There’s this strange human tendency to experience competing drives. Procrastination is a good example of this. You want to get something done, yet you experience a competing drive to just relax or avoid the task. The result is that your energy is not fully engaged in either relaxing or getting it done.
People can actually wear themselves out through this process of competing drives that goes on all day while they accomplish nothing! Competing drives can make you feel stuck. Competing drives can prevent you from putting your full skills and talents to work.
I bet you’ve experienced the frustration of repeatedly being treated as nothing more than a friend by a man you are deeply attracted to. If this has happened to you frequently, you may be experiencing competing drives that actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Allow me just a moment to make sure we’re on the same page about what a “self-fulfilling prophecy” actually is. It’s a situation where you believe something is likely to happen and end up causing the thing to happen because of your belief.
Some of you may have heard of the famous research study in which teachers were given false information about all of their students in their class regarding phony IQ tests that suggested some students had a lot of potential while others had very little potential. The teachers were given the information, but not the students. Each student was given some kind of classification that was purely random, not based on any measure of their intellectual aptitude.
You can probably guess what happened. As the researchers followed the students over many months, the students who had been predicted to do well began to excel academically. Teachers didn’t mean to do it, but their actions were unconsciously influenced by the fake data they had been exposed to. They began encouraging the “rising stars” non-verbally and in other subtle ways. The teacher’s belief in a student’s capacity caused him or her to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Now let’s get back to our discussion of competing drives. On the one hand, you have a drive to strut your stuff and attract the kind of attention you deserve from a man you have set your sights on. You have a desire mentally to take ownership of your attractiveness, to think of yourself as someone worthy of his attention. This sends a signal that causes him to evaluate you as a potential romantic partner.