Self Fulfilling Prophecy

Dear Pogue,

Have you ever done one of those personality tests? So many employers seem to use them now. I suppose they believe it gives them an idea of what they‘re getting or what they’ve got. So, I came across a person who, having done a test discovered they were a so called “D”. You know what that is? Well in case you don’t “D” personalities are supposedly decisive and direct, erring toward dominance. They are big picture thinkers and want little or nothing to do with the details and will even ignore these when striving to reach their self perceived goal. They love being in charge and find accountability irksome. For someone like me who sees all the details (my blessing and my curse) they are a pain in the arse!

Does that sound unfair?

Well for this person being a “D” became a motivator, an excuse and a self fulfilling prophecy. What do I mean? Having taken in an overview of the personality type (probably ignoring the details) they began to justify their behaviour with statements such as: “Well, I’m a “D” and that’s what we do”. They didn’t want to get involved in the “get down and dirty stuff”, the details, the grind because “D’s” don’t do that. Whatever. No sooner was one project or direction decided then they had lost interest and were onto the next big picture activity because they had been told that’s how they behaved. That was life.

One example. But I come across so many people who are living a self fulfilling prophecy. Not necessarily a personality type but something that has been spoken over them at some point and they have believed it and done so with such energy that it now runs, and potentially ruins their life.

My greatest sorrow comes when I meet young people who’s sense of self worth is so damaged because someone has told them, often persistently, they will never add up to anything or worst still, they were not wanted. Their dreams are ridiculous. I so often want to take them and say “it’s not true, you have worth, you can achieve and have a fulfilling life”, break the circle. The circle is powered by the voice that arises in a persons head repeating the words that are now prophetic: “You’re nothing, you’re worthless, a failure, you’ll never be anything, no-one will ever love you” and so on. You remember a couple of letters back I quoted Stephen Chbosky: “We accept the love we think we deserve”? If you’ve been told over and over that no one will ever love you, what sort of love will you end up with? You’ll grasp at anything and that leads to one place and more misery. Then your prophecy will have fulfilled itself.

So many people have a prophecy. Some have been told that they have an impairment that will prohibit their life being played out as they wanted.

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someones inability to see your worth


You know that last year I climbed Kilimanjaro . Well as I prepared for the climb I came across a number of disabled people who had summited including a group of three American War Veterans who made the peak with one good leg between them. We don’t have to let our impairments define our ability.

Likewise, we don’t have to be a prisoner to our history. As I wrote in our last letter: “Life is not yet written”. Your history only defines the present and the future if you give it permission to do so. It’s hard to break the circle of thoughts that produce our failures and limit our self worth, make no mistake. But it is possible, sometimes by sheer bloody minded persistence, repeatedly telling ourselves we do have value and we can be more than we currently are.

My first advice is if at all possible get away from negative and toxic people. The naysayers suck. They’ll steal all the life from you. And the things they say are invariably a reflection of their state of being. They project their own failures on to others rather than encouraging potential. Everyone has potential. Most will never realise it and we should all be sad. What a place the world would be if everyone realised their full potential.

“Life is not yet written”. We all have a history that is written in stone. Ain’t going to change. But your history has only served to get you where you are today. Tomorrow is not yet written. Your choice. Will you let others write it? Screw that! Will you let your history determine it? Absolutely not. You must choose what you write. There may be many confining elements but the choice is still yours.

You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.


One of my favourite novels down the years is Shibumi by Trevanian. In a scene the main character Nicholai is imprisoned and is approached by an agent of the American Government . In the conversation the following is said:

“Okay. We need a job doing. You’re capable of doing it. We’ll pay you with your freedom”

“I have my freedom. You mean you’ll pay me with my liberty”

The point is, even in confining circumstances you can choose how you write life. I witnessed a child who, compelled to put on her seatbelt, stated: “I may be sitting down on the outside, but on the inside I’m standing up”.

Power to the girl!

Even if confined by someone or something we cannot be ruled inwardly unless we give permission. This is our freedom. If you can start no other place start here. Dream for tomorrow. Write the script. Talk down the voices that have for so long told you that you can’t. Choose to believe a new voice that says you can and let it repeat it’s promise over and over. Seize a new prophecy. And replay that prophecy over and over. Say it, write it down, whatever it takes. My friend is an alcoholic. She hasn’t drunk for over nineteen years now. She fought a massive battle to get where she is as does every reformed alcoholic. Everyday she gets up and confirms her commitment to sobriety and still meets with others to strengthen her resolve. She’s writing a better life day by day.

Whatever your “D” don’t let it define you.

Yours, writing a better future,


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