Expectations...

Expectations shape reality.

Once upon a time, far away in China, there was a large walled city. The gatekeeper was a venerable old man, kind and respected by those in the city for his wisdom.

One day, a stranger came to the gate, and upon being let in by the gatekeeper, he asked what kind of people he would find there.

"What kind of people do you expect to find," asked the gatekeeper?

"I expect to find rogues and thieves." answered the visitor.

"That is what you will find," said the gatekeeper. Then the visitor went on his way into the city.

Later another stranger came to the gate, and as he entered, he also asked the gatekeeper what kind of people he would find there.

"What kind of people do you expect to find," asked the gatekeeper?

"I expect to find industrious, honest, and kind people." answered the visitor.

"That is what you will find," said the gatekeeper. Then the second visitor went on his way into the city.

Both visitors soon discovered that the gatekeeper was indeed a wise man, for his words were true.

How can this be?

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Perhaps you will find that the answer to this is obvious, but anyway here is an explanation...

It is a well-known fact that when one person trusts another person, then the other person is more likely to trust the first. This is sometimes called the "trust response." It is also known that people often try to live up to expectations, so as to avoid disappointing their friends and acquaintances.

The second visitor, who went into the city expecting to find kind, honest people, would tend to encounter them for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he may frequent the kinds of places within the city where they are found, just as he would likely do in his own city. Secondly, his own expectation becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy, because he is more likely to trust others and expect good results. Therefore he brings out the best in the people he meets.

Similarly, the first visitor finds what he is looking for. He treats people with suspicion and distrust, they treat him likewise.

Thus, the gatekeeper gave correct information in both cases.



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