Do You Feel Lucky?

By Dene Stuart

“What you have to ask yourself is, do I feel lucky. Well do you?”

This is one of the most famous lines in cinema history but it has a real relevance when it comes to running a business.

There are two attitudes towards the idea of luck; those who believe in it and those who don’t. Gary Player, one of the Big Three golf stars of the 1960’s, had another famous saying. “The harder I practice, the luckier I seem to get”. Oprah Winfrey says that “luck is the point when opportunity meets preparation” and many people would describe luck as just being the right person, in the right place at the right time.

But there is some science behind the idea of luck.

Looking at Oprah Winfrey’s quote in a bit more detail helps to illustrate this.

Luck is the point when preparation meets opportunity.

Preparation equates to practice; to developing the skills that you need, understanding the market in which you compete, the needs of your customers and any other of the myriad of tasks and jobs that a business owner has to undertake.

Opportunity is a little harder to define. An opportunity to one person might seem like a dead end to another and this where the science comes in.

It has been estimated that we are subject to 60,000,000 bits of information per day. To enable us to make sense of this our brains filter the information based on criteria that sits within our sub-conscious minds. The system is called the Reticular Activating System and you will be very familiar with one of the effects of the RAS.

Have you noticed that as soon as you make a decision to buy an item of clothing for example or a new car, suddenly all around you notice the same make, model and colour of the very item you’ve just decided to purchase. Nothing has changed, they were always there but your RAS hadn’t been activated to notice them so you didn’t register their presence.

When you apply this to recognising opportunity, understanding the role of the RAS and what you can do to direct its focus, suddenly opportunity is not a random chance that you happen to come across.

When you focus on the end result that you want for your business you are programming your RAS to recognise the opportunities that are “out there”.

The twist in the tail is that you cannot be half hearted in your focus. If you have doubts and fears about reaching your goal it is these thoughts that will programme your RAS and it is these hurdles and barriers that you will see in your path.

Successful people are not necessarily those who maintain the smiling, cheery attitude we associate with positive thinkers. They are the ones who can control their thoughts so that doubts and fears do not overtake their thinking, hijacking their Reticular Activating System so that the filter only allows doubt affirming information into the brain.

When you can control your thoughts to focus on your objectives and goals your RAS will automatically take over and opportunity will suddenly appear where you didn’t see it before.

Previously published on sme-blog with Creative Commons License

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Photo credit: shutterstock

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