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Chapter 2. The Magical Manipulative Ways... > It's Not the Difficult People, It's ... - Pg. 16

The Magical Manipulative Ways of the Difficult 16 Insider Secrets Some time ago, researchers looked at the power of expectations in classrooms. They assigned children to classrooms randomly, so no class was smarter or dumber than the others. They told half the teachers their kids were "smart" and the other half that their kids were "less smart." Then they measured how well the kids did. Although the kids in each class were equally smart, the kids labeled "less smart" did significantly worse than the kids teachers believed were "smart." In other words, our expectations affect how we behave and interact with others, and those others react to our behavior in ways that usually reinforce our expectations. The power of expectations was labeled the "Pygmalion effect." An Alternative--Focus on Behavior If labeling people as difficult is likely to create more difficulty, what exactly is the alternative? Good question. The answer is pretty straightforward. We can adopt a mind-set that doesn't focus on labeling people, but on identifying when difficult, manipulative, or hostile behaviors occur. We focus on behavior . To show you the difference, let's look at two different ways you might look at a person. Rather than