A significant component of the power of any success strategy lies in the expectation that you will achieve your goal or objective.
Whatever you expect – of yourself, your career, your relationships, your life – sets the limit of what is possible for you.
Henry Ford once said: “If you believe that you can do a thing, or if you believe you cannot, in either case, you are right.”
We invariably rise to the limits of our own expectations in life.
You Are What You Think
Be aware of the internal dialogue, the self-talk, that’s happening in your head. There is a direct causal link between how we think about a situation, the words we use to articulate those thoughts, the energetic state associated with those words, and the results we create.
People who are successful, in any sphere of life, develop an ability to monitor and reshape their own thoughts:
* They are skilled at noticing their own negative self-talk and systematically replacing it with positive affirmation and with a vision of their success.
* They refuse to accept limits on their potential.
* They expect the best – from the world and from others.
* They take full responsibility for the choices they make and the thoughts they think.
So if you want to be successful, start thinking of yourself that way.
The Luck Factor Starts And Ends In You
This might sound obvious and it is, but that doesn’t stop so many of us from deferring and procrastinating. We can (and do) find so many reasons why now is not the right time to get serious with ourselves over all this.
Why, despite our best endeavours, do we resist and procrastinate?
This has been referred to as the “knowing doing gap”.
A disturbing illustration of the knowing doing gap can be seen in research in the US healthcare sector:
“If you look at people who are prescribed maintenance medications, people who should take, for example, a statin drug for the rest of their lives to control blood pressure or high cholesterol and stay alive, you would assume 100pc of these people would do so, wouldn’t you?
It turns out that research carried out here in Massachusetts shows that anywhere from between a third to a half of all Americans on maintenance medications, who understand why they’re on them, don’t take them after a year.” (Kagan & Lahey)
This behaviour has been labelled “immunity to change” and it provides a cogent explanation as to why we so often display so much resistance to personal change.
In summary the research shows that in these situations we have is an unconscious belief that underpins an unrecognised competing desire to our expressed intention to change.
It is this unconscious belief and the associated negative energy that causes our resistance and the consequent procrastination.
The importance of managing your energetic state
We live in an energetic world, and how we feel inside most of the time – our dominant emotional state – has a major bearing on our experience of life, especially over time. In other words we live in a participatory universe.
A Personal Illustration
I can recall a situation in my own life about 30 years ago when I unconsciously resisted looking inside myself to make some personal changes.
I used to wait for things to change “out there”. I was continually scouring the landscape looking for evidence of change happening “out there” so that I could feel better, until eventually I came to a realisation:
I had to feel better for things to change.
Why was this so hard? Basically it was difficult because I was seeking evidence on which to base my positive feelings because:
I was grounded in, and fixated on, circumstances.
It took me a long time to realise that feeling better was an internal state, and that my experience of life was ultimately dependent on that.
It took me even longer to realise that I needed to give myself permission to do this, and that in so doing I had to overcome a deep-seated and largely unconscious commitment to the belief that it was somehow “wrong” or ego-centric to do this.
I eventually came to understand that this resistance stemmed from my childhood upbringing and religious background and that I erroneously thought that in changing my expectation I was somehow usurping the “will of God”.
The may sound irrational, and these things often are, but when I became consciously aware of this I was able to make the desired inner changes by reframing the belief.
Don’t keep looking outside of yourself, to circumstances, to find evidence on which to base your expectation – it starts and ends in you.
The Science Behind The Luck Factor
It’s very easy to be cynical about all this and just dismiss it all as woolly, positive thinking stuff with no grounding. That makes for a very convenient excuse to rationalise your own resistance to change.
If you feel like that, you are of course entitled to your perspective, but please first consider the following.
For more than 10 years, Professor Richard Wiseman examined the behaviour of 1,000 volunteers who considered themselves lucky or unlucky.
In summary, his findings show that lucky people are people who have consciously or unconsciously mastered the art of generating their own good fortune via four basic principles.
Lucky people are:
1. Skilled at creating and noticing chance opportunities
Lucky people just try stuff. Unlucky people suffered from paralysis by analysis. They wouldn’t do anything until they walked through every single angle and by then the world had moved on. They don’t gain the benefits of learning through doing. I’m a big fan of starting small, trying lots of projects, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and iterating based on feedback.
2. Make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition
Almost 90% of lucky people said that they trusted their intuition when it came to personal relationships, and almost 80% said it played a vital role in their career choices… About 20% more lucky than unlucky people used their intuition when it came to making important financial decisions, and over 20% more used their intuition when thinking about their career choices.
3. Create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations
On average, lucky people thought that there was about a 90% chance of having a great time on their next holiday, (and) an 84% chance of achieving at least one of their lifetime ambitions…
4. Adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good
Lucky people are very resilient. I remember talking to one lucky person that had fallen down some stairs and broken his leg. I said, ‘I bet you don’t consider yourself quite so lucky now.’ He said the last time he went to a hospital he met a nurse and they fell in love. Now the two of them are happily married twenty-five years later. He said: ‘It was the best thing that ever happened to me… So, yeah, things can look bad now, but the long term effect of this might be very, very positive.’ That’s a very resilient attitude. Lucky people tend to have that sort of approach.
“The Best Luck Of All Is The Luck You Make For Yourself” (Douglas MacArthur)
Read more on: The Luck Factor