The Magic That Happens When You Believe & Assume the Best About People

July 27, 2021

I truly truly believe that most people are doing the absolute best that they can with what they have and the knowledge they possess at the time, and I believe in the best in people. I truly believe that when we choose to look for the best, people will find reasons to support that choice!

Today we’re gonna be talking about;

  • The belief that we should all try to both lead and to live with generous assumptions and positive intent. 
  • The pygmalion effect; a little explanation about what it is and how it may be having an affect on your connections with others and yourself
  • Making the conscience decision every day to see the absolute best in people
  • And so much more…

Are you ready? Let’s go!

If you’re ready to uncover those deep layers of yourself that you have been avoiding and start healing and growing, let’s chat! You can book either a one-hour private session, or 6 months 1:1 coaching. Send me an email at or head to my instagram and send me a DM , spaces available for this month????



Emily Gough Coaching

Room to Grow Podcast

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You’re listening to Episode 287 of the room to grow pugs. I’m Emily Gough, a human connection coach, speaker and mental health advocate with an insatiable sense of curiosity and adventure, always asking more questions and using the power of stories to teach, learn and grow. It’s about allowing for room to grow. And this podcast focuses on three main pillars: human connection, personal growth, and freedom. We cover topics like relationships, and cultivating genuine supportive connections with ourselves and others, speaking your truth, shattering personal barriers, radical self acceptance, and courageously leaning into your skill sets. Whether it’s a solo episode, or bringing on highly curated guests with incredible stories, experiences and expertise to share, we’re leaning in and taking the entire idea of growth to the next level, all while still covering the uncomfortable topics that many of us like to avoid, there’s always more room to grow. Let’s do this.

Hey, welcome back to the Room To Grow podcast Emily here. And today we’re gonna be talking about sort of a belief that I switched in my head a few years ago, and everything changed as a direct result. And that is to try to both lead and to live with generous assumptions and positive intent. Because it opens up the space for others to rise to the occasion. I truly truly believe that most people are doing the absolute best that they can with what they have and the knowledge they possess at the time. I really do. I believe that about people, and I believe in the best in people. And that can be hard sometimes because it can feel easier occasionally to believe the worst about people. And that belief also allows us to easily position ourselves as the victims when someone inevitably disappoints us as well. And if you’ve been around here for a while, you know, I have a lot to say on the victim mindset. So I’ll reference a couple episodes all about that, so that you can go take a peek at that. But when we feel that way, when we can position ourselves as the victim because we believe that everybody’s out to get us, then we can prove ourselves right instead. So sort of like the See, I knew that he or she or they would do that. I knew that they would let me down or hurt me or disappoint me. I was right. Do you want to be right? Or do you want to open up and allow a different perspective to shine through at the risk that it might actually make you far happier and give you a sunnier outlook on life and your fellow humans? Which one do you want? Because here’s something to consider, we get what we look for. That’s how confirmation bias works. And when we choose to look for the best, people will find reasons to support that choice. What we decide to search for and to look for is what’s going to be reflected back to us. And years ago when I started making this very conscious choice to look for the best in people, everything changed. And then it became just automatic. And this is where huge life altering transformations can be born. And of course, of course, there’s always going to be nuance and discernment here because one of the biggest issues that we can struggle with is opening up to trust others especially so vulnerably. And we do need to use discernment because not everyone deserves your vulnerability. And yes, there are, of course, some humans out there who might not be great humans. That’s just the reality. But I truly believe that, by far, the majority of people are doing the best that they can with what they know at the time. That doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily on the same level as you, that doesn’t mean that they are not hurting themselves and potentially projecting that out onto other people. But they’re doing their best with what they know. So when we choose to open instead of closing and writing people off, we allow space for things like curiosity, and compassion, forgiveness, trust, empathy, and ultimately, connection. But if we believe the worst of someone, we’re going to see more of that. And, when I talk about allowing people the space to rise to the occasion, when we believe in someone, it’s a gift. It’s such a gift, we might even be able to give them the fuel to want to do or be better for the very reason that we’re allowing them the space to rise to the occasion. Maybe no one else has ever done that for them. Maybe everyone has always written that person off. They’ve always believed the worst about them. There are people out there like that who have always had people believe the worst about them for a variety of different reasons that can also involve things like privilege and You know, or lack thereof. In a lot of cases, there’s all kinds of different areas and things that we could go into here. But I was telling someone about a friend of mine, and some of the incredibly generous acts that this person does for people every single day. And the person that I was talking to about this friend said, “He’s like, you know, “not many people make me want to be a better person. But hearing about some of the things your friend does for people makes me want to be a better human being”. And this is what I need, we follow by example, we sometimes even subconsciously mimic the way others show up in the world, not through their words so much as their actions. And actions need to match words, consistency is such an attractive quality. And I don’t even just mean romantically, but especially romantically. But consistency is such an attractive quality, because we can sense inconsistency in our nervous systems. And we can feel it energetically.

And when we feel and when we see and we experience and feel how others are showing up generously with generous assumptions. That can have a powerful impact because it makes us want to do and be better ourselves. Imagine if we all showed up this way, imagine what the world would look like. If we were all embodying strong values, if we if we all believed in people, there’s it would make me think about what came up for me when I was putting this episode together with something called the Pygmalion effect, which can also kind of be known as the Rosenthal Jacobson effect, or study that those are the two researchers who did this one study. And it’s basically about the effect of expectations. So this one study was done years ago, I believe it would actually be quite unethical now. But at the time, there were teachers that were led to believe that some of their students had high IQ, and the others had lower IQ. Even though the students were chosen at random. And their test scores were not necessarily reflective of what the teachers were, and were told about their abilities to learn. So the students that the teachers were led to believe had the higher IQ, and had more ability to learn, so called ended up doing better in school at the end of the year. And the students that the teachers were told how to lower IQ and were not as likely to be able to learn easily did not do as well. And this is really a reflection of the fact that positive expectations influence performance positively, and negative expectations influence performance negatively. When we apply this to relationships, and how that affects relationships, people tend to perform up to the level that others expect of them. And this explains why sometimes we can end up in relationships that turn into self fulfilling prophecies. This is why I’m on a mission to open as many hearts and minds as possible. Because if we look at people, assuming that they will disappoint us, assuming that they will let us down and that they will hurt us in some way, you’re going to even if you don’t consciously realize that you are going to energetically treat them as such. And how do you think they are going to respond energetically, eventually, that will catch up with you. And they will be able to feel that even if you don’t actually say the words, even if you aren’t truly conscious of feeling that way, they will be able to sense that just as we can sort of sense that from others too. And ultimately, this comes down to the expectations that we have of ourselves and of others. And people will tend to live up to our expectations, whether they’re good or they’re bad. And we’ve also hopefully, I hope that you have. I’ve been very fortunate to have this in my life where there have been people who have very high expectations of me, and it makes me want to be better, because I want to not only live up to that, but I want to exceed that if I can’t but at least live up to it. Because I know that they expect great things of me. And I’m like oh my god, like I can’t let them down. And I don’t just mean that from the higher achievers standpoint because that can be like its whole own separate issue. But just when we have this conversation about expectations, if we know that somebody sees the best in us and that they believe in us, we want to embody that we want to live up to that. If somebody thinks that you’re an asshole, are you going to waste all of your time trying to convince them that you’re not at some point that’s gonna get really really tiresome? And you’re probably just gonna say fuck it like I might as well be an asshole because you’re gonna treat me like one anyway. So what difference does it make? But if we can sense and feel that people believe the best in us, we’re going to behave very differently. And the paradox to this whole thing about the Pygmalion effect is when we have a lot of expectations for others, we’re also likely going to end up disappointed. In some ways, this is the tricky part. I know that I’m kind of contradicting myself because I said, you know, if we expect to be disappointed, then we probably will be. But this is the tough part about expectations. Because when we project expectations onto somebody else, then if they don’t live up to them, which can be very difficult for people to live up to our expectations, then we do end up disappointed. But if we kind of try and find the sweet spot here, where we believe in the best in people, but we’re not projecting onto them, these these heavy, heavy expectations about exactly how we want them to show up for us, that’s a very fine line to find. But that really is like the sweet spot, if you can find that middle area. And this is where you know, we have the kind of deep, intimate connections that we all want more of in our lives, is when we can create this new set of beliefs, where we believe the best in people, we believe in people, we believe in their humanity. Because we’re human too, you know, we might be like a really good human doesn’t mean that we don’t still make mistakes, we also make mistakes. But are we doing the best we can with the knowledge that we have at the time, I would like to believe that most of the time we are, you might disagree. But I would challenge you to start to look through this in a slightly different lens to see if it changes not only how you show up in the world, but how people respond to you. So let me know your thoughts on this, I would really, really love to hear what you think about this. This is definitely an area that I’ve worked closely with clients around because it can be really, really hard to open when you have painful memories, either right at the surface or even below the surface that get in the way. But I really am inviting you to consider a different option, that perhaps even if someone didn’t show up for you the way you needed or wanted, that they had positive intent, and that they were doing the best they could with what they had in that particular moment. So let me know what you think I’d really really love to hear from you. And so send me a DM over @EmilyGoughCoach on Instagram. You can also email me over at And please share this, the absolute best way to support me to support this podcast is to not only share it but to also leave a review. If you could leave a review, I would be so grateful it takes less than 30 seconds on whatever app you’re listening to, whether that’s Spotify, Apple, Google, whatever that looks like. Just leaving a review means so much. I’d really really appreciate it. And thank you so much for listening, let me know as well. If you ever have podcast ideas, things that you’d like me to cover, I would love to hear that as well. against the mediums I mean email. Let’s have a chat. And if you want to work together, all the information is over at room to grow podcast comm you can apply to work with me one on one. And I do have some spaces available right now and I would love to talk to you. So thank you so much for listening to the podcast today. It means the absolute world to me and I’m so grateful for any references in the episode and all show notes. Be sure to jump over to room to grow and if this episode touched your heart, it would mean so much if you would take a quick second to hit subscribe, write a review and share on social media over someone who really needs to hear today’s message. It makes such a difference to keep this podcast going so I can continue to bring you amazing content and absolutely incredible guests. Be sure to tag me on Instagram @EmilyGoughCoach so that I can thank you in real time for listening and connect with you. We’re back every Tuesday and Thursday with new episodes and I’m looking forward to growing with you


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