How to write a prophecy that fulfills itself
The power of myth
What gets better with wear? Not many things.
Not books. Not cars. Certainly not your iPhone screen.
But people do.
That’s the subject of Nassim Taleb’s book Antifragile where he advocates for creating systems that are not only resistant to wear (robust) but in fact improve with it (the opposite of fragile). For example, he imagines a financial system that rebounds from crashes rather than shatters.
Here at Find A Way we find this idea enrapturing as we attempt to build a content copywriting agency that’s powered by people. Literary aptitude doesn’t scale well, and an editor can’t be everywhere at once. So how do we create a learning system that empowers every individual in the chain to take full control of their own personal progress?
For that, we turn to the power of self-fulfilling prophecies and the Greek myth of Pygmalion.
A love on the rocks
Pygmalion was a Cypriot sculptor who crafted an ivory statue of a woman so perfect that he fell in love it. Nothing else could compare. He ceased to be interested in real women and his compatriots rightly thought him mad. Yet for years he made consistent, penitent offerings to Aphrodite, and quietly wished for a bride in his creation's likeness.
Upon returning home after Aphrodite's festival, he found that she had come to life.
As an outsider, he’s obviously crazy, right? And lucky too, for this divine intervention. Or at least that's what they say whenever someone does something remarkable that's never been done before.
Nelson Mandela. Elon Musk. Oprah Winfrey. Bill and Melinda Gates.
Yet this persistent myth that success is the result of divine luck rather than earned through hard sweat is due to the fact that one, most people can’t see the work that occurs behind closed doors and two, they generally lack the ability to believe in things they haven’t seen before.
As Malcolm Gladwell points out in Outliers, the highest achievers are often irked by this idea that they were granted their gifts, chiefly because they know that they willfully slaved away for tens of thousands of hours to achieve them. And sure, they’re often blind to their privileges, and this we cannot discount, but those privileges clear the runway for them to take off through grit, a touch of insane dedication, and a belief.
A belief in the impossible. A belief that they can bring something to life that has never existed before -
That it’s possible to free a nation. That one man can both save the world with clean energy and colonize Mars. That a black woman can build a media empire to empower women. That a couple can cure the world of disease.
These are all ivory statues, so beautiful to their owners and yet so lifeless to the common beholder.
But as Nelson Mandela put it, “It always seems impossible until it's done.”
This is why we’ve firmly planted our flag in the belief that each of our authors will ascend to the very zenith of their aspirations if we simply believe in them. We seek to empower them, employ them, serve them, and give them the shelter to believe in their own ivory statue just as we believe in ours, we will generate the most creative, confident, and effective writing that the world has ever seen.
Together, we're Find A Way Media and we’re going to change the world.
What do you believe in?