What’s the opposite of luck in business?

 About a month or so ago, I read Charles Duhigg’s new book titled The Power Of Habit. The book is an enjoyable read about the power of habit and what we can do to change our habits in life, business, and society.

The first three chapters make up the heart of the book, but my favourite chapters are:

The second chapter, “The Craving Brain,” which includes a new take on the story of Pepsodent (I was familiar with it already because of my interest in the work of Claude C. Hopkins). In the same chapter, Charles suggests a simple formula for creating new habits in others.

The third chapter, “The Golden Rule of Habit Change.” In it, the reader learns how Tony Dungee reinvented the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts by instilling habits into his teams. If you read one chapter in this book, make sure it is this one.

The most surprising thing in this book for me however, was to discover that the author was surprised when he found out that big companies such as Target do all they can to influence our shopping habits. (For example, Target collects all kinds of data on every shopper it can, including whether you’re married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how much money you earn, if you’ve moved recently, etc..)

Charles strikes me as a sophisticated person: he’s a reporter for The New York Times; a published author; etc. Why is it, then, that professional sellers (i.e. retailers such as Target) being intentional in optimizing their chances of success in business for the purpose of profit still news to anyone? The reality is, most people don’t really pay too much attention to those kinds of things.

This brings us to this question: Who do you talk to about new business building ideas? Where do you go when you want to think out loud about a solution to a business problem? Chances are, the majority of people you know don’t own their own businesses, nor are in business for the purpose of profit. They’re likely good, sophisticated people, just like Charles, but are they experienced in the business arena?

My 2¢:
Are you as intentional in optimizing your chances of success in business for the purpose of profit as you could be? We are the only living beings on Earth with the power to create our own worlds within the world in which we find ourselves. All other living creatures are controlled entirely by instinct. They never ask, “What will I do?” But not you and I. You and I can write our own ticket. It’s easy to forget that.

Jan 25, 2013