Sunday, August 18, 2013

Adapted from Scientific American, August 2013

An EXPECTATION is a future-based belief that may or may not be realistic.

Question is, do expectations factor into our outcomes? Are our results determined by our expectations?

This is something that a German psychologist, named Ulrich Weger, and an Australian psychologist, named Stephen Loughnan, wondered about, so they did an experiment with two groups of people that were asked a series of questions on a video screen.

One group was told they would be given subliminal flashes of the answers that their unconscious minds would understand right before they were asked the question. The other group was told the flashes were just an indicator that the next question was about to appear.

Nothing meaningful was in the flash for either group, nothing at all. And yet, those that expected that they were being exposed to the answers did much better on the test. Apparently expecting to know the answers made people more likely to get the answers right.

Here’s some more on this topic. 

Most of us think that our bodies respond to physical exercise in a mechanical way. This is true. So we count our calorie intake, the calories we lose on a treadmill, etc. However, merely changing our thoughts about our physical activity seems capable of changing our bodies as this next experiment demonstrates.

The background: Hotel room attendants clean on average 15 rooms per day, each room taking between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. (The physical activity involved meets the Surgeon General’s recommendation of at least 30 minutes of physical exercise per day for a healthy lifestyle.) However, most hotel room attendants believe that they do NOT get regular exercise; and a lot of them believe that they do not get any exercise at all.

The experiment: Alia Crum and Ellen Langer, of the psychology department at Harvard University, told a group of hotel room attendants that their work INDEED provided the recommended exercise for a healthy lifestyle. The treatment group was monitored for 4 weeks.

A control group of hotel room attendants, who were NOT told that their work provided the recommended exercise, was similarly monitored.

People in the treatment group lost weight; their body fat percentages, waist-to-hip ratios, and systolic blood pressures dropped. Amazing, how did that happen? People in the control group showed no such improvement. These changes occurred despite the fact that the hotel room attendants’ amount of work, amount of exercise outside of work, and diets stayed the same for both the treatment and the control group.

This all goes to show that WE OFTEN GET WHAT WE EXPECT. So why not expect the best. If mindsets can change us, maybe we can deliberately choose our mindsets to improve our abilities. Yes! Perhaps we ought to choose to adopt a mindset that improves creativity, or productivity or happiness. Yes, yes, yes!

Of course, expectations can be applied to many things and it’s amazing how many barriers we can break through just because we expect to do so!

Expect the best and make it so.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


One of my favorite quotations comes from playwright George Bernard Shaw. “A reasonable person tries to adapt to the world as he finds it, and an unreasonable person tries to make the world adapt to his vision. Therefore, virtually all progress in the world depends upon the actions of unreasonable people.” 

Trying to make the world adapt to a vision is exactly what an entrepreneurially-minded business person must do to build a successful enterprise. Take a vision, an idea of what he wants his business to be like and to do for him, and then do all that can reasonably be done to transform that idea into a business that is so attractive that lots of people will want to buy the products and services it offers. This is what making a business work is about. And it’s never easy. The road to business success is littered with the wreckage of those who tried and failed.

If you’re thinking of starting a new venture, taking your existing enterprise into a new direction, or growing beyond what you have now, what will it take to make your idea blossom? Answer: a Rock-Solid Foundation. Construct a solid rock upon which your enterprise will stand, then build the rest of what you need to get to where you want to be, then implement all the right behaviors and you’re likely to win.

Three essential elements form a Rock-Solid Foundation. To make your enterprise flourish you need all three. The first element is Desire: a burning ambition to convert your idea into a money-making machine. Your desire must be strong enough to weather fatigue, to fend off exhaustion, to deflect the slings and arrows that people who do not believe in you will surely hurl at you. 

The second element is Willingness: a readiness to do whatever it takes, to make the necessary trade offs, and to let nothing stand in your way.

The third element is Accountability: an innate need for completeness and answerability. Accountability is the disposition to be true to yourself, to keep your word, and to live a no excuses life style. 

If Desire is clear, if Willingness is wholehearted, and if Accountability is strong, your foundation, like a three-legged stool, will stand. Then you’ll be happy, perhaps deliriously so.

In the Master-Mind Alliance, we have a name for the three essential elements that form the foundation upon which to erect a viable enterprise. We call it “Intention.” Intention is just the right blend of Desire, Willingness, and Accountability. Just enough to form a Rock-Solid Foundation. Get Intention right and you can proceed to the next level of structure: Goals, Game Plans, Strategy, and Action. Get all that right and you’re on your way to the next level: Productivity, Profits, and Predictability. Get to this level and you’re almost home, almost done with the structure you need to get to the top. What’s at the top? Why success, happiness, and lasting contentment of course, good stuff indeed, absolutely splendid in fact.

Twenty-five million tax returns are filed by small business entities every year. That’s a lot of business owners struggling to make the world adapt to their vision. Many of them are doing just fine. You can be too. By all means, go out there and pursue worthwhile enterprise. “Be Large and In Charge.” Put together your Desire, Willingness, and Accountability to make your big dreams come true. And as G. B. Shaw instructs, try to be at least a little unreasonable today and everyday.