Anyone who understands the game of cricket may be quick to understand this, though it no doubt applies through other sports and, of course, business.

During the week Australia played South Africa in a test match. Each party has two innings (where 11 players bat and total score for the two innings is registered.) Australia batted first, and only one batsman, the captain, did any good, and Australia got to through on a paltry score of mid 200's. South Africa, then batted and fared badly, with no batters doing any good.

At this point it gets interesting, since now there is an "acceptance" in the player's mind that the track i.e the batting pitch is very difficult to get runs on. Australia then go into bat for their second innings and don't make a combined score of 50 runs! South Africa then comes out in the notoriously difficult last innings of the test, where the pitch notoriously has deteriorated, which should be the most difficult innings of the match, and they then smash Australia, scoring runs with ease.

What is of interest here is the role the past conditions and the perceived situation has in affecting the batters mind set. With Australia having trouble in the first innings, then seeing South Africa in the same situation, there was acceptance by them walking out for their second bat that "no one can score a run", and so they didn't!

Is there a lesson to learn here? Probably. Don't accept the norm, and the less you know about the past, in one of the great contradictions of investing, the better off you may be, and stay flexible and adapt on your feet, (if you're a one trick pony, you have to know when the crowd is after you), and don't give weight to the excuse "markets are tough at the moment.





Speak your mind

3 Comments so far

  1. steve on November 14, 2011 10:51 am

    I think of two examples of how negative expectations can affect results.

    Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have been on of the most dominate teams in the AFC in the last 7 years. In fact they registered a record of 12 win seasons in a row. Peyton Manning had to be put on the slhelf for this season and they plummeted to a winless campaign for this season. Now the team is not materially different but the expectation is. Thus the result is congruent with the thinking.

    Mike Tyson was completely unbeatable in his early 20’s his raw power was unequaled and he was the youngest champion ever in the heavyweight ranks. Tyson fights Buster Douglas in Tokyo and gets knocked out in the 9th round. He never reclaims the crown again due to the perception that he is invincible. Well Tyson goes to prison for 3 years and the memory of how “Iron Mike” eliminated his opponents faded. Then he faced Evander Holyfield and could not intimidate him. Tyson loses twice to Evander the second time on a DQ for biting Evander’s ear. He is never the same after that.

    Tiger Woods began his pro career in 1997 he was a winning machine until 2008 and he wins the US Open in a playoff against Rocco Mediate. Now he comes back and has a few close finishes in a major in 2009. But his results are declining and declining. Much of it can be attributed to the fact that the younger players were small children when Woods was amassing his remarkable string of victories and they did not have to compete against him. Now they have their eyes wide open and do not give Woods much respect. As a result, their minds are not encumbered with the “mystique of Woods” so they are free to relax and play their game without mental confusion.

    In Summary: True champions and successful people learn how to free their minds from their bodies and do not allow stress or others expectations to cloud their tinking and judgment.

  2. steve on November 14, 2011 11:24 pm

    If one wants to become a better businessperson, better leader, or a better person, or a better anything, I strongly endorse and recommend the ESPN show on Mike Krzyzewski. This is an extremely well produced and presented biography on one of the finest coaches in any sport at any level. I would recommend recording it and reviewing for meals for a lifetime.

    Nuff said.

  3. david on November 18, 2011 12:31 pm

    Did the batter steal the catcher’s helmet and gloves and what’s with the chin guards the batter is wearing?


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