that others have for you. Then there are expectations you have for yourself.

While we all try to rise to the expectations others have for us, there is no question that our limitations and success will be based, most often, on our own expectations for ourselves.


Winners expect another good day, a promotion, a raise, to find a parking place, a productive meeting, and a harmonious family life—and they usually get them. Winners know that their actions will be controlled by their current obsessions. Losers generally expect more of the same frustration, more problems, the loss of a job, a dull evening, bad service, and failure. Most importantly, losers expect to feel bad and get sick—and they do.
Optimism is a way of life. Here are techniques for generating a greater attitude of positive self-expectancy:
  1. Look at problems as opportunities—search for the favorable aspects of every situation.
  2. Learn to stay relaxed and friendly, no matter how much pressure and tension you’re under. In the beginning, it’s likely that you’ll have to fake it. But the truth is that both calmness and courage are learned habits, and there’s no better way to learn a good habit than by actually getting in and doing it and living it.
  3. In dealing with other people, instead of griping, try praising. In place of cynicism, try optimism. Instead of being unhelpfully critical, try being constructively helpful. You know these are learned habits, too. And everyone is dependent on others for at least part of their own positive self-expectancy.
  4. Get excited and enthusiastic about your own dream. This excitement is like a forest fire. You can smell it, taste it, and see it a mile away. Everybody loves a winner. But nobody crowds around a loser’s locker room. Don’t run around with the doomsayers who look up and shout that the sky is always falling.
Optimism and realism go together. They are the problem-solving twins. Pessimism and cynicism are the two worst companions.

Surround yourself with the “no-problem, can-do” type with big dreams like your own.

It’s the excitement of the big dream that carries you through the setback that you encounter. The single most outwardly identifiable quality of a winner is positive self-expectancy—optimism. It’s the key to good health. It’s the key to happiness, and it puts the favorable inclination toward the achievement of every goal you set. Positive self-expectancy is the winner’s edge.
Denis Waitley
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