The Pygmalion Effect

I was expecting more of a delightful day temperature-wise, but unfortunately that cold wind wasn’t helping with our warming trend which was supposed to start taking place. By the time mid-afternoon rolled around, it didn’t seem as cold because the temps were reaching into the lower 40’s.

My first order of the day, was to respond to a number of emails that had arrived late yesterday. Most of them were from prospective tenants who were inquiring on several rentals I’d posted online for some of my clients. It looks as if there are all the more out looking for rental housing now that Spring is approaching.

It sounds like the North Iowa Home Show is going well, and hopefully many of our residents who’ve already been there, will be looking towards making some improvements on their homes this season. As we all know, it’s better to stay proactive with needed upgrades in our homes before they become problematic, and possibly fail. It always makes me smile whenever seeing exteriors of homes appearing well manicured, because they’re our current examples of “pride in ownership” which I sometimes fear is falling by the wayside. For sure, people don’t take as good care of their homes as they did a generation or two ago, and we can freely blame much of that on those ever-distracting social medias.

I had to run out to check on a potential problem in a home this morning because when I showed it yesterday, there was no water, so I called the owner and he said he’d not ordered the water shut off. Thinking someone had shut the water off at the meter, I checked it first, and to my surprise, it was still on, which was making me all the more nervous. I composed myself, and logically started following the water line from the meter, and wouldn’t you know it, there was another shut-off on that main line up in the floor joist which was shut off. I turned it back on, and there was water. Thank goodness that’s all it was. I called the owner and told him the water was on, and all was well.

My public open house at 1 Briarstone Court went quite well today, and everyone in attendance had good things to say about it. I made a few suggestions as to decorative improvements which would all the more enhance the beauty of that home. I’ve found that in these times, I have to be more narrative with a given home’s potential, because all the more buyers have problems with envisioning something, other than what they’re looking at. I read some years ago that there’d be millions more unable to “see” something in their minds because of how little they’d been using their creative skills, which is another negative by-product of the internet.

From the time the internet came about, I’ve believed it being nothing more than a virtual library where one would look for information, but far too many use it as a playground, and especially in the social media arenas. One of my long-time clients finally stopped asking me why I don’t have a personal Facebook page, which for me, isn’t necessary because I use Facebook as one of my vehicles for posting information regarding my listings, and of course sharing my thoughts via my daily journal which I hope some of you appreciate my little tidbits of information and commentaries. I’ve posted so many of them over these recent years, to where I’ve lost count many moons ago.

Just this past week, I’ve been on my soapbox regarding how lax people are getting when it comes to doing their jobs. What used to take one phone call to get answers, or even something done, it takes as many as four or five to get someone to finally listen. One day this past week, I had to personally drive to an office to get the attention of someone I’ve been emailing. Of course the answer was, “I was just starting to work on it today”. Do you really think I believed? No.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard of The Pygmalion Effect, which is a phenomenon that takes place whenever people who’ve had greater expectations given them, the better they perform at given tasks. Twenty years or more ago, the guilt and/or shame that people would experience, would’ve had similar effects, but with today’s “worker rights” and “protected classes”, all the more in supervisory positions are careful and/or fearful about what they say to their underlings, for fear they’ll be charged with some sort of discrimination. Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly against real discrimination, but not those being fabricated in the minds of lazy employees who’ve learned how to “work the system”.

I’ll never forget the days when I was in a supervisory position at a bank, and sometimes there’d be one or two who thought they could slide along without working at their best. Well, there was more than one time I would say, “You agreed to work for a given hourly wage, and if you don’t work to the best of your ability, you’ve broken your agreement, so if you’re not willing to uphold your side of the bargain, then I suggest you find something else to do.” I doubt there are many, and possibly any in supervisory positions who’re saying something similar in these times. It may sound like I was being hard, but when you think about it, I was simply cutting to the chase of my problem at hand.

Now let’s talk about The Golem Effect, which is another psychological phenomenon that’s the direct opposite of Pygmalion, where if you place fewer expectations on yourself or those you supervise, your productivity and performance will take a nose-dive. Unfortunately, I’m finding all the more fine minds and workable hands falling into the Golem bucket, and to the point where it is visible in nearly all aspects of our lives. Just think about how little pride people have in their work, their health, their homes, and most of all, themselves. How about we all turn these days of Lent into our own personal challenge of bettering ourselves.

Tonight’s one-liner is: Be miserable, or motivate yourselves, because whatever has to be done, is always your choice.

Joe Chodur

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