13 Pieces of Advice From Adam Grant, From His New Best Seller Book

I used to believe that superstars and millionaires were born that way. They had it all from the beginning. They were lucky. But I am not. So every time I struggle, and I struggle a lot, I blame luck. After all, I am not a superstar.

But as I grew up and saw people succeed from nothing. They built their own luck. I was intrigued. Curious. I wanted to know more. I wanted to learn more about how people found their potential so I could find mine. That’s when I found the book with the perfect title, ‘Hidden Potential’. If I didn’t know the author from before, I would have been reluctant to read it as I usually avoid titles that match exactly what I am looking for. I don’t know why, but I always feel it is more of a trap. How come there is an exact title to what I am looking for? But I knew the author. I had read his books before and I enjoyed them, especially his bestseller ‘Think Again’.

In this book, he mentions 13 secrets, or recipes, or whatever you want to call them, to truly find your true potential.

1. Unleash hidden potential through character skills

The people who grow the most aren’t the smartest people in the room. They’re the ones who strive to make themselves and others smarter. When opportunity doesn’t knock, look for ways to build a door — or climb through a window.

2. Don’t be afraid to try a new style

Instead of focusing on the way you like to learn, embrace the discomfort of matching the method to the task. Reading and writing are usually best for critical thinking. Listening is ideal for understanding emotions, and doing is better for remembering information.

3. Use it or never gain it at all

Put yourself in the ring before you feel ready. You don’t need to get comfortable before you can practice your skills — your comfort grows as you practice your skills. As polyglots show us, even experts have to start from day one.

4. Seek discomfort

Instead of just striving to learn, aim to feel uncomfortable. Pursuing discomfort sets you on a faster path to growth. If you want to get it right, it has to first feel wrong.

5. Set a mistake budget

To encourage trial and error, set a goal for the minimum number of mistakes you want to make per day or per week. When you expect to stumble, you ruminate about it less — and improve more.

6. Increase your absorptive capacity

Seek out new knowledge, skills, and perspectives to fuel your growth — not feed your ego. Progress hinges on the quality of the information you take in, not on the quantity of information you seek out.

7. Ask for advice, not feedback

Feedback is backward-looking — it leads people to criticize you or cheer for you. Advice is forward-looking — it leads people to coach you. You can get your critics and cheerleaders to act more like coaches by asking a simple question:
“What’s one thing I can do better next time?”

8. Figure out which sources to trust

Decide what information is worth absorbing — and which should be filtered out. Listen to the coaches who have relevant expertise (credibility), know you well (familiarity), and want what’s best for you (care)

9. Be the coach you hope to have

Demonstrate that honesty is the highest expression of loyalty. Model effective coaching by being forthcoming in what you say and respectful in how you say it. Show people how easy it is to hear a hard truth from someone who believes in their potential and cares about their success.

10. Strive for excellence, not perfection

Progress comes from maintaining high standards, not eliminating every flaw. Practice wabi sabi, the art of honoring beauty in imperfection, by identifying some shortcomings that you can accept. Consider where you truly need the best and where you can settle for good enough. Mark your growth with Eric Best’s questions:
Did you make yourself better today?
Did you make someone else better today?

11. Enlist judges to gauge your progress

To figure out whether you’ve created a minimum lovable product, ask a few people to independently rate your work on a scale of 0 to 10. Whatever score you receive, ask them how you can get closer to 10. Be sure to set an acceptable as well as aspirational result — and don’t forget that to get high scores on your top priorities, you may have to be satisfied with lower scores on the others.

12. Be your own last judge

It’s better to disappoint others than to disappoint yourself. Before you release something into the world, assess whether it represents you well. If this was the only work people saw of yours, would you be proud of it?

13. Engage in mental time travel

When you’re struggling to appreciate your progress, consider how your past self would view your current achievements. If you knew five years ago what you’d accomplish now, how proud would you have been?

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