We're a week into the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. You'd have to be living under a rock to not know that basketball madness is upon us.
Part of its appeal to entrepreneurs is the potential for anything to happen. Upsets. Misses. Underdogs and favorites. If a record hasn't been broken yet, or a bottom-seeded team upsetting a favorite team - just wait, it will happen.
And for a small moment, the tournament gives us hope. It reassures us that with enough hard work, our time will also come.
But there's one thing you may not know about basketball and business that should give you even more hope.
If You Miss One Shot, You'll Miss the Next Shot... Right? (Wrong!)
In basketball and business, we talk a lot about being on a hot streak or on a cold streak.
It's the belief that a player who hits a few shots in a row is more likely to hit their next shot (that's a hot streak). Or the belief that a player who miss a few shots in a row is more likely to miss their next shot (that's a cold streak).
We think the same is true for our business: If we're on a hot streak, nothing can stop us. And if we're on a cold streak, nothing can save us.
But take heart. As it turns out, statistically speaking, there's no such thing as a hot or a cold streak. Researchers from Cornell and Stanford dispelled that myth with cold hard facts (The Hot Hand in Basketball, Cognitive Psychology).
If You Miss One Shot, You're Just as Likely to Make the Next Shot
To do this, they first examined field goal statistics from the Philadelphia 76ers.
What did the data tell them? A player who misses a field goal, is just as likely to hit their next field goal. There is no correlation between missing a single shot, and making the next shot.
Worried there might be naysayers to their findings, they decided to look at free throw statistics from the Boston Celtics. Free throws, after all, have little interference and are completely under a player's control.
The data this time? It too debunked the theory of hot and cold streaks. There were no links between hitting or missing the first free throw, and hitting or missing the second free throw.
Read this again: Statistically speaking, there is no such thing as a hot or a cold streak. In basketball or in business.
If You Fail in Business Once, Try Again... You're Just as Likely to Succeed
In both basketball and business, hitting the next shot is determined by skill, preparation, and persistence. It has nothing to do with hitting or missing the prior shot.
If you fail once, you're not destined to fail again. Pick that ball up, and shoot again.