Determinism & Replacement Pictures
February 19, 2013
On any given day, I'd like to reverse the quicksilver flow of time, the bullet train of calendar pages that mark campaigns won and lost. Alas, most decisive events happen only once, then roll away into the past, leaving us marked and changed. Most of us share this sensation, though we're not quite sure what to do about it. It should be quite clear by now that simply looking for a gold watch in the trash bin is not a high percentage formula for success. Messianic greats like Patton took the Machiavellian road: "Never give counsel to your fears," he said. The General was onto something.
The question is not whether we will experience fear; in fact it's a sign of intelligence, inevitable to the human condition. Fear finds us all as surely as the tides find the sand. It should be encouraging to know that more and more behaviorists are signing-off on the evidence of the linkage that connects fear and outlook to our success-failure ratio. The technical lexicon for our self-realization in this emerging subject is "Emotional Intelligence." It explains a great deal about those we lead and those we follow.
In an experiment with college freshmen, psychologist Daniel Goleman established a compelling case for this relatively newfound benchmark for human temperament. His data is valid and unalterable. A group of 1,000 incoming freshmen entering Kansas University were posed the following question: "Although you set your goal on getting a B, your first exam score, counting 33% of your total grade is returned as a D. It is now one week after getting that D. What do you do next?"
Determinism made all the difference. The response from a third of the students with high levels of hope and determination was to work harder to originate a range of things like extra credit projects to bolster their final grade. Another group of students with mid-level optimism thought of a few possible ways to improve their grade, while those with negative resignation and low levels of hopefulness gave up, accepting a disappointing course outcome.
When the Kansas University psychologist measured this model against traditional predictive measurements such as ACT or SAT, he was stunned to discover that entering levels of determinism out-performed test scores as predictors of success! Over their four-year career, KU students with highest levels of optimism tracked better than those with the best ACT or SAT scores! The implications are stunning and far reaching.
World-renowned performance psychologist Lou Tice stressed there are three ways we communicate: words, pictures and emotions. And there are four levels of subconscious response to our major problems:
- Negative resignation ("It's no use, I can't improve, it's just the way I am").
- Recognition ("I ought to lose weight, I could quit smoking")
- The Vow ("One of these day's I'm gonna...") though it rarely occurs, and
- The real way out and up, Replacement Pictures ("When I stop getting angry I'll see things differently" or "When I quit procrastinating I'll really be in control of my life").
We can conclude when given a comparable range of intelligence, those with higher levels of optimism achieve more in virtually every endeavor. Maybe the great Satchel Page said it best: "Ain't no chance if you don't take it." As a leader in 2013 recognizing that "Emotional IQ" is unassailably part of our success or failure, doesn't it make sense to coach our people to believe failure scripts can be changed and success can be found through determinism?