What do Michael Jordan and Steve Jobs have in common? Maybe several things, but one thing they had in common was that they are/were very superstitious. It is fairly well known that Michael Jordan, in every NBA game he played, wore an old pair of shorts from his college basketball days under his NBA shorts. Steve Jobs would sometimes go for weeks at a time only eating carrots and apples.
Why would they do this? Because they believed it enhanced their performance.
How could it possibly help them? The answer is self-efficacy, a fancy word for self confidence. The truth is that if you think you can do something, you are much more likely to actually be able to do it.
Consider this interesting experiment. Researchers asked volunteers to putt a golf ball into a cup. One group did 35% better than the other. What was the difference? They told the first group that they were using a “lucky” ball. That’s all! The fact that they believed the ball was lucky, made them 35% better at putting the ball. So, it really was lucky!
Without question, self-efficacy leads to enhanced performance.
How can we harness this powerful truth to help us?
When you are getting ready to make that big sales pitch, or give that big presentation to the executives of your company, or lead that important team meeting, change your self-talk to an attitude of confidence. If you have a “lucky routine,” do it; if you have a “lucky shirt,” wear it. Anything you can do to build your self confidence (self-efficacy) will probably increase your performance.
Maybe you won’t be able to dunk a basketball or create a new technology breakthrough, but you just might give the presentation of your life!