It’s often said within the Appreciative Inquiry community that AI is a way of seeing and being in the world, rather than just another toolkit. If you view AI solely as a toolkit, you are missing the point. So what can you expect when you start applying Appreciative Inquiry to your own life, and viewing the world in an appreciative way?

1. People around you will live up to your positive expectations

In their famous ‘Pygmalion in the Classroom’ experiment in the 1960s, Robert Rosenthal and Leonore Jacobson led elementary school teachers to believe that some of their pupils had unusual intellectual potential and to expect a ‘blooming’ in their academic performance. Sure enough, at the end of the year, their test results had significantly increased, compared to the children who had not been singled out. But in fact, the ‘bright’ students had been randomly selected.

This experiment has been replicated many times, in management settings as well as education. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect

The only difference between the ‘bright’ and the ‘average’ students was that teachers expected them to do better. This expectation would communicate itself in subtle ways: in the questions the teachers asked, which students they called on in class, and the way they marked different students’ papers. Even the non-verbal aspects of their communication with students such as facial expression and voice tone would be subtly different.

In the same way, your expectations of your friends, work colleagues, people you deal with, and even yourself, will influence the responses and behaviour you get. Looking for the good in other people, and yourself, makes it more likely that you will find it.

The Benefits Of Living An Appreciative Life – Part 1

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