If You’re Not Thinking Right, You’re Not Growing Rich

There is a way to improve your free throw ability without ever picking up a basketball.

At the University of Chicago in 1996, Dr. Blaslotto conducted the “basketball experiment” on three groups of individuals. In the beginning of the experiment, each group was tested for their free throw ability. Over the next 30 days, the first group was told to practice shooting free throws for one hour a day. The second group was told to go to the gym, but instead of practicing, they were instructed to lay down and mentally visualize successfully shooting free throws. And the third group was told to do nothing—to not touch a basketball or think much about the game for the entirety of the experiment.

Thirty days later, Dr. Blaslotto tested the free throw abilities of each of the three groups again.

The first group (who physically practiced) improved by 24%.

The second group (who only practiced in their brains) improved by 23%.

The third group (who didn’t do anything) showed no improvement and a few individuals even got worse.

What does this tell us?

Well, it becomes apparent that you can improve your basketball game without touching a basketball. Not just that, but you can improve your game at almost the same rate as individuals practicing daily by using nothing else except your brain. (I wish I could have shared this golden nugget of informations with my curmudgeon P.E. teaching in middle school who always hounded us to “practice practice practice”. Little did she know I could practice just fine from the sidelines.)

What this experiment proves is that merely thinking about becoming more successful at a specific task greatly increases your success rate.

This means that to become a successful business owner, you need to start thinking like a successful business owner. You need to start acting like a successful business owner. It doesn’t matter if you currently have a day job, hundreds of pressing obligations, or very little free time—you can start mentally conditioning your brain for success NOW because you don’t need anything special (i.e. capital, investors, time, a website) to get the ball rolling.

Successful business owners see the world in a unique way. They see possibility when other people see problems. They see resolutions when others run into resistance. They are quick to fall and quick to get back up. They are resilient, creative and motivated.

But these unique attributes of successful entrepreneurs isn’t dependent on their physicality and whether or not they hit the gym five times per week. Also, it’s not solely linked to their life experiences up until this point (although that helps). Instead, it’s their mental attitude and conditioning that carries them the distance when building businesses from scratch.

Success starts in the brain. And the brain isn’t biased…

If you’re thinking about a thriving business, you’ll become more successful at running a thriving business.

But if you’re thinking about obstacles and failures, you’ll become more successful at obstacles and failures.

Consider the basketball players—the second group of players who were instructed to visualize didn’t lay around and fret about air balls or hitting the rim. Otherwise, their performance would have decreased. Instead, they focused their attention on the desired outcome—swoosh…swoosh…swoosh. Nothing more, nothing less.

No matter what stage you’re currently in building your business, make it a priority to spend time every day envisioning your life and business like you want it to be. Stop worrying about any the obstacles and problems standing your way. Focus on the desired outcome and keep moving forward until you achieve that outcome.

It’s time to get out of your crusty mental comfort zone and start thinking about yourself, your life, and your business in the most productive and successful terms possible.

Don’t wait for an uninterrupted block of free time to begin. Make these mental adjustments starting now. Start envisioning the “swoosh” of your business on a daily basis—at home, in the car, at the office, in bed, etc.—and don’t stop until you get what you want.

Photo credit: Photo by Karola Riegler https://www.flickr.com/photos/karola/ License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
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Nick Loper - 5 years ago

Whoa that’s crazy! The people who just THOUGHT about shooting baskets improved almost as much as the people who actually DID?

That’s nuts. Power of visualization I guess. So if I imagine going to the gym, will that get me almost the same benefit as actually going? 🙂

    Laurel Staples - 5 years ago

    Haha! I wish I could just burn calories by thinking about going to the gym, but alas, I have to make myself go. Visualization is a powerful technique though. I use it all the time in business. I think it helps you get really clear on what you want so you can go after it.
    Thanks for the comment, Nick!

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