Jason Haney knows all too well what it’s like for kids to be stuck in a hospital. Haney’s daughter had a stroke while she was still in the womb. At the age of 3, she was diagnosed with brain damage that doctors said might permanently hinder her ability to learn beyond a third-grade level.
Haney remembers those extended stays in the hospital with his family and how hard it was to stay positive. So when he was hired to work on the construction project at Memorial Children’s Hospital, in South Bend, Indiana, the construction foreman did what he could to brighten the days of the children staying in the hospital.
It started with a snowman that Haney dressed up with a construction vest and hardhat.
“It was a huge hit,” Haney told ABC News.
But they didn’t get much snow after that, so Haney set up some inflatable snowmen and an inflatable Sponge Bob. As he was tying them down, one of the electricians joked that it would be funny if they had a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ on the site. When Haney got home, he immediately got to work on making a real-life Waldo character out of plywood and paint.
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By Travis Bradberry
Your expectations, more than anything else in life, determine your reality. When it comes to achieving your goals, if you don’t believe you’ll succeed, you won’t.
Research from LSU shows that people who believe in themselves use more metacognitive functions than those who don’t. This means that they use more of their brains and have more brainpower to solve problems. Metacognition is especially important for achievement as it ensures that you approach problems from many different angles and adapt your approach as needed.
The tricky thing about your expectations is that they impact other people too. As far back as the 1960s, Harvard research demonstrated the power of our beliefs in swaying other people’s behavior. When teachers in the studies were told that certain (randomly selected) children were smart, those kids performed better, not only in the classroom, but also on standardized IQ tests.
Indeed, we get the most out of other people when we believe in them. Research shows that this happens because when we believe in someone,
- We treat them better than people we think will fail,
- We give them more opportunities to succeed than we give those we think will fail,
- We give them more accurate, helpful feedback than we give others, and
- We do more teaching because we believe it’s time well spent.
Letting your doubts cloud your belief in someone (or something) practically ensures their failure. Medical professionals call this the “nocebo” effect. Patients who have low expectations for medical procedures or treatments tend to have poorer results than those who expect success, even with regards to well-established treatments. If a doctor uses a treatment with a clinically verified high rate of success but presents it in a negative light, the probability of a negative outcome increases.
Your expectations shape your reality. They can change your life, emotionally and physically. You need to be extra careful about (and aware of) the expectations you harbor as the wrong ones make life unnecessarily difficult. Be especially wary of the expectations that follow—they give people all kinds of trouble.
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