Some people seem to attract success like the honey attracts the bees and the majority of the population sees them thriving wondering what they have done to separate them from the rest of the group and give them this great momentum. Today we will see what the unexpected result of an interesting experiment that took place helped us discover.
Some researchers at the University of Illinois decided to do a study on people doing puzzles. It was not the technique they implemented to do the puzzle that was unique but what people were being told before starting their effort. Those who participated in the experiment were divided into two groups. Group number one was given the instruction that people would have to repeatedly say to themselves that they would be able to do the puzzle before they started the process. In fact, they had to spend one full minute before starting the puzzle saying to themselves that they will do the puzzle and that they are absolutely capable of finding a solution. The second group was told that they would have to spend the same amount of time questioning themselves and asking questions like ”Will I be able to complete the task?” or ”What will I have to do to make it?” They were not advised to say they will fail but they were told they would have to be skeptical about the task.
The results were literally surprising and scientists were blown away to discover that it was the people of the second group the ones that managed to make the puzzle faster. In fact, not only were they better but it took them half the time to complete the same task. Even though we are taught to believe that having the winner’s psychology is the most important thing when it comes to being successful it turns out that the brain has many paths it can take. Telling yourself that you can do it is helpful up to a certain point and perhaps essential for people with low confidence. However, the experiment showed that people of the second group did better and that is because when you come questioning yourself you become more open in finding alternatives. You are more open to discover, learn and adopt new techniques and you are practically ready to change.
In addition, another parameter is evident here. Science implies that our brains get excited with challenges. Thinking that you are 100% positive you can succeed in something extracts the challenge out of the task. If there is absolutely no challenge in what you are about to do, why should you go ahead and do it anyway? So, while being confident and positive is crucial, it could turn into a trap. People of the second group had the thought that they do not have everything figured out yet and that there is nothing wrong with that.
The last parameter that was vital here was the part of ”there is nothing wrong with not having everything figured out yet.” The word ‘yet’ implies that there is still effort that needs to be made but at the same time the result of this will be successful. It practically tells you that there is a balance between what you are asked to do and what you can finally accomplish. The task has a certain amount of difficulty that makes it challenging but it is not completely hard to make you overwhelmed.
Many people use positive affirmations to accomplish their goals. For example, they silently repeat ”I am a successful businessperson.” The experiment suggested that we could keep this practice but expand our affirmations by adding some questioning. So the same phrase should be: ”I am a successful businessperson but will I act like one today?” Being positive makes you confident but it does not make you excited. Adding a question at the end of the affirmation is like adding the motivation at the end of your faith in yourself. There is a certain part of the brain that gets activated when we learn new stuff and this is what questioning stimulates. Believe it or not, this does work.
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