Recognizing Hidden Opportunities

Some people say ‘luck is opportunity meeting a prepared mind.’

So how do you prepare your mind?

What are people who experience more of life’s lucky breaks doing differently? ‘Lucky breaks’ like synchronicity, being in the right place at the right time, bumping into the right people.

How are they thinking and behaving that sets them apart?  

Results from long term studies¹ show they share the following behaviour patterns. (Brain-based science explains how these behaviours work together. Let me know if you’d like more on the research.)

1. Connecting with people

  • Even during casual encounters like sharing an elevator, waiting in lineups, ‘lucky break’ people are more likely to exhibit non-verbal cues others read as being responsive and approachable.
  • They smile and initiate conversations, use gestures and physiology perceived as open – palms up, legs and arms uncrossed – and maintain twice as much eye contact.
  • Because of these behaviours, they build more successful, long lasting, trusting relationships. 

Steps you can take
Think you’re more comfortable with goals, tasks and data, than relating to people? Or you’ve been an introvert from birth? Does this mean you’re out of luck? No!

With a little practice and coaching in the basics of non-verbal communications, you’ll be surprised by how comfortable you can be … connecting with others whenever and wherever you chose.

You will need hands-on practice for this so take a workshop if at all possible. The benefits will impact all areas of your life.

 If you have NLP training
 Practice the A-R-T of rapport; use pacing and leading.

 Bonus
 Research on consumer behaviour² shows: the non-verbal sensory cues people experience during business and social interactions are mostly unconscious, yet they create the feelings people have about their experience. Those feelings have more influence on future (buying) decisions than facts or product features.

 2. Expect the best

Once you set your outcome, believe in it. Always expect the best, even when a goal is a stretch. At the very least, you’ll get valuable feedback. Plus you’ve heard those stories about overnight success … usually preceded by years of collecting feedback.

There is a wealth of research demonstrating the power of expectations, like the placebo effect in medicine, and studies on the expectations of teachers affecting the results of their students.

Steps you can take

  • Be curious. Examine the unexpected.
  • Use quirky humor (brains hate being bored.)
  • Use questions that help you see from different perspectives. For example, many NLP techniques were developed by changing perspectives on problems. By saying: “This is cool!” and “What else can I use it for?”

Other questions you can play with:

  • “What did I expect to happen?” “What really happened?” “What can I learn from this?”
  • “What if ….?” “What else can this mean?” “What question haven’t I asked yet?”

We can all learn from the processing pattern called dyslexia. People with dyslexia naturally see from many perspectives. It’s like their mind’s eye moves around seeing things from all sides.

  • Take an object you can hold in your hand and check it out from all sides. Now add a second object. Shut your eyes and imagine moving around the two objects so you can view them from both sides, top and bottom. Next think about your situation and view it from different perspectives by adding different elements and actions.

Many people with dyslexia have used this talent to innovate and lead brilliant careers. (Today there are also ways to harness dyslexia and make school easier as well.)

If you have NLP training
 Use Perceptual positions, Reframing, Chunking Up then lateral and down, Anchor creativity and solution states, neutralize stress with Time Based techniques.

 ¹Richard Wiseman and the Perrott-Warrick Research Unit, Hertfordshire University in the UK. 10 year study on luck;
 Kashdan, Rose and Fincham, 2004, Curiosity and exploration–facilitation positive subjective experiences and personal growth opportunities; K Anders Ericsson, Florida State U., 30 years research on expertise, various fields. 

²Consumer Behaviour Research (neuro-science)

  1. When asked about product choices, if people don’t know consciously, they will make up salient, plausible and socially acceptable reasons for what they do.¹
    In other words, customers will tell you what they think they should want, based on social influences – a tendency that has led to some costly miss-takes in consumer research.
  2. While features and benefits supply the rational reasons to justify a decision once it is made, the unconscious sensory elements of an experience have a far greater influence (positive or negative) on emotions, buying decisions and customer loyalty.¹
  3. Non-verbal cues and linguistic markers provide the most accurate information about what people want and intend to do, because they are largely unconscious. ²

¹ J. Le Doux, Center for Neural Science, NYU, Your Emotional Brain 1989
² J. Kagan, Harvard Mind:Brain:Behavior Initiative, 2002

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