In the intricate tapestry of the mind, our thoughts weave the narratives that shape our perception, behavior, and overall well-being. This week, we delve into the profound insights from a study conducted by Dr. Robert Kleck at Dartmouth College, unraveling the power of the mind and how what you expect to see, you will. Let’s explore the intricacies, details and results of the study, and most importantly, how this knowledge can empower us to reshape our beliefs for transformative outcomes.


For clarification I want to outline what the victim mindset is, versus being a victim. The victim mindset evolves into a habitual pattern of thinking marked by helplessness, blame, and a lack of personal responsibility. It is the lens through which individuals perceive themselves as perpetual victims, attributing failures and negative experiences to external factors beyond their control. It can often stem from being a victim as a result of trauma, but often it is an ancestral inherited pattern of thinking that has not been consciously deconstructed and identified as to whether it works or not.


The objective of this study was to explore how much males and females were disturbed by defects in their own and other person’s facial appearance and the impact they believed it would have on their social outcomes and relationships.
Research Design:
  • Participants (27 male, 21 female) were told that the experiment was meant to observe if people behaved differently towards those with facial scars.
  • Participants were placed into rooms with no mirrors
  • A make-up artist proceeded to add a scar to their faces
  • After the scar was drawn, participants were given a short glimpse of it with a pocket mirror.
  • Participants were then invited to leave the room and interact with folks in the building.
  • Before they left the room, the make-up artist told the participants that the scar needed some final touch-ups, but, what the make-up artist actually did was to take off the scar.
  • Participants left the room thinking they still wore a make-up scar.
Key Findings:
  • They overwhelmingly reported back that people stared at their scars and were mean and rude to them.
  • They expected social consequences to be negative and severe
  • They had negative emotional responses to disfigurement when they saw others disfigurement
  • They expected facial disfigurements to have important consequences for social interaction
  • They used the non verbal dimensions of interactive behaviour, particularly gaze patterns were used for interpretation
  • Men responded with saying they found it humorous or silly, while women responded with distress, fright or disgust.
  • If we expect others to react negatively to some aspect of our physical appearance, there is little others can do to prevent us from confirming our expectation, how frequently and how long someone looks at you, confirms to you that they are looking at the disfigurement; this becomes data for that interpretation. Essentially, ANY gaze pattern becomes evidence. For the subjects who thought they had the scar, they believed they were being discriminated against because of their interpretations of the gaze patterns they saw.


This points to the fact that what you believe to be true, you will see, hear, find or create it, in your external reality. You always find evidence for what you are looking for, hence it is so important to go inwards as a leader and clean up your thoughts, identifying your GRAILS and move you out of a fixed, or even victim mindset, towards a positive or growth mindset. Individuals with a strong victim mindset, exhibit a consistent pattern of externalising blame with a heightened sense of helplessness, so they end up being at the EFFECT of something, rather than being CAUSE in the matter of their lives. Change your mindset, you change everything in your life. Having a vision is important too as it is the context, for which the content of your life; actions, thoughts being, all work towards. Not having a vision means you will literally just be reacting to anything that comes your way.


1. Self-Awareness:
  • Acknowledge and identify moments where your GRAILS are running the ship of your life
  • Reflect on specific situations triggering these patterns of thinking.
2. Ownership and Responsibility:
  • Embrace personal responsibility for your thoughts, actions, and outcomes.
  • Recognize the power of choice in shaping your responses to challenges.
3. Reframe Negative Narratives:
  • Challenge negative thoughts and beliefs
  • Actively reframe situations to highlight personal agency and empowerment.
4. Cultivate Resilience:
  • Develop resilience by viewing challenges as opportunities for growth.
  • Foster a mindset that sees setbacks as temporary and learnable experiences.
5. Identify a Vision:
  • Work on a vision for your life, business or career; this gives your life context and direction
  • Challenge your GRAILS until they line up with the Vision
  • FInd your BIG ENOUGH why, as this will keep you committed and motivated


In the realm of the mind, awareness serves as the first beacon of change. Dr. Robert Kleck’s study unravels the intricate dance between our thoughts and its impact on shaping our reality. Armed with this knowledge, we have the power to reshape our beliefs, break free from the shackles of victimhood, and forge a path of empowerment. As we cultivate resilience, embrace responsibility, and actively reframe our narratives, we navigate towards a mindset that propels us to transformative outcomes. Remember, the power of the mind is within your grasp – wield it consciously and shape a narrative of empowerment and growth.

Reach out to me directly if you want some coaching on this for you, your life, career, business or family. I am a licensed coach with 20+ years experience in leadership, in New York, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, London & Sydney.

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