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  • Antony Wilder

A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Parnonas Artist Residency, Greece.

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


Marc Quinn's, Blood Head, 2013. National Portrait Gallery London.


When we find ourselves trapped in the "it's not worth doing" attitude, we often develop a pessimistic lens through which we view our capabilities and the world around us. This lens distorts our perception, making us prone to anticipating failure even at the outset of any endeavour. This anticipation is grounded in a deep-seated belief that our efforts are futile and won't lead to the desired outcomes.

As a result, we may hesitate to take action or commit to their goals.


We must work on time, avoid challenges, or sabotage our efforts before they begin. This avoidance behaviour is a form of self-preservation, an attempt to shield ourselves from the perceived pain of failure. By avoiding situations that could lead to disappointment, we maintain a semblance of control over their emotional well-being.


However, the irony is that this avoidance reinforces a belief that we cannot achieve success. Each time we sidestep a challenge, we validate our negative expectations and inadvertently reinforce the pattern of helplessness. We fail to recognise that this cycle keeps us trapped in a self-fulfilling prophecy, where the negative beliefs become the reality we experience.


This pattern has far-reaching consequences that extend beyond the immediate context. The impact on motivation is profound. The anticipation of failure drains our incentive to attempt something new, as the expected negative outcome overshadows any potential reward. Consequently, our self-esteem takes a hit as we internalise a narrative of inadequacy and inability to achieve our goals. This negative self-perception can spill over into various aspects of life, eroding their confidence in different domains.


Moreover, this mindset takes a toll on our overall well-being. Chronic stress and anxiety can arise from the constant fear of failing and the pressure to avoid anything that might trigger those feelings. Over time, this can lead to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and even depression.


Try to unravel the underlying cognitive and emotional factors contributing to this mindset. By identifying the root causes, we can challenge the distorted beliefs that fuel this pattern of behaviour. Gradually, we would reframe the perspective on challenges and setbacks, helping us see obstacles as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable barriers. This process of cognitive restructuring, coupled with building a supportive environment and cultivating self-compassion, can empower individuals to break free from the shackles of learned helplessness and embark on a journey of positive change.


Overcoming the "it's not worth doing" pattern has profoundly enriched my life. As I shed the weight of anticipating failure and embraced the possibility of success, I discovered a renewed sense of purpose and motivation that breathed life into my pursuits. Each step forward became a testament to my resilience and determination, eroding the barriers that once held me back.


Reframing obstacles as challenges to overcome infused my path with excitement and a hunger for growth. With each accomplishment, my self-esteem flourished, and a newfound emotional well-being became tangible.

This transformation cascaded into my relationships, as my increased confidence and positive outlook radiated through my interactions.


Breaking free from this pattern was not merely a shift in mindset; it was a rebirth of self-belief and an affirmation that I am the author of my narrative. Through this journey, I discovered the limitless potential within us when we dare to challenge our limitations and embrace the vast expanse of our capabilities.


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