“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.”
In 1948, sociologist Robert K. Merton coined the term self-fulfilling prophecy to describe the phenomena of beliefs influencing behavior: if people believe that an idea is true, they will behave as if it is true, thus eventually making it true. Reality, then, is subjective. In any situation, people react not only to what is happening but also to what they perceive is happening. For example, if you believe that you do not perform well during in-person interviews, you will arrive at an interview feeling nervous and awkward, expecting the worst. As a result, the interviewer(s) might see you as unenthusiastic and disengaged, which in turn will negatively impact the outcome of the interview. The not-so-stellar performance will only confirm your original belief that you don’t do well during in-person interviews, and thus the cycle continues. So prior to an important presentation, an interview, or an exam, in addition to studying and practicing, remember to also think that you can do well.