Recently, I saw an episode of National Geographic’s TV show Brain Games. One segment was on confidence and how it plays out in our actual performance.
To illustrate this, they got the help of both a pharmacist and a professional basketball player.
They gave a basketball to the pharmacist who admitted she sucked at the game, never plays, and was just kind of going along with the exercise.
They made her shoot ten free throw shots, of which she made absolutely none.
Then they gave the ball to the pro ball player. He got nine out of ten on his turn. To be expected, right?
Then they blindfolded the pharmacist, encouraged her to take a couple shots, and gave her the ball.
She shot once and the crowd went wild with her having made the shot. The host was amazed.
She took a second shot, and again, she plunked that baby through the hoop. The crowd freaked and the announcer was ecstatic.
Then they took the blind fold off the pharmacist, gave her the ball again, and encouraged her to shoot another ten shots. After all, she aced the first two blind-folded and was feeling pretty good about herself.
Remember, the first time she tried, she got zero out of ten baskets. This time she made four out of the ten shots. A40% increase from her original try.
Can you see how confidence worked for her?
By the way, when she was blindfolded? She really did miss the hoop by an Arizona mile, but she was convinced she made the shots by the encouragement and false positive feedback she got from the crowd and show host.
Maybe you’re a doubter and are excusing her four successful shots by saying, “Yeah, but she had some practice shots and so she’s inevitably going to do better. Odds are in her favor she’d make some the second time.”
Okay, explain this.
The pro ball player, having missed his blind-folded shots with a less than encouraging crowd, was getting ready for his shots without the blind-fold.
The crowd was eerily silent, and when the ball player shot and made one, the crowd remained silent and talked among themselves. If he missed I think they even snickered and booed trying to embarrass him a bit. Basically, they were feeding him negative influences.
Remember he originally, being a pro ball player, shot nine out of ten shots before?
He now only made five out of ten, pretty close to the same 40% difference, only in reverse.
Can you now see how both outside influence and our own confidence and positive outlook has a major impact on how we perform?
So, how does this apply to business?
First, don’t hang with people who have a negative attitude or want to dump on your success parade. Those people who enter doubt, even if they seem like they mean well, can bring you down.
Find people who are encouraging, who cheer you on even in your failures. You know, those folks you can always count on to not let you off the hook and help get your head on straight.
And most importantly, don’t listen to yourself when you hear yourself say things like:
“Who do I think I am that I can be a business person anyway? I can’t even remember that person’s name I met this morning!”
“If I was so smart, or meant to be an entrepreneur, I’d have done it years ago. I’m too much a late bloomer for this now.”
“I should be further along than I am; maybe I’m just forcing something that shouldn’t be.”
Learn to recognize when you are telling yourself this crap, and stomp it out immediately. And I mean immediately!
Give yourself a break. You are going to have failures. Well, they are not failures if you learn something, and you will learn something. No one gets it right from the first crack.
Famous basketball player Doctor J said once that everyone was so amazed when he made it big. Everyone thought he was such a gifted player, but they never saw the thousands and thousands of hours he practiced.
There are no people so gifted they get it without failures or distinctions, there are just good marketing behind them to make it look like that is the case.
Here’s an assignment for you. Go look up just about any sport Hall of Famer. They got there by the awesome success they achieved, right?
Maybe. Did you know they all have more failures than successes? Like two-thirds more failures than success.
They had plenty of failures they could have turned into self-doubt, but they didn’t.
It’s what you tell yourself and who you listen to that will make you a success or not.
You can have all the training in the world, all the digital gizmos, all the fancy tools of the trade…
But if you believe lies about your ability and doubt yourself?
You ain’t goin’ nowhere baby!
Here’s a friendly little anchor to remind you to think on the sunny side of life.
When you here a weather forecast that is anything other than a gorgeous day…
Something like, “We have a 40% chance of isolated showers today.”
Ask yourself why the weatherperson is so negative.
Change what he or she said to, “We have a 60% chance of beautiful sunny weather today! For that leaner side of percentage, bring an umbrella, just in case.”
Until next time…
Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching, and above all… Try-try-try until you succeed!