I am a fan of Nebraska Cornhusker football. I have been all my life. This makes me one of those people that become nervous when a coach makes a decision that could end badly. While watching a game yesterday I had a new insight into how positive thinking works. The game was close to over and the coach had to choose whether to risk it all on a long fourth down play or punt and try to get one more chance at a score.
Positive Thinking is our default in the moment
When a coach makes a decision they are balancing risk and reward until they make the decision. Once they make the decision the players have to execute. Even though the coach spent time considering options, I don’t think that is ever the case with an athlete. At least not one that is successful. When you are a player asked to make a play your focus is on the path to success. This process is even true in sports where there is the concept of a patient approach to scoring sometimes referred to as a “goal scorer’s goal.”
The quarterback that is asked to make a high skilled pass through several defenders to a fast moving receiver does not think about anything other than how that successful pass is going to look. The fans and even the coach might be biting their nails with worry, but the players are visualizing nothing other than success. Even a low skilled player like myself is going to be focused on the path to success. It may be a miracle for the play to work out the way it is visualized, but that does not remove the vision from the player. When we are in the heat of an action we are wired to focus on the path to success.
Trust Your Instinct
The way we default to positive thinking is not some new or earth-shattering. That is why we equate success with “being in the zone.” Every job and task we do have some form of being “in the zone” where we let our instincts and training take over. The instinct based task is purely driven by positive thinking. In those moments our whole being is geared towards a path of success. In fact, it takes a few failures to break us out of the zone.
This natural instinct for success is not shared by others. The spectator is not going to ever be “in the zone.” Only the active participants will be the beneficiaries of instinct. This is something we can learn when we tackle anything. For example, how many stories of success include a lot of doubters along the way. Our instinct is not limited to physical activities. We seem to be wired to get into the zone on any task we take on.
Translate it to Business
The entrepreneur that is focused on bringing a vision to life has instincts as well. When the spectators of their efforts start to doubt it might be due to a lack of seeing the situation as only an active participant does. This is where you have to trust your instincts and push forward. I don’t want to downplay the benefit of getting the viewpoint of others. However, whether you are an entrepreneur, a leader, or a manager you should listen to your instincts. When you are focused on your latest project you will find that decisions become easier as you get into the zone. This is a great way to improve productivity as well as bring others along for the ride.
It all comes down to selecting your play and executing it the best way you know how. Success is never guaranteed, but when your experience is guiding you success is going to be more likely. Let’s not forget that game yesterday. The team went out on the field and I nervously watched as they calmly made a great play and earned another set of downs. They went on to score and win. Then in the post-game interview the coach mentioned that success favors the bold. How are you going to be bold this week?