Self-fulfilling prophecy of failure


Self-fulfilling prophecy of failure


your avatar   Selena, 30-year-old woman

I am a 30-year-old female. I am nearly always called "intelligent"...perhaps because I have eclectic reading habits and know a lot of trivia that astonishes people. However, I received only average grades at school. I also have a past record of doing poorly in written admission tests which mattered most to me (I can't even pass unimportant ones). Nevertheless, I generally do very well at interviews. I am pretty ambitious in my career.

I have been working for some time in a field which I dislike, and to aim for the kind of career I want I will have to pursue an extremely difficult course. I greatly desire do the course at a reputed university. However, since I am convinced even before writing any exam that I will fail, I can't gather up the courage to take the course.

How I can get over my paralyzing fear of written exams and my conviction that I will fail?


    Tina Reed, MA, LPC

Dear Selena:

You have a very pretty name, Selena. Let me assure you that your problem is not unique. Many of us fear taking an exam. I was a nervous wreck as my counselor's licensing exam approached. I have found that the best way to combat exam jitters is to try some relaxation exercises such as meditating and deep breathing. In addition to these stress busters, be sure to get a good night's rest and eat a well-balanced breakfast the next morning.

If you feel yourself getting nervous during the exam, stop for a few seconds, close your eyes, and take ten deep breaths. It is very soothing, relaxing, and refreshing. Best of all, it re-opens the mind and makes all of that exam preparation sink back in. Lastly, you have to BELIEVE that you will pass and have faith. If you know that you have properly prepared yourself for the exam, you must tell yourself that you will pass. Do not allow yourself to think of failure. Many times, what we fear usually comes to pass. Fear is doubt. You need to practice canceling doubt in your mind by replacing it with a positive mental attitude. I am sure you will do just fine. Don't let anything get in the way of your dreams!

And in answer to your title, you ARE creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, and you do not want to continue doing that to yourself. Best of luck in all of your endeavors.

This question was answered by Tina Reed, MA, LPC. Tina is a licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois, and is also certified by the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice.For more information visit:


Boost your linguistic intelligence with crossword puzzles, word games, or by reading more.
"Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting."
William Arthur Ward
There are no bad decisions, there are only learning experiences.