Monday, November 14, 2005

Reverse Psychology for Success

A surprising new take on some old ideas!

By Dr. John Eliot

There's No Such Thing as Overconfidence
The best in every business are likely to strike most people as irrationally confident, but that's how they got to the top.

Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Michael Dell — they first believed in themselves, utterly, and let their belief be their guide. Sure they experienced numerous obstacles and setbacks and failures. Confidence allowed them to keep getting up and looking for ways to move forward. Most importantly, leaders like Branson and Gates prioritized believing in the people around them. Confidence is also not arrogance, and unless your employees think that they're better human beings in general than everyone else, let them believe that they're good enough to do exceptional things.

Legends Never Say They're Sorry
Having a long or frequent memory for mistakes and a short or infrequent memory for successes is a guaranteed way to develop fear of failure. High achievers dwell on what they do well — and spend very little time evaluating themselves and their performances.

Learn from your mistakes? Of course. The road to success is full of adversity from which we can gain significant insight. The key, however, is to set aside specific, deliberate times for evaluation. Process setbacks, errors, and your performance in general only at times when you have planned to.

The alternative is to get caught up in second-guessing, doubt, and worry whenever things look a bit gray. You excel during the tough moments by having a positive blueprint to look at — and to have a positive blueprint, you have to spend a lot of time looking at the image of success.

The Best Need Stress
Classic breathing and relaxation exercises tend to undermine performances, eliminating the possibility of setting records. Think of stress as the high-level performer's PowerBar. By relaxing, you slow down the heart and keep much-needed blood, oxygen, neurotransmitters, and adrenaline from stimulating your senses and cerebral cortex.

The so-called detriment of stress is the psychological interpretation you place on critical situations, not the stress itself. If you want to perform at your best, change the lens through which you view stress. Don't reduce it — in fact, increase the stress more often.

Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Unlikely accomplishments are born out of single-minded purposefulness. Future superstars don't get there by keeping part of their heart in reserve.

I often tell executives to stop multitasking. Multitasking is merely doing a bunch of things half-heartedly all at once. Isn't the idea to perform at your utmost? If you truly want to find out what your potential is, you've got to pour everything you've got into one thing at a time. If you hold back, you'll never know.

And if you put all your eggs in one basket and drop the basket? Guess what: They'll make more eggs, and there are plenty of baskets to choose from.

Only Wimps Weigh the Risks
For exceptional people, risk equals reward. The challenge of uncertainty is the fun of doing the job in the first place — and where overachievement lies.

High achievers do not look for the safest, most comfortable, or sure solution. That would not push them or their companies to grow. Growth is the key — something stockholders certainly understand. But growing requires going to new places and thinking new things — not succeeding at the new, but learning from the process regardless of outcome.

Michael Jordan, perhaps the most legendary basketball player of all time, based his entire performance philosophy on the notion: "I am a success because I have failed more times than anyone in history."

Perhaps you can find some of Michael in you!?

Learn more about Dr. Eliot and his powerful new program,
The Maverick Mindset.
© 2005 Nightingale-Conant Corporation


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