Making Your Own Luck
There’s a cliche in business that, “The harder you work, the luckier you get,” implying that we make our own luck and that it isn’t random at all but simply a set of circumstances within our control that we choose to (or choose not to) control to varying degrees. (Much like I lost control of that opening sentence. Oh blogs with your laxness.)
This article from Psychology Today by Rebecca Webber outlines a few simple, easy, cheap and obvious things we COULD do to increase the odds of something ‘lucky’ happening to us. In short, the more things in total we allow or engineer to happen to us, the greater the number of good things that will occur, increasing our subconscious perception of being lucky. Get out there, meet people, do things, attempt stuff and, in relative terms, more good things will fall into your lap than if you stayed home to watch that solo Battlestar Gallactica DVD marathon you’d planned this weekend.
So, what does this have to do with engaging employees?
Webber cites one experiment by one of my favourite ‘making psychology fun guys’ – Richard Wiseman. In this study, participants were asked to count the number of photographs in a newspaper that he gave them. There were 43 photographs and the average participant only took a few minutes to get a usually accurate answer. It would’ve taken them 5 seconds if they read the bold headline of the newspaper which said, ‘There are 43 photographs in this newspaper’…
As with our search for luck, or our search at work to achieve narrowly focused goals, too often this overly lazerlike blinkedness prevents us from seeing fresh or different opportunities outside what it is we’re focused on at the time. I’m not trying to diminish the power of goal-setting and so forth, just identify the risks of sunk costs, missed chances and wrong paths taken. Today’s environments are unsuited for longterm and fixed goal-setting approaches. Flexibility, vigilance and adjustment are keys.
Wiseman’s experiment’s newspaper also had another headline that few participants saw, “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.”
Posted on May 7, 2012, in Employee Engagement, Feedback, Motivating Employees, Motivation, Personal Productivity and tagged employee engagement, engagement, Influence, Luck, Motivating Employees, motivation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.