Adam Grant: Top Organizational Psychologist Explains How to Discover Your Hidden Potential in 2024 | E268

Adam Grant: Top Organizational Psychologist Explains How to Discover Your Hidden Potential in 2024 | E268

Adam Grant: Top Organizational Psychologist Explains How to Discover Your Hidden Potential in 2024 | E268

Adam Grant wasn’t always a dynamic teacher, speaker, and bestselling author. He struggled early on at some of the things that he does best today and even failed his first freshman writing exam at Harvard. And now in his latest book, the well-known organizational psychologist and Wharton School professor is out to help others reach their own hidden potential as well. In today’s episode, Adam shares his insights into how you can build a framework that allows you to routinely exceed expectations and achieve your goals.


Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist, a professor at the Wharton School, and a bestselling author who explores the science of motivation, generosity, rethinking, potential, and so much more. Adam hosts the TED podcasts ReThinking and WorkLife, and is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several books, including Think Again and Give and Take. His newest book is Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things.


In this episode, Hala and Adam will discuss:

– Why changing your mind is a sign of strength

– Why leaders should make data-driven decisions

– Why he imagines the next Trump or Musk in his class

– How character building is important to success

– How late bloomers can surprise us

– The dangers of perfectionism

– What he learned from a key failure at Harvard

– Why imposter syndrome is a paradox

– Defining success by progress and not performance

– The importance of seeking discomfort

– How to manage procrastination

– And other topics…


Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist and bestselling author who explores the science of motivation, generosity, rethinking, and potential. He is a professor of management and psychology at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, rethink assumptions, and live more generous and creative lives. Adam hosts the TED podcasts ReThinking and WorkLife, and authors a free monthly newsletter, GRANTED. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of multiple books, and his latest book is Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things, which offers a new framework for raising aspirations and exceeding expectations.


Resources Mentioned:

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Adam’s Podcasts:

Adam’s Newsletter (Granted):

Adam’s latest book Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things:


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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: 

Yeah, bam, welcome back to the show. I am super pumped for today's episode because our guest today needs a little introduction. I think you guys all know who he is. I'm a huge fan of his work. I've been reading his books and watching his TED Talks for years now, and I've actually wanted him on the show since I started this podcast back in 2018.

Our guest today is Adam Grant. He is an organizational psychologist, a professor at Wharton School of Business, and a best selling author who explores explores the science of motivation, generosity, rethinking, potential, and so much more. Adam hosts the TED podcast, Rethinking, and is the number one New York Times bestselling author of six books, including Think Again and Give and Take.

 His newest book is called Hidden Potential, the Science of Achieving Greater Things. And that's going to be the topic of today's episode. Adam, welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast. Thanks, Holla. Glad to be here. I am so pumped to have you on the show, Adam. I've been wanting to have you on the show for years, so I'm so happy we finally made it happen. And I thought a good way that we could kick off today's episode is by breaking down some of your most popular concepts over the years.

So you're a bestselling author. You've put out six different bestselling books, and you've put out a lot of ideas to the world. So I'm going to rattle off some of your most popular quotes from your books. And, uh, would love for you to give me your perspective, tell us why these are some of your secrets to profiting in life.

So does that sound good? Bring it on. Okay, cool. the first quote is on giving. The more I help out, the more successful I become. But I measure success in what it has done for the people around me. That is the real accolade. 

[00:02:52] Adam Grant: That's a quote from one of my role models in my first book, Give and Take. And it's inspired by some research I did showing that in the short run, takers often outperform givers.

But in the long run, that actually flips. And it turns out that the most meaningful way to succeed is to help other people succeed. I 

[00:03:09] Hala Taha: love that. And I am totally of a service mindset when it comes to leadership, so I agree. The next one is on thinking again. Thinking again can help you generate new solutions to old problems and revisit old solutions to new problems.

It's a path to learning from people around you and living with fewer 

[00:03:26] Adam Grant: regrets. I wrote think again because I saw a lot of people, myself included, struggle to change their minds. And look at that as a sign of weakness, when in fact, it's really a source of strength. It turns out that in a rapidly changing world, we have to be quicker to rethink and unlearn the things we thought we knew.

And I think this is hard for a lot of people, and it turns out, empirically, to be even harder for people who have high IQs. The smarter you are, the faster you are at thinking and learning, but the slower you tend to be at rethinking and unlearning. And I think that is a 

[00:04:00] Hala Taha: mistake. I love this concept so much.

I hope one day that I can have you on the show just to talk about thinking again. The next one's also about thinking, original thinking. Originality is taking the road less traveled, championing a set of novel ideas that go against the grain, but ultimately making things better. Originals are people who take the initiative to make their visions a reality.

[00:04:24] Adam Grant: I really wanted to tackle this topic because a lot of people think that they're not creative. And I was one of those people. Because if you don't have eureka moments and bold ideas, you think, okay, you know what? Creativity is not available to me. Well, it turns out that execution is massively underrated as a driver of, of whether people are able to change the world around them.

And I think that's good news for all of us who hope to make a dent, even if we're not sure that we're ready to start a business or. Come up with a world changing idea. 

[00:04:56] Hala Taha: I love that. I am such an executor. I align with that. The next one really crosses and transcends all of your different books and it's about being data driven.

You say one of my big goals professionally is to get more leaders to stop acting on intuition and experience and instead be data driven. 

[00:05:15] Adam Grant: What scares me about intuition is that it's just subconscious pattern recognition. It's the ability to recognize patterns of the past very rapidly, which is dangerous if you're in a situation in the present that doesn't match those patterns, or if the future's evolving.

And I think that leaders have a responsibility to try to ground their decisions in the best possible evidence. I would qualify that, I've had to rethink this a little bit lately because our dean at Wharton, Erica James, said to me, I'm actually not data driven as a leader. Wait, you're a fellow organizational psychologist.

How could you say that? This is what we do. We do randomized controlled experiments and longitudinal studies to try to make decisions based on systematic data. And she said, no, I'm not data driven. I'm data informed because data can only tell me about the past. And what I want to do is couple the best data with my best judgment.

And I think that sounds like a good way to operate. 

[00:06:09] Hala Taha: It's so true because something that might've worked in the past doesn't actually fit your current environment. You've got to align to what's going on right now as well. So Adam, I study a lot from my interviews and one of the ways that I do that is by listening to other podcasts.

And I heard you on another podcast talk about how Trump and Elon Musk actually went to the college that you teach at now, the Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania. And I thought that was awesome. But how does that make you feel knowing that you might have future presidents and billionaires at school?

How does that shape the way that you 

[00:06:41] Adam Grant: teach? It definitely makes me think differently about my responsibility, knowing that the students who walk in my classroom today might end up having a massive impact tomorrow. And I try to focus on what are the skills that I wish we had been teaching when Elon Musk and Donald Trump were at this fine institution.

And there's a long list of those. But they start with looking at the gap between science and practice and asking, what do I see leaders do every day that's not consistent with the evidence? And it's not hard to say when you think about a lot of the examples on the world stage, we have too many leaders who operate like takers instead of givers.

We have too many leaders who end up becoming narcissistic instead of humble. And I try to teach those skills and values in part by putting our students through experiential challenges. And watching them make decisions and then often they make mistakes because they were overconfident or because they were selfish and they start to see the long term costs of failing to develop their 

[00:07:41] Hala Taha: character.

So right now you're talking about character building. This has been a theme in your work over the years. And you're an organizational psychologist and typically you guys focus on systems and processes, but you've really focused on this idea of character building. Why are you so passionate about that?

[00:07:58] Adam Grant: Well, there's a, I think a great study that I covered in hidden potential that speaks to this. So you get entrepreneurs in West Africa, they're in their thirties, forties, and fifties, and you have some of them in a control group, hundreds of them. And then another group go through basically career skills training.

They get to spend a week. Learning finance, and marketing, and accounting, and operations so that they're prepared to build successful businesses. And over the next two years, their profits go up by about 11%. There's another group that sees their profits rise by about 30%. And they've been randomly assigned not to build their career skills, but to build their character skills.

They've spent a week practicing being proactive in anticipating opportunities instead of just reacting to what happens in the market. They've been practicing persistence by giving advice to other entrepreneurs who hit a wall and talking through, well, how would you overcome that? And they've been also practicing some elements of discipline to say, look, there are lots of temptations as a founder and a business owner.

Let's try to figure out where you really want to concentrate your attention and energy. And lo and behold, those founders who Build character skills are better positioned then to create opportunities and seize them before other people have seen them, and then to overcome whatever hurdles end up in their path.

So I've become a big fan of character building and I think it's never too late to start working on your character skills. 

[00:09:27] Hala Taha: Totally. And it's something that people honestly don't talk enough about. We're always learning about hard skills and how to develop hard skills, and that's what we learn in school.

And character building really stops after kindergarten basically. 

[00:09:39] Adam Grant: In too many cases it does, and I think that's a shame. I think that one of the things that we ought to do is we ought to try to figure out what are the character gaps that we all face for me, for example, I know that showing respect for other people is one of my core principles, but I am very frequently late and that's a gap that I need to work on closing and.

I don't think enough of us spend enough time trying to figure out where those gaps exist. 

[00:10:06] Hala Taha: Yeah. And we'll talk more about that later, because I know this ties in to your latest book, Hidden Potential. And speaking of Hidden Potential, you've talked about character building over the years. How is Hidden Potential an evolution of your work surrounding character building?

[00:10:21] Adam Grant: Well, I think each of my books has been about a different kind of potential. I realize now, having written a whole book about potential, I didn't know it at the time. But give and take was about unlocking our potential to be generous. As opposed to worrying all the time that if I help others, I'm going to become a doormat, or I'm going to burn myself out and sacrifice my own success.

Originals was about unlocking our potential to be creative. In subsequent books, I looked at the potential to be resilient, and then in Think Again, to be open minded. And now I wanted to take on potential as a topic in and of itself, and say, many of us have been given feedback early on about our potential.

Sometimes we're told we have a ton of it. Other times we're told we're not living up to it. And in many cases, people doubt our potential, or we question our own potential, and I think that is a travesty. 

[00:11:08] Hala Taha: Yeah. Well, I can't wait to dig into your new book, Hidden Potential, to get everybody warmed up. Why do you believe that everybody has hidden 

[00:11:15] Adam Grant: potential?

I think we're constantly judging ourselves and others when we start a new task. That might be, you picked up a sport, or you took on a musical instrument, or you picked a major, or a field that you want to work in, or a new job. And if you excel early on, you assume, I have a ton of potential in this area.

If you struggle or fail, you count yourself out and other people will do the same thing to you. And I think this is a massive mistake. I think the cardinal error of potential is judging people's landing points by where they start. It turns out that How you do early on is not a good predictor of how good you're going to become.

There's a great study that Benjamin Bloom led looking at hundreds of world class achievers. So studying some of the world's best artists, scientists, musicians, and athletes. And it turns out that most of them were not superstars early on, that their early teachers and coaches, even their own parents, did not see how great they were going to become.

And when they did stand out, it was not necessarily because they had superior natural ability, but because they had unusual levels of motivation. And that drive, that passion, that enjoyment of learning ended up propelling them to achieve much more than people thought they were capable of. And I think there's a little bit of that in all of us.

[00:12:31] Hala Taha: See, I think this is a really important point because What happens is when we see somebody who's really good at something, we tend to compare ourselves, but we're not seeing behind the curtain. We're not seeing all the years it took for them to get to where they are. We're not seeing their starting point.

We're seeing to your point, their peak. We're seeing them at their peak and we're judging ourselves based on their peak. Like I mentioned earlier, you do give a lot of personal stories in the book and one of the ones that I loved was a story about you trying to get better at public speaking and looking at Martin Luther King, which actually wasn't a great way to start.

Can you talk to us 

[00:13:03] Adam Grant: about that? Yeah, it was, it was a terrible idea, so I was extremely uncomfortable with public speaking. I'm an introvert. I was beyond shy, and I remember in one of my early lectures, I gave out feedback forms and afterward, one of the students had written, you're so nervous, you're causing us to physically shake in our seats.

Oops. So I want to get better. What do I do? I start studying the greats. That's what we're all told to do. So I watch Martin Luther King Jr. give his, I have a dream speech. And I'm demoralized. Completely demoralized. Because I'll never get that good. I will never come anywhere near that. And I think this might be a twist on the idea that we should never meet our heroes.

I think normally you're told not to meet your role models because they might let you down. And it's too easy to be disappointed that they're only human. Well, I experienced something different, which is, it was just daunting. It's so out of reach to even watch your role models sometimes. That you can't see yourself in their shoes.

And I think this goes a step further, actually. I think it applies to mentoring too. A lot of people think they want the biggest superstar as the best mentor. I see this all the time with my students. I see it with undergrads. I see it with MBA students. They think, okay, I've got to find the most accomplished person in my field and then soak up all of their wisdom.

Well, as I wrote in Hidden Potential, it turns out that sometimes the best doers are the worst teachers. They suffer from a curse of knowledge. They've started to take for granted all of the things that you need to learn. It's obvious to them. It's natural to them. They cannot relate to where you are because they've traveled such a great distance.

And the people that often are better suited to mentor you, the people who are often better role models as well, are the people who might be just a couple steps ahead of you, who can relate to where you are and help you build a map for where you want to go. 

[00:14:54] Hala Taha: This is so important. It's so funny because yesterday, I'm the CEO of my company, I have 50 people at my company, I have a social media agency and a podcast network.

And I'm training a girl on how to do my podcast network stuff. And like I'm talking to her and I'm like, wow, like I really need to figure out how to get back to her level. It is so much harder to explain something basic when you're well more advanced than the other person. So I totally agree with what you're saying.

If you want a mentor, find somebody who is just a few years ahead of you that can still remember what it's like to be new at it and remember. How they learned and what helped them, because otherwise there's just such a big gap it's so hard to really relate to the other person. 

[00:15:34] Adam Grant: Well put. The old saying is that those who can't do teach.

I think we might want to rethink that and say that those who can do often struggle to teach the basics. Yeah, 

[00:15:46] Hala Taha: so true. So you say people really underestimate the slow learners and the late bloomers. Why is that? 

[00:15:54] Adam Grant: I do say that. I say that in part because it's often the slow learners and the late bloomers who come up with new ways of doing things.

If you're a natural right away, one of the mistakes that you make is you tend to basically copy what's worked for somebody else. And the danger is that you never learn to do things your own way. You don't challenge the status quo. You don't reinvent the best practices that are actually obsolete. And sometimes the late bloomers and the slow learners are the people who they do work at it longer.

They were more likely to dream up a new way of doing it. I think the other thing that happens is when you have to work at it, sometimes you master it more. When it comes easy to you, when it's effortless, that's a risk factor for maybe starting to become complacent and stagnating over 

[00:16:43] Hala Taha: time. I want to dig into this a little bit because I know that people who are naturally gifted, often later in life, they have a lot of struggle.

So, for example, In college, there was a girl in my sorority and she was president of my sorority. She got straight A's. We were totally different. I was failing out of school, getting experiences and being smart and everything like that. But we were just totally different. Everything seemed to come naturally when it came to academics.

But once we graduated, my career was like this and she couldn't even get a job or keep a job and she ended up getting into multi level marketing, which is totally fine. But I just expected so much more of her being like the top student in our school. So talk to us about why some people who are gifted in school end up struggling later on.

[00:17:28] Adam Grant: That's so interesting. curious about who you just threw under the bus here. 

[00:17:33] Hala Taha: Hopefully she doesn't listen, I'm just kidding. She's a good girl, it's just interesting to see the difference after we 

[00:17:39] Adam Grant: graduated. Yeah, so there are a couple of things that could explain that, and I don't know which ones are relevant in this case, so I'm curious about your reactions, but the first thing that jumps out is Sometimes when people are used to excelling at everything, they get too easily discouraged then when they come into a challenge that is not easy for them.

Another is that the skills that lead to success in school don't always translate well to those that drive success in your career. And I think what those two explanations have in common is possibility that maybe you're talking about a perfectionist. So, was she a perfectionist? 

[00:18:14] Hala Taha: Yeah, I personally think that's what it was.

I feel like she didn't understand how to navigate not doing well once she got out of college, once the processes were different. 

[00:18:24] Adam Grant: This is one of the common challenges you see in the research on perfectionism, that perfectionists want to be flawless. They don't ever want to make a mistake. And so if they struggle at something or they fail, they think, well, that's not something that I should ever.

do more of because I'm not capable of excelling in this area. And so they give up too quickly. They're too easily discouraged by setbacks. The other thing that often jumps out on perfectionism is when you're determined to be the straight A student, you do better in school because you know what's going to be on the exam and you can channel all your energy into mastering that material.

Then you get into the real world and you find out. Not only is nobody telling you what's on the exam, there isn't an exam. what do you do in that situation? As a perfectionist, you still don't want to make any mistakes. So, you focus really narrowly on the things you can perfect. And that leads you to master easy answers instead of asking hard questions.

It leads you to stay in your comfort zone, as opposed to stretching beyond your strengths and challenging yourself to pick up new skills. And I've actually come to believe that If perfectionism was a medication, it would come with a warning label, like, Side effects may cause stunted growth. 

[00:19:40] Hala Taha: I love that.

That's so good. So, you actually have a story related to perfectionism. When you were in high school, you were diving, and you were a perfectionist, and it stunted your growth, like you just said. Can you tell us about that? 

[00:19:53] Adam Grant: Yeah, I was a springboard diver and I started late. I was not physically talented at all.

My teammates actually called me Frankenstein because I was so inflexible, which is not a recipe for being good at a sport like diving. And I didn't know actually when I started that I was a perfectionist, but pretty soon it became clear because Every day at the end of practice, my coach would say, okay, good practice.

It's over. And I would say just one more, just one more. I want to improve this one little thing. And I was always looking at something that I could perfect. And I thought that was an asset in diving because I'd heard Olympic announcers say perfect tens. Well, one day my coach Eric Best sat me down and said, you know, there's no such thing as a perfect ten.

I was like, Have the announcers been lying to us? What's going on here? And he said, no, no, just, they don't know in the rule book, a 10 is for excellence, not for perfection. There's no such thing as a perfect dive. Even a dive that gets all 10s, I can find you dozens of flaws. And what was really helpful about that was up until that point, I had been limiting myself in a lot of ways.

I only wanted to work on my easy dives because I could perfect those. And I didn't want to challenge myself to raise my degree of difficulty and learn harder dives. When I would start my approach down the board, if I was a little bit off balance, or I didn't like the rhythm of it, I would stop, and balk, and start over, and I would waste almost half my practice time, not even going in the water, because I was trying to perfect my takeoffs.

And once Eric told me there's no such thing as a perfect 10, it was liberating, because we were able to say, okay, what's a realistic target for each of my dives? And on a basic dive, like a front dive pike, we would say, all right, today we're aiming for sevens. And as soon as you get a seven, let's move on.

That's good enough for today, as opposed to saying, ah, I got to do three more to try to get the seven and a half. When I was learning a more complicated dive, like a full twisting two and a half, where you do two flips, a 360 turn, and then a dive into the water. First, Eric was like, if we don't get zeros, that's good enough.

Like you made the dive, you didn't fail it, that counts. And then as I got better at it, we were aiming for fours. And I have to tell you, I have found this scoring system to be invaluable in my career. I do this for the different projects I work on. So when I'm writing a book, my target is a nine. I have an independent group of readers.

They all do a separate read. And I don't consider any chapter done until they've given it each independently a nine. Because I'm going to pour a couple years of my work life into this book. And I want it to reflect my best possible work at that time. And hopefully a lot of people are going to read it and get something of value out of it.

When I'm writing a social media post, I am not aiming that high. I don't want to spend my entire day perfecting 280 characters. So there my target is more like a six and a half, which for me is the bar just above getting cancelled. And that calibration of saying, how important is this task? How much does it matter to get it as right as I can?

That I'm going to use to gauge like, how hard am I going to work on this? And when is it time to move on? I really feel lucky that I learned that as a diver. 

 There's two really big points that you're hitting on in what you're saying right now that I think we can uncover and unpack a bit more for our listeners.

[00:23:09] Hala Taha: The first one is with this diving, you being a perfectionist, you essentially didn't get enough cross training as a result. 

[00:23:17] Adam Grant: Oh, that's a great way to put 

[00:23:18] Hala Taha: it. Talk to us about Why it's important to have cross training when you're trying to learn and reach your full 

[00:23:26] Adam Grant: potential. Oh, I mean, you could write a whole book about, actually, David Epstein did write a whole book about this.

It's called Range. It's an excellent read about why generalists are probably underappreciated in a specialist world. I think that one of the things I actually learned while writing originals is that the depth of your experience is important, but the breadth of your knowledge matters just as much. And I think probably the easiest illustration of this is there's a study of Nobel Prize winning scientists comparing them to their peers who are technically skilled but didn't ultimately make major breakthroughs.

And one of the differentiating factors between them is that the Nobel laureates are more likely to have artistic hobbies. If I remember the data correctly, the Nobel Prize winners are twice as likely to play a musical instrument. They're seven times as likely to draw or paint. They're 12 times as likely to write.

Poetry or fiction, and they're 22 times as likely, get this, 22 times as likely to perform as actors, dancers, or yes, magicians. As a former magician, I was thrilled when I read this research, I was like, the closest I'll ever come to a Nobel Prize. What we see there is in part, you know, curious, open minded people are drawn to express themselves in the arts as well as the sciences, and that unlocks their creativity.

But also there's a case to be made that the time you spend doing art can make you a better scientist. And. One of the best illustrations I've seen of this is Galileo. Galileo was the first astronomer to recognize mountains on the moon. He was not the first astronomer to look through a telescope and see the image.

He was just the first one to know what he was looking at. Why? Because he had trained in a drawing technique that involved using different types of shading to represent elevation. So when he looked at the moon and saw darker and lighter regions, he knew those had to be mountain ranges. And I think this is, for me, a great example of cross training.

I think that the more that you know what's going on outside of your immediate field, your company, your country, the more degrees of freedom you have to look at the world in lots and lots of different ways. And I guess I got to see this up close. You may be aware in the first class I taught at Wharton, a student pitched me on a startup investment and I passed on it.

And I said, this is ridiculous. This is never going to work. You can't sell glasses over the internet. You have to get your eyes tested. You have to try them on. And that startup ended up being Warby Parker. Uh, they're a billion dollar company. And I made a huge mistake. Well, one of the things I should have done was I should have been paying more attention to what was happening in other industries.

And the founders of Warby Parker did that really well. They knew that it was one day going to be possible to do for glasses what Zappos had done for shoes and what Netflix had done for DVD rental. And I think that kind of breadth is one of the best ways to anticipate, okay, what are the next disruptions that might be coming and how do I capitalize on those before it's too late?

[00:26:26] Hala Taha: Yeah, totally. And when I think about future proofing ourselves and our careers with this AI revolution, this is one of the first things I think about. What are my unique experiences? How can I cross train? And learn things that no machine will just know off the bat that it's just my own unique experiences and skills.

How does cross training look for an entrepreneur in your opinion? 

[00:26:49] Adam Grant: It's a good question. I think what it looks like is probably doing a couple of things. One is job rotation. So one of the great things about a founder, and you know this as an entrepreneur, is you have the chance to do lots of different tasks and wear different hats.

But a lot of entrepreneurs don't do that. They try to find the couple things they're good at and stick to those. As opposed to saying, all right, what if I took a day of my week and rotated through the different roles that exist in my organization, that's going to introduce me to new skills. It's going to give me visibility to different problems.

It's going to bring me closer to the action that the people around me are doing. And by the way, it's also going to take me off a pedestal because my team is going to see that nothing is beneath me. And that I'm really interested in connecting with what they do. I think that would be one thing. I think the second thing I would, I would encourage entrepreneurs to do is to find people who they admire in deliberately different fields who are non competing with them and basically set up some time to coach each other and exchange tips.

There was a great experiment with salespeople published a couple of years ago, where salespeople in a company, they're selling different things. They're just randomly paired up complete strangers for a weekly lunch meeting. No agenda. Four months later, each of those salespeople has 24 percent higher average revenue.

Cause when they didn't have an agenda, they started asking each other questions. They picked up strategies they hadn't thought through before. I think everybody needs a peer who's not directly a rival, but is in a good position to say, Hey, have you thought about this? Have you seen that? 

[00:28:23] Hala Taha: The other thing I wanted to probe you on with your diver response was this idea of getting advice, right?

So you have this rating system, the more important the task, the more serious you take this rating system, the higher you want your score to be. What's so important to you in terms of getting advice? And you also talk about the distinction between advice and feedback. 

[00:28:45] Adam Grant: Yeah. Well, I think the rating for me is a judge.

It's somebody helping me calibrate. Okay. How good is this? And. I know if I get an 8, I'm gonna be doing minor tinkering. If I get a 3. 5, we need a major overhaul. I think what people do then is, once they get the rating, what most of us do is we ask for feedback. The problem, Hala, with asking for feedback is that it turns people mostly into cheerleaders and critics.

So your cheerleaders are the people who applaud and celebrate your best self. Your critics are the people who attack your worst self. What I want are coaches, which are people who see my hidden potential and help me become a better version of myself. And I think we all want people to coach us. The way that you get people to coach you is you shift your questions from feedback to advice.

When you ask people for feedback, they're going to look at the past and tell you what you did right or wrong. When you ask them for advice, hey, could you give me a suggestion for how to improve? They look to the future, and they start to actually coach you on getting a little closer to your potential.

And so, I found this immensely useful as a public speaker. I used to do events, and then afterward I would ask the host or anybody I ran into in the audience, what feedback do you have for me? And I'd get deer in headlights responses. When I shifted my question and said, what advice do you have for me, I started getting really useful tips.

I had audiences say, Hey, you know, it'd be great if you tailored one of your examples to our industry or to our geographic region. I had people say, you talk a lot about evidence and we're really glad that the advice that you're giving us is grounded in data, but we also want to hear about your personal experience.

So don't be shy about telling your stories. And those kinds of suggestions have really changed the way that I show up and present. And I never would have gotten them if I just asked for feedback. 

[00:30:30] Hala Taha: What would you say to somebody who is just uncomfortable getting advice? Like they have too big of an ego.

They're just never good at accepting the advice that they get, or at least figuring out how to filter the good advice and actually implement it. Well, I 

[00:30:44] Adam Grant: think you should never let your ego stand in the way of your learning. Do you want to look good or do you want to do better? I think so many people are obsessed with proving themselves when they should be focused on improving themselves.

I think the caveat I would put on there is to say, not all advice is useful. Sometimes people tell you what works for them, they don't have a clue what's going to work for you. And I think that actually makes it easier to ask for advice. I think the way that I've come to approach this is to say, look, I've got a, what I've often called a challenge network, which are people who coach me to improve by trying to point out assumptions I'm making.

that are wrong and telling me how to rethink them. And with that challenge network, what I'll often do is I'll send them something that I need their input on, and I'll ask them all to do their independent writing and then give me some advice about how to improve. And what that does is it allows me to triangulate across different perspectives of people who I trust.

So if only one person gives a suggestion, that might be their idiosyncratic taste. And if it doesn't resonate for me, I can discount it. If four different people give me the same pointer, guess what? That is a, an opportunity for quality control. They're pointing out probably something that's more objective because they all thought of it.

And so I have to pay much more attention to that. And I think the mistake a lot of us make is We just go to one or two people for advice, and if we don't like it, we stop asking. I think what we should be doing is gathering advice from more sources, and then trying to figure out what are the common patterns and themes across the tips.

[00:32:15] Hala Taha: Yeah, and I think the key really is Proactively doing this, taking the time to do it, and doing it often, because you've always got room to grow. Hard to disagree with 

[00:32:24] Adam Grant: that. 

[00:32:25] Hala Taha: So, let me step this back a little bit. Let's talk about America and how we treat gifted kids, because To your point, it turns out that most people actually are not gifted and all the great talents in the world and people who are at the peak of their fields and industries, turns out most of them nurtured their way, not natured their way, to be that successful and that good at what they do.

But in America, We've got all these gifted and talented programs and it's clear that it's the gifted kids that are prioritized. Can you talk to us about that and maybe what are some of the problems with that? 

[00:32:59] Adam Grant: I think there's a big debate and if you look at the research, I would say the conclusions are not clear.

There are studies suggesting that, actually a whole bunch of studies suggesting that if you don't have gifted and talented programs, then you're doing a disservice to kids who might have an edge in a particular skill or an aptitude in a certain area. And then there are lots of studies kind of saying the opposite.

And I think that where I've landed on this is to say, yes, of course we should have programs and opportunities for kids to explore things where They're showing some natural ability. We should be careful that that doesn't disadvantage them in the long term. We don't want them to have a purely fixed mindset about their abilities.

We want them to look at continuing to grow in those areas. We also don't want to invite social comparisons where kids who weren't recommended for gifted and talented programs are basically told they're inferior in one way or another. So what do we do with that? I think for me, what I want to do is I would love it if more schools were geared around helping every kid recognize and then realize their hidden potential.

So you may be a kid who doesn't stand out right away, but it's your teacher's job to try to figure out, okay, what is it that you have unusual interest in? And then how do we nurture and cultivate that interest? So you start building your skills. And then that can become a virtuous cycle. We know that obviously interest motivates people to develop their skills, but also the better you get at something, the more you start to enjoy it.

It's really hard, Hala, to like a task you suck at. And so very often what you need is a teacher who kind of encourages you to find what's interesting and enjoyable about a task in order to then, you know, discover that there's actually something that fires you up about it. And there are schools that do this.

In Finland and Estonia, for example, Finland actually has this every school in Finland has a student support team, basically, which is your teacher, but also a school counselor or psychologist or social worker and the principal checking in on your progress. And if you fall behind, instead of taking you off track or forcing you to repeat a grade, they actually just give you special assistance and about 30 percent of finished kids will get some kind of tutoring.

where they get to stay in their regular classes by the time they get to high school. And I think that's a really powerful way to help kids who are falling behind catch up. And I think their philosophy is that they don't want to make sure no child is left behind. They want to make sure that every child has a chance to get ahead.

And I think that ought to be at the heart of every educational philosophy. 

[00:35:34] Hala Taha: The other thing that this reminds me of that you talk about in your book is how your weaknesses can actually become your greatest strength. So if you started off bad at a certain skill, that's not to say in 20 years that might be your career and you could be making millions of dollars off that same skill that you were terrible at as a kid.

And you actually are living proof of that. You went to Harvard and you actually were called out in your first semester for being not adequate enough in terms of your writing skills. Fast forward years later and you're like a New York Times bestselling author. So tell us about that story and how you really were able to hone in on your weakness to become an author today.

[00:36:13] Adam Grant: Thanks for reminding me. It was devastating. I arrived at Harvard thinking, okay, I don't know if I'm smart enough to be here. I felt like I had a massive case of imposter syndrome. I had classmates who had gotten perfect SAT scores. I had classmates who already had patents in their own names. Actually, a guy in my dorm was the national debate champion.

It just seemed like everyone was a genius, and I felt like a regular kid. And I thought, alright, well, what do I know? Let's let Harvard judge me. So the first thing I do when I get on campus before classes even start is I take a writing test. And three days later, an envelope comes under my door, and I've failed the writing test.

So Harvard has officially told me I can't write, and they're recommending me to remedial writing, which I was told was for people who spoke English as, like, a sixth language. and heavily recruited athletes. And I was crushed. I had the basic understanding that writing is thinking. So Harvard is not just telling me I can't write.

They're telling me I'm not very good at thinking. I wanted to drop out. I called home saying, I don't belong here. I think I've made a huge mistake. I was crushed. 

[00:37:28] Hala Taha: How did you get over that imposter syndrome? And now you call it a paradox imposter syndrome. Tell us about that. 

[00:37:36] Adam Grant: I think I was stuck in a very fixed mindset at the moment.

There's this test. And it's going to determine whether I have the natural ability to be a writer or not. And the test came back. Nope, don't have it. I think imposter syndrome said, I don't know what I'm doing. And it's only a matter of minutes until everyone finds out. And I felt like the failed writing test was going to be the reveal.

I did not belong. I was not smart enough to be at Harvard. Growth mindset says, I don't know what I'm doing yet. And it's only a matter of minutes until I figure it out. And that's where I needed to go. So I was really lucky to have some mentors who said, listen, this is not a question of whether you're a natural writer.

The question is, can you become a better writer? And I decided I wanted to take on the challenge. So I rejected the advice to take remedial writing and I went straight to the regular class. And I just poured myself into becoming a human sponge. That was when I actually first started asking people to score my writing.

And then going to a bunch of people who I thought were good writers and saying, What advice do you have on getting better? How could I improve this draft? And I learned a ton as a writer. I found that one of my biggest weaknesses was structure. I see dots connecting in my head. I could build a bridge between one idea and another idea and it makes sense to me, but I haven't unpacked what the connection is and so you're completely lost as a reader.

And I still have to work on that, but I got better at it and by the end of the semester I got the only A in the class. And my teacher said, not, you're a brilliant writer. She said, I'm really impressed with the distance you've traveled and I hope you don't stop here. I didn't stop, and I still have a lot of writing goals for areas I want to improve, but that was for me definitely a story of hidden potential.

[00:39:29] Hala Taha: Well, this is a really important point, this concept of looking at the distance traveled rather than the gap of how far you have to go. Can you talk to us about why we need to focus on the progress, not necessarily the gap in where we have to go? 

[00:39:44] Adam Grant: I think too many people define their success by performance, when they should be defining it by progress.

Because in the long run, it's actually progress that determines how high you climb. And if you measure yourself just by the result you get, you're probably not going to invest in the things that will stretch you the most. I think we should value most improved more than we do. I think, you know, sometimes it's a joke.

We sort of make fun of the most improved. It's like a participation trophy. And the code is, that person is actually not talented, and so we're gonna give them kind of a fake award. Or meaningless recognition. I don't think that's true. In the long run, I will bet on the person who wins the most improved award, over the person who, who wins the superstar award.

More often than not. 

[00:40:30] Hala Taha: Why don't we piggyback to the imposter syndrome paradox, because you brought it up and I think a lot of my listeners suffer from imposter syndrome, especially in their first jobs and things like that. 

[00:40:41] Adam Grant: Yeah, so here's the paradox. On the one hand, when you feel like an imposter, you're saying, I don't know what I'm doing.

I don't believe in myself. Yet, on the other hand, you're saying, but I definitely know I don't know what I'm doing. I think that's hilarious because, by definition, this is Basima2Fix's research. When you feel like an imposter, you think other people are overestimating you. And so, you are choosing to believe your own judgment of your abilities over other people's judgments of your abilities.

And I think that's a mistake because, yes, you do know more about your own skills and talents than other people do. But you're also the least neutral person. You see yourself through a biased lens. you have so much more information about yourself than other people, that it's hard to compare yourself apples to apples with others.

Whereas other people have a more neutral, more independent, more objective view. They can look at you with the same amount of information that they look at others. And I think that if multiple people believe in you, it is probably time to believe 

[00:41:45] Hala Taha: them. Time to believe in yourself, young improfiters. So I think, Adam, where I want to take this next is I want to talk about seeking discomfort.

We've been talking a lot about different ways that we can build our character, right? So one of the ways is seeking discomfort. You suggest that in Hidden Potential we need to expect and accept awkwardness. Why? 

[00:42:05] Adam Grant: Well, mostly because I have lots of moments of awkwardness and I'm trying to normalize them.

But also because it turns out that seeking discomfort is a better way to grow than actually trying to grow. It sounds a little bit strange, but I was so stunned by this research. There's a great paper by William Fishbach where they give people a new challenge. One of their experiments is with people learning to do improv comedy.

And I always thought the best way to improve your improv skills. is to focus on learning. Like, don't worry about the impression you make, just try to improve as much as you can. Well, when they randomly assign people to the goal of learning, they actually don't grow as much as when they're given the goal of deliberately trying to make themselves uncomfortable.

I think what happens is, when you're given the goal of learning, You basically dip your toe in the shallow end. And you say, okay, I'm gonna try something that's a little bit, you know, unfamiliar to me. And then I'm gonna grow incrementally. First, I'm gonna learn to tread water, and then I'm gonna figure out how to maybe do, like, a freestyle, and then, you know, eventually I'll make my way to the deep end.

When you are given the goal of being uncomfortable, you jump into the deep end. And, you know, hopefully there's a lifeguard there to rescue you if you don't know how to swim. You have to learn much faster because you're in an environment that's a much bigger challenge for you. And I think that's the fundamental value of seeking discomfort, is the more uncomfortable you make yourself, the more challenges you take on, the more challenges you take on, ultimately the more you can grow.

And one thing I would say is, I think people think about this backward. I think most people believe, I gotta build my confidence first, before I can take that leap. But, my read of the evidence is, that the opposite is actually more powerful. That, it's through taking the leap, that you build the confidence.

So you're not going to wake up one day and all of a sudden feel ready for the challenge in front of you. You can do is say, all right, let me make myself uncomfortable, take on the challenge, and then expect that my confidence will grow as I realize I was able to navigate it. 

[00:44:15] Hala Taha: And back to our conversation about my friend in college.

Really, I think this is the whole key of everything is that she was so comfortable in college that as soon as she got out of it, it was like this different, uncomfortable, challenging, whereas other people, their whole lives are uncomfortable and challenging and they're just used to it by the time it's like they hit the real world where other people don't get those experiences and then it's just a shock when they hit the 

[00:44:41] Adam Grant: real world.

I think that forces us to look at risk a little bit differently. A lot of people, especially perfectionists, They don't want the discomfort of, of taking a risk and they don't realize that that's actually a risky life strategy. You can think about it like a stock portfolio. You would not have a balanced portfolio if you only invested in predictable mutual funds.

You'd want some higher risk, higher return options as well. And I think life is the same way. You need a balanced portfolio. If you're going to play it safe with a very stable, steady job, then you've got to balance that out by taking a risk. And throwing yourself headfirst into that improv class. Where that's going to put you is, in your life then, you're going to have a mix of more secure and more unpredictable outcomes.

And you want that mix in order to fuel your growth. 

[00:45:39] Hala Taha: Another thing that's a result of us trying to delay Being uncomfortable is procrastination, right? So we're all guilty of procrastination, especially entrepreneurs. We tend to really get things done when we have a deadline or something like that. How can we get better at procrastination?

How do we need to think about it 

[00:45:57] Adam Grant: differently? Well, I think there are two questions here. The first one is, how much procrastination is ideal? And then the second is, how do we get into that zone? So I did some research with Jihei Xin, where we found that people who are moderate procrastinators are actually more creative than people who procrastinate little or a lot.

And I think that if you procrastinate too much, it's pretty obvious that you end up just having to rush ahead with your easiest idea as opposed to working with your best idea. But there's also a risk of too little procrastination, which I've been guilty of. I'm a pre crastinator, the opposite of a pro crastinator.

I always like to get things done early, I finish ahead of deadlines whenever I can. And what that means is that I'm also rushing ahead with my first idea instead of waiting to incubate my best idea. And that's a mistake. So actually Aaron Sorkin once said that, you call it procrastinating, I call it thinking.

Which I thought was a great line. That only works in our data if you're intrinsically motivated by the problem. If you're just putting it off and you're not at all into it, you're not going to get the incubation to happen. Whereas if you're really curious about this, you delay it. It's more likely then to be active in the back of your mind and you come up with unexpected ideas and a new way to think about the problem.

So I think allowing for a little bit of procrastination can be valuable. And I'm not suggesting that you should deliberately procrastinate more. What I'm saying is procrastination is normal and sometimes it has unexpected upsides. And recognizing that means we beat ourselves up for it less. However, some people overdo it.

And I think about 20 percent of the population seems to be chronic procrastinators. So what do we do about that? Well, Hala, I'm curious, where do you fall on this spectrum? Are you a procrastinator, an extreme procrastinator, somewhere in the middle? 

[00:47:45] Hala Taha: I love to have a deadline, and I tend to do work really fast.

 pretty big procrastinator, I'd say, I'm not gonna lie. 

[00:47:56] Adam Grant: Okay, so the first question then is, what do you procrastinate on when you don't have a deadline?

Are there certain kinds of tasks that you always 

[00:48:02] Hala Taha: put off? I would say if I know that I'll be able to do it in a crunch. If I'm worried that I don't have a template or I don't know where to start, I'm not going to procrastinate that. I would never do that. But if I know I just need an hour of focus and I need a deadline so that I just knock it out, then I'll procrastinate that project if that makes sense.

[00:48:20] Adam Grant: Got it. Okay, so I think this is where people need to start when they're trying to figure out how to manage procrastination is When do I procrastinate and what do I procrastinate on? There's a psychologist, Fuchsia Sirwa, we did a podcast episode on procrastination, and she told me that certain tasks are procrastinogenic, which I thought was an amazing word.

I'm like, Oh, it's the task. It's not me. Tell me more. If you unpack the science, what you learn is that a lot of people think that procrastination is laziness. That you're avoiding hard work. You don't want to put in the effort. That's false. You are not being lazy. What you're avoiding is an unpleasant emotion that the task brings up.

So, the next step is to say, Okay, when you procrastinate, what is the emotion that you're trying to escape from? For some people, it's fear and anxiety. I'm afraid that I'm not going to be able to pull this off. I'm worried that I'm not qualified for this task. For others, it's frustration or confusion. I'm stuck.

I don't know where to go next. For me, it's most often boredom. I just don't think this task is interesting, and so I'm deprioritizing it relative to other things that I'm intrinsically excited about. And once you've identified the emotional root of your procrastination, you can try to change the emotions associated with it.

And we can talk about ways to do that, but Hala, let's bring this back to you. So what's a task you procrastinate on and what's the negative emotion that makes you avoid it? 

[00:49:43] Hala Taha: You just opened up my eyes to why I procrastinate. So I'll procrastinate things that are just mundane, that I know how to do in my sleep, but it just takes time to do it.

Because, I know I can get it done fast, but what drives me and what doesn't make me procrastinate is when I have to solve a problem. Then I just want to like get working on it, start thinking about it, start putting something on paper. But if I know already how to do something, and I know I just need a time block to do it, I'll procrastinate it because it's boring.

[00:50:10] Adam Grant: Okay, so you're a fellow boredom driven procrastinator. Yeah. Good. Okay, so now this gives you a chance to problem solve. So the question is, how can you take one of those tasks and make it more interesting? I'll give you an example from, from my trials and tribulations. One of the tasks that I really dislike is editing, because I feel like I've already figured out the idea and the study and the story, and it's going to take a lot of extra time to get the phrasing exactly right, but it doesn't fundamentally change the content that I've created.

And I found a way recently to make this less boring, which is when I don't like the way something's worded, but I'm avoiding the task of like, okay, I need to rewrite this. I tried to do it in somebody else's voice. I tried to write a paragraph like Maya Angelou, I tried to write one like John Green, I did one in an attempted Maggie Smith poem for an idea that I was trying to express, and it's usually really bad, but it's also fun and it's adding some novelty and variety into my routine, which I think is a great antidote to boredom.

So how about you? How do you fight the boredom and stop your procrastination? Or is there a new experiment you're going to run on this? 

[00:51:17] Hala Taha: I mean, one of the ways that I would do it, honestly, and tell me if this is not the right approach, I would time limit myself. Can I do this in 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes today?

So like, that's one way that I would gamify it, I guess. 

[00:51:30] Adam Grant: What I really like about that is by shrinking the window, you're limiting the boredom and you're also, you're accelerating a reward and saying, okay, if I can get this done faster, then I can move on to what I'm excited about sooner. 

[00:51:42] Hala Taha: Smart. Love that.

Okay, so one last question about continued learning, and I know we're starting to wrap up the interview here. You brought up a sponge earlier, and I didn't get a chance to kind of interject and ask you about sea sponges and why they're important to you. I 

[00:51:58] Adam Grant: never expected to learn anything about sea sponges, let alone write about them in a chapter of a book.

But. When I was writing Hidden Potential, I interviewed a bunch of people who had started out lacking talent or opportunity, and then exceeded everyone's expectations. Every single person I interviewed, without exception, in the span of about a month, said I was a sponge. Or, when I was interviewing somebody else about them, said, oh, they were a sponge.

You can only hear a metaphor so many times before you start to wonder whether it's more than a metaphor. And you can get the full unpacking in the book, but one of the a has for me was when I went to read about sea sponges, it turns out they're not just good at absorbing. They're also adept at filtering.

One of the properties of a sea sponge is it has the absorptive capacity to take in nutrients, but also the filter to expel harmful particles. And I think we all need that, especially we talked about cheerleaders and critics earlier. When you get criticism, you have to remember, not all critics are thinking critically.

Not all critics are talking constructively, and you don't want to take all the criticism you get at face value. You want to figure out, is this person credible and knowledgeable in their domain? Are they knowledgeable about me and do they want to help me? And if the answer is no to any of those questions, you should take their reactions with a grain of salt.

And that's what a good filter looks like. 

[00:53:25] Hala Taha: I love that. So young improfiters be more like a sea sponge. So Adam, we're about to close out the interview. I'm just going to ask you one more concept question about your book. And that's really about scaffolding and in your book. You say we need to devote time not only to continue learning and build character, but also to sustain motivation, and you call this scaffolding.

Can you break that down for us? 

[00:53:48] Adam Grant: I always thought that if you want to be great at something, you not only need to find the superstar to coach you or mentor you or be your role model, but you also need that one person to be with you for the long haul. You want to take a coach with you for 10 years. You want to have a mentor who's committed for your whole career.

One, really hard to find that person and get enough of their time. Two, it turns out that's actually not what you need. What you don't need is a permanent mentor, coach or teacher. What you need is somebody who can set up scaffolding, which is like. If you think about how construction crews work, you temporarily set up a structure so they can reach a height that was unavailable to them, and then at some point you remove the scaffolding and the building can stand on its own.

Well, psychologists talk about learning working the same way, that what you need is a teacher, mentor, coach, or role model who can temporarily give you some instruction, and then remove the support and let you figure out how to do it on your own. And I would go a step further here. I think that when I read scaffolding research, I thought, okay, great.

Somebody who sets up the temporary structure, then takes it away and lets you build your own. That's the person who puts you in a position to keep growing and to direct your own improvement. And actually you could get better at getting better. Then I, I read some evidence that You might want to go further and set up scaffolding for other people.

Because you understand it better when you explain it, and you also remember it better when you retrieve it. So if you really want to improve at improving, take the skill you want to learn, find somebody else who's trying to build that skill, and start teaching it to them, and you will see your own mastery grow in the process.

[00:55:27] Hala Taha: I love that, and I think the other key point of what you're saying is that throughout your career You're going to want to reach out to different mentors, but only for a season, right? So somebody can help you, but the goal is not to have a mentor for life. The goal is to have a mentor for that part of life that they need to help you get through.

Jackpot. Okay. So, Adam, this has been such an awesome interview. Thank you so much for your time. We always close out our interviews with two last questions that we ask all of our guests. The first one is what is one actionable piece of advice that our young and profiters can do today to become more profitable tomorrow?

[00:56:03] Adam Grant: Listen to the advice that you give to other people because it's usually the advice you needed to take for yourself. 

[00:56:09] Hala Taha: Mmm, that's a deep one. And what is your secret to profiting in life? And this can go beyond the topic of today's episode, beyond financial and business. 

[00:56:20] Adam Grant: I definitely don't have one secret, but I learned recently that there's something I do that apparently might be beneficial to other people, which is I was talking to one of the most successful people I've ever met.

I don't have this person's permission to say their name, but you've heard of them. And I suggested writing a book. This person's never written a book, has a lot to teach. And they said, I don't have time. And we started comparing our calendars. And the person said, I just had a light bulb moment. I lose at least an hour a day to drinking alcohol.

I have never had a sip of alcohol. Apparently that allows me a lot of extra free time. And there's not some moral or religious reason for it. I just, I'm a super taster, and I've always been repulsed by the smell, and so I've never even tasted it. And I had no idea that it was opening up all this extra free time in my day, but it seems that it does.


[00:57:14] Hala Taha: I'm sure it does, and it probably also kept you really focused over the years, so I love that advice. Alright, where can everybody learn more about you and everything that you do, and find your new book, Hidden Potential? 

[00:57:26] Adam Grant: I guess it would be adamgrant. net. You can take a quiz there to unlock your hidden potential and identify the character skill that you're strongest at and one that you have an opportunity for growth in, and you can find probably anything else you're looking for there.

The Granted newsletter, podcasts, books, TED Talks, and more. 

[00:57:45] Hala Taha: Amazing. So Adam, we're going to stick all of those links in the show notes to make it super easy for everybody who's tuning in. I enjoyed our conversation so much. I learned so much about character building and unlocking our hidden potential. So thank you so much for joining us on Young and Profiting Podcast.

[00:58:00] Adam Grant: Delighted to be here. Thoroughly enjoyed your energy and your prep, and I'm going to ask you for a zero to 10 and advice for doing better. 

[00:58:09] Hala Taha: You definitely got 10. I don't take 

[00:58:11] Adam Grant: 10s. 

[00:58:13] Hala Taha: Nine out of 10 

[00:58:14] Adam Grant: then. I'll take a nine. What's one thing I can do better? 

[00:58:17] Hala Taha: One thing that you can do better is come prepared for video.


[00:58:22] Adam Grant: definitely. That's an easy one. 

[00:58:24] Hala Taha: There you go. We all have room to improve even bestselling authors like Adam Grant. Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us, Adam. 

[00:58:32] Adam Grant: Thank you, Hala. This was a delight. 

[00:58:34] Hala Taha: You know, yeah, fam, I find it comforting to know that somebody like Adam Grant is teaching the Elon Musks and Donald Trumps of tomorrow at a place like the Wharton School, a compelling professor and established researcher who knows all about why leaders should value things like giving, character building, and good data.

And I learned so much myself from this conversation with Adam today. First, about the hazards of comparing ourselves to others. When we see somebody who's really good at something, we can't help but compare ourselves to them. And we usually find ourselves lacking. What we don't see are all the years it took for them to get to where they are.

We only see their peak, not their starting point. We just assume they have superior natural ability or a better work ethic than us. And in doing so, we do ourselves a major disservice. Another self destructive behavior that many of us, like Adam himself, engage in is perfectionism. Perfectionists want to be flawless, and when they aren't, they get discouraged.

They also take fewer risks. They focus on mastering the easy answers, like Adam puts it, instead of asking the hard questions. As I've also discussed with Benjamin Hardy and others, it's far healthier to focus on how far you've come, rather than the gap between who you are and who you wish to become. Adam says that too many people define their success by performance, when they should really be defining it by progress.

Because in the big picture, the player who consistently wins the most improved award rather than the MVP is actually going to be the one who succeeds in the long run. Want to help this podcast succeed in the long run and reach its hidden potential at the same time you're reaching your own? If you listened, learned, and profited from this conversation with the insightful Adam Grant, please share this episode with your friends and family.

Just hit that share button and text the link to this episode to somebody you know who could benefit from it. Giving will help you get ahead, too. And if you did enjoy this show and you learned something, then why not drop us a five star review on Apple Podcasts. Nothing helps us reach more people better than a good review from our loyal listeners.

If you prefer to watch our podcast as videos, you can find us on YouTube. Just look up Young and Profiting and you'll find all of our episodes published on there. You can also find me on Instagram at YapWithHala or LinkedIn by searching my name, it's Hala Taha. And before we wrap up, I did want to give a big shout out to my awesome Yap production team.

I appreciate all the hard work that you guys do behind the scenes. This is your host, Hala Taha, aka the podcast princess, signing off. 

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