Do you view yourself as lucky? Unlucky?
How are the events of 2020 influencing that self-diagnosis?
I never used to be a "power of positive thinking" type of person - but I think I've found some reason to be. The research couldn't be a total coincidence around it, and given the current environment, there are lessons to help us all.
To start, I've been trying to make the most of this situation, ear-deep in reading research on all things behavioral science - and specifically around decision science, motivation, confidence...and actually luck.
And with literally thousands of published research articles on every topic you can imagine, I love finding the unlikely and non-obvious connections to our worlds of sales & sales leadership.
For example, though the research, I've found correlations between research on:
Parenting Styles & Sales Leadership: I read a study on the correlation between how parenting styles impact their children’s creativity. When I read it, I mentally replaced “parent” with “sales leader”, and replaced “children” with “salesperson”. The lessons for optimizing a salesperson’s ability to think outside the box through leadership styles are endless.
Online Consumer Behavior & B2B Sales: My book, The Transparency Sale, is built on a foundation that leverages research in online consumer behavior to optimize business-to-business/human-to-human sales positioning, prospecting, presenting and negotiating. Given that we all seek out reviews before making a purchase requiring consideration that we haven’t bought before, and that 82%+ of us seek out the negative reviews first, the lessons for B2B sellers to lead with negatives in order to optimize the buying journey are actually...incredible.
Animal's Senses & Sales Behavior: I dug into a number of studies on how animals sense feeling states - things like fear and confidence - to determine how humans to do the same. It led me to a study that showed that our feelings are contagious. When we’re fearful, those we’re communicating with sense that fear, which lights up their own brain’s “fear” center, making them feel some fear. The same happens with confidence. When we’re confident, others sense it, which makes them more confident.
And this weekend, in digging through research on mind-states and anxiety, I found one that may help each of you make the most of our current situation. It's the correlation between...
...Self-Perceived "Luck" & Career Performance
Multiple studies cross to show that if you believe you are a “lucky” person, you are more likely to perform better than those who believe they are extraordinarily “unlucky”.
One study, led by psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman, had a group of self-identified lucky & unlucky individuals read through a newspaper. Their task - they were asked to count how many photos were inside.
On average, the self-identified “unlucky” group took two minutes to count the number of ads in the newspaper.
On average, the self-identified “lucky” group took only mere seconds.
Why the difference?
For all participants, on page 2 of the newspaper in large letters, it read,
“STOP COUNTING. THERE ARE 43 PHOTOGRAPHS IN THIS NEWSPAPER.”
The “lucky” group was much more likely to notice the text on page 2. They were much more likely to notice the unexpected. It was staring them right in the face...and somehow, those "unlucky" people tended to miss it.
Through the multiple studies (of which the ad counting study was just one), it was determined that the more tense, anxious and self-doubting you are, the less likely you are to see opportunities. The harder they looked, the less they saw!
What do you do with all this?
1) Engage in self-diagnosis: It starts by self-diagnosing your own mindset. How do you deal with negative things that happen to you? When you take on a task or a job, what is your level of anxiousness and self-doubt?
2) Create new reactionary habits: During the downturn of 2000 followed by 9/11, I lost my job. I couldn’t look past my paycheck. I then ran from job-to-job, solely focused on pay, putting tremendous pressure on myself to succeed, and couldn't see beyond it. That pressure didn’t allow me to notice opportunities all around me. The day I started thinking about things that happened to me as “that could have been worse” instead of, “wow, my luck sucks” was when opportunities started finding me.
3) Embrace the situation: As Einstein once said, “You don’t get anywhere by not ‘wasting’ time.” - the seeds of his most famous discoveries came when he was hanging around without purpose. This is (I know...Captain Obvious here) a scary time, where people are even printing t-shirts proclaiming how badly 2020 sucks. Remember, it could be worse. There are benefits to this isolation.
Oh, and by the way, Einstein was “discovered” in 1921 by luck. While he may have eventually earned the notoriety through his works in another way (no one can know for sure), he happened to be traveling with a Zionist leader named Chaim Weizmann. Thousands came to see Weizmann on April 3rd, 1921. Journalists who came to interview Einstein at the same time were surprised all of these people, and assumed they were there to see Einstein. Astonished by his popularity and not knowing all those people weren’t there to see him - Einstein turned into front-page news that day.
Good luck happens to those who believe in their own good luck. Embrace the positive, and be one of those who come out on top when this is all over...which it will be.
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