Expect a Miracle

It’s just a little card. It sits beside my bed. And it only has three words on it.

Expect a Miracle.

Whenever I feel my hope or faith hiccup a little, I remember these words. And it helps me refocus. Because those three little words remind me of two things.

Firstly, the many miracles that have already happened in my life. And the gratitude I feel.

And secondly, that what I expect to happen usually does.

Most people don’t realise how much our expectations affect what happens in our lives. What we experience. And once again there’s research to substantiate this. A wonderful book I am reading talks about a study in which a group of healthy volunteers were divided into two groups. Optimists and pessimists. In the first study they gave each group a placebo. Both were told it was a drug that would make them feel unwell. Does that ring any bells? Would it surprise you to know that the pessimists had a stronger negative reaction to the pill than the optimists?

And the reverse has been shown to happen too. When we expect good things, good things tend to happen.

But what is even more startling is that it’s not just my own expectations that matter. The expectations of those around me can affect me as well. A bunch of kids and an unsuspecting teacher proved just that some years back. A highly influential study done in the sixties primed a teacher that certain kids in the classroom would perform better than others based on their results in an achievement test. Truth be told they were just randomly chosen kids and the results on their achievement test had nothing to do with it. But at the end of the study the kids identified as ‘high achievers’ showed greater gains in IQ than any of the other kids… purely because the teacher expected them to. In other words the expectation of the teacher became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To me these sort of findings beg three important questions then in our own healing. About the effects and side-effects of treatments for example. And more importantly about our survival.

What does my doctor expect to happen to me?

What does my family expect?

What do I expect?

I often wonder how much things might change if we were all to shift our expectations…

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