比馬龍效應

By Jim Langley

1970年代中期當我在人力資源工作時,有人告訴我「比馬龍效應(Pygmalion Effect)」的重要性,這個觀念是強調「期待你的員工有最佳表現」。那是1971年羅勃.羅森塔爾和理諾.傑克森(Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson)在一項研究中所提出的主張,所以也稱為羅森塔爾效應,這理論說,你對別人的期待愈高,通常他們的表現會愈好。

這個心理學現象是根據希臘神話中的一個角色-比馬龍,來命名。神話內容是,比馬龍愛上自己所刻的雕像,然後那雕像就活了起來。蕭伯納將這故事寫入他的舞台劇中,後來勒納與羅維(Lerner and Loewe)將此劇改編成電影及歌劇「窈窕淑女」。受到這觀念的啟發,過去40年來我在辦公室內掛著一句話:「期待最好的」,即使在我尚未認識耶穌基督的時候,我也認為,提醒人要有正向的態度,能為別人的生命帶來強而有力的改變。今天,身為耶穌的跟隨者,我能夠看到這理念更大的價值。

我們對自己和別人的期待常常低於上帝對我們的期待。這世界上有這麼多負面的事件,我們很容易對自己是否真能發揮潛力感到灰心。但期待最好的事對我而言是很自然的,因為我一向是個樂觀主義者,我屬於比較高興看到杯子裡還有半杯水,而不是懊惱地看見杯子空了一半。不過即使擁有最正面思考的人也有感受困難的時刻。

在我從事保險銷售的職場生涯中,我專注在與人會面,因為我知道只要每週我會面的人夠多,我成交的比例也就越高。我很快就學會要期待最好的,然後我選擇了一位最棒的鼓勵者加入我的團隊:耶穌基督在我新的職業生涯步入第8月時進入我們的生命中,他為我和我的部屬帶來無法衡量的改變。

我從來不認同所謂的「成功神學」,但我在讀聖經時了解到,上帝期待我們每個人無論做任何事都能做到最好。這就是為何我完全同意使徒保羅在歌羅西書3章23-24節所說的話:「無論做甚麼,都要從心裏做,像是給主做的,不是給人做的,因你們知道從主那裏必得著基業為賞賜;你們所事奉的乃是主基督。」

聖經也教導,勤勞且盡心地做到最好一定會得到肯定:「你看見辦事殷勤的人嗎? 他必站在君王面前, 必不站在下賤人面前。」(箴言22章29節)。

從1998年起,我就奉行這個座右銘:「在此服事」,我在每封信的結尾都寫上這句話。這對我是一個不斷地提醒,提醒我上帝期待我將最好的給祂,也給我的客戶。我在此最先要服事上帝,也要服務我的客戶。有正確的態度和認知,為我的職業生涯帶來極大的改變,因此這32年來比起早年,我更能樂在工作。

知道上帝期待並想要我們做到最好,我想我們需要問自己一些困難的問題:我們在工作中是否做到最好?我們是否將最好的獻給我們的家庭和所愛的人?在我們所做的一切事和擔任的所有角色中,我們是否呈現出最好?我們是否將自己最好的獻給上帝?

在期待最好的情況下,我們如何能成功?我想「專注最好的事物」就是答案。如腓立比書4章8節教導我們:「弟兄們,我還有未盡的話:凡是真實的、可敬的、公義的、清潔的、可愛的、有美名的,若有甚麼德行,若有甚麼稱讚,這些事你們都要思念。」

吉姆.朗立自1983年起就擔任紐約人壽的保險經紀人和特許人壽保險承銷商,從1987年起他也是美國加州聖塔巴巴拉CBMC分會的活躍會員。

省思/討論題目
你是否聽過「比馬龍效應」,或者看過舞台劇「比馬龍」,或電影、歌劇「窈窕淑女」?你對於總是努力期待別人有最好的表現,有甚麼看法? 知道上帝期待你不論在職場、在家中、或在其他的個人追尋中,都有最佳表現,這是甚麼意思? 我們要怎麼有效地期待別人有最佳表現,並以積極、肯定的方式傳達給他們? 在本篇「週一嗎哪」最後作者問了一些困難的問題。你會如何回應--你是否做到最好?是否把你最好的獻給上帝、你的家庭和你所愛的人,或者你自己?為什麼?若你想要看或討論聖經中有關此主題的其他經文,請看:箴言10章5節,27章23-27節,28章12節;加拉太書6章9-10節;腓立比書3章12-14節,彼得前書5章2-4節

THE “PYGMALION EFFECT”
By Jim Langley

While working in human resources during the mid-1970s I was introduced to the “Pygmalion Effect,” a concept that emphasized the importance of "expecting the best" from your employees. It was based on a 1971 study by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, also known as the Rosenthal Effect, which simply states that higher expectations of people can often lead to improved performance.

This psychological phenomenon was named for the Greek mythological character, Pygmalion, who according to the story fell in love with an ivory statue he had carved that later came to life. George Bernard Shaw took the idea a step further in his stage play, “Pygmalion,” followed by film versions of “My Fair Lady,” and a musical by Lerner and Loewe. Inspired by this idea, for the past 40 years I have displayed a small sign in my office that says, "Expect the Best." Even in the years I did not know Jesus Christ, I believed it was helpful being reminded a positive attitude can make a powerful difference in the lives of others. Today, as a follower of Jesus, I can see even greater value in this philosophy.

Our expectations for ourselves and others are lower than God’s expectations for us. With so much negativity in this world, we can easily become discouraged from reaching our true potential. Expecting the best has been more natural for me, since I have always been an optimist, one of those people that prefer to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty! But even for the most positive thinkers, it is still difficult at times.

In my insurance sales career, I focused on making appointments since I knew my closing ratio would allow me to be successful if I simply saw enough people every week. I quickly learned to expect the best and then I picked up a great encourager for my team: Jesus Christ came into my life about eight months into my new career, and He has made an immeasurable difference for me and the people working with me.

I have never been impressed by so-called “prosperity theology,” but have come to understand in reading the Bible that God expects the best out of each of us in whatever we do. This is why I wholeheartedly endorse the apostle Paul’s words in Colossians 3:23-24, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward."

The Bible also teaches that diligence and devotion to doing our best will be recognized: “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Since 1998, I have adopted the motto, "Here to Serve," and end most of my written correspondence with that phrase. For me it serves as a continual reminder that God expects me to give my best to Him and to my clients. I am here foremost to serve Him, but also to be of service to my clients. Having the right attitude and focus has made a tremendous difference in my career, and after 32 years I enjoy my profession even more than I did during the early years.

Knowing God expects and desires our best, I think it is important to ask ourselves some difficult questions: Are we giving our best in our professional lives? Are we giving our best to our families and loved ones? Are we giving our best in all we do and in all we are? Are we giving our best to God?

How do we succeed in expecting the best? I think we do this by focusing on the best. As Philippians 4:8 instructs us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

© 2015, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been an agent and chartered life underwriter (CLU) with New York Life since 1983 and an active member of CBMC of Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. since 1987.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Have you ever heard of the “Pygmalion Effect,” or seen the stage play “Pygmalion” or the theatrical film or musical, “My Fair Lady”? What are your thoughts about always striving to expect the best from others? What does it mean for you to know God expects the best from you, whether in the workplace, in the home, or in your other personal pursuits? How can we go about effectively expecting the best from others, and communicating this to them in a positive, affirming way? Mr. Langley asks some difficult questions at the end of this “Monday Manna.” How would you respond – are you doing your best, giving your best to God, your family and loved ones, or to yourself? Why or why not?If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following passages: Proverbs 10:5, 27:23-27, 28:12; Galatians 6:9-10; Philippians 3:12-14; 1 Peter 5:2-4

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