How self-fulfilling prophecies can unlock your energy

I have been reading a fascinating book about “self-fulfilling prophecies” – these are simply predictions that, by being made, cause their eventual realization. For example, when the media erroneously reported that there would be a gas shortage in California year ago, people began flocking to gas stations, filling up tanks that they would normally have left half empty. The rush of people to fill up their tanks caused long lines and, eventually, a shortage. But the shortage would never have come had no one predicted it.

 Such “self-fulfilling prophecies” are fascinating because they reverse the causal flow of time. We tend to think that the past determines the future – if you did not sleep much last night you will feel groggy today. But often causation is reversed – if you think you are about to win the lottery tomorrow you are energetic regardless of how much you slept!

I use this concept indirectly with all of my corporate strategy clients. Typically strategy is a process of using the past to predict the future: we grew 10% last year so we will grow 10% next year. But this prediction usually becomes a “self-fulfilling prophecy” because once we reach 10% growth we stop trying.

It is much more fun, more energizing, and more likely to lead to us reaching our true potential if we think about the future as having no necessary causal link to the past. What if you just got here, in this body, in this moment? What if you had no idea what happened yesterday, last week, how much you slept last night? What would you create your day to be?

Try that once; feel the energy it unlocks. The sense of exhilaration you feel being completely free from the past.






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About kaihan.krippendorff

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mohammad Yunus has said “Kaihan shows that with a compelling idea anyone can change the world,” and this message has made Kaihan Krippendorff one of the most sought-after business public speakers in the world. He is the CEO of Outthinker, a popular blogger, and author of four business books, most recently of Outthink the Competition. A former consultant with McKinsey & Co., he is now a highly demanded strategic advisor to a growing roster of leading corporations such as Aetna, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Nestle/Purina, and VMware. His keynote clients over the past year have included the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, Harvard Business Review, National Restaurant Association, Produce Marketing Association, Fortune Growth Summit, YPO, EO, Wharton Business School, Institute for Management Studies, National Gear Manufacturers Association, Precision Machine Products Association, American Bar Association, and Metal Services Center Institute. He conducts in-house, private talks for companies such as VMware, Microsoft, L’Oreal, Nestle/Purina, Kraft, United Technologies, and Aetna. Kaihan has been featured in key business media outlets, including BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, Fox Business, Fastcompany, PBS, and Bloomberg Radio. Kaihan earned MBAs from Columbia Business School and London Business School, a BSE in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania ’s Wharton School, and a BSE in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania ’s School of Engineering. He can be reached at


  1. I agree with Tiffany. Love this post! Well done and thank you 🙂

    Hmm… if I just got into this body today…?

  2. Kaihan, this is a wonderful concept. I am going to start prophesizing myself exciting futures starting… now! 🙂