Ellen Langer has pointed out that simply by suggesting to chambermaids that what they did for a living was exercise, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index.
That when the chambermaids saw themselves as people who exercised they acted as if they were people who exercised.
While it was reported that the chambermaids did not change their habits, we know that a placebo is powerful enough to change our behavior and even our chemistry.
It matters because if you never see yourself as someone who goes to college then why would you graduate from high school? It matters because if you don’t see yourself giving a TED talk then why would I ever apply for one?
Because when we see ourselves as someone who loses their temper, we ignore all the times we keep it in check. And if we label our child with Opposition Defiance Disorder then we only highlight the moments he is not compliant.
The truth is, we are not always defiant. We have moments of defiance.
The label is easy to embrace when we struggle to ask for compliance. We embrace the label because of how it makes us feel. We think it lets off the hook.
To prove a point, Ellen Langer reminds us that when we go to the eye doctor and read off the chart, that at some point we know there is going to be a line we cannot read.
You know what happens when we flip the chart around?
Our vision improves. Why? Because we know as we go down the chart we are expected to eventually read it. We are expected to eventually succeed. And it is enough to improve our vision.
It is the same chart but with different interpretations.
Teens are the same way.