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The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers

Is your head full of ideas that could transform the way you work, what your industry offers or how people are connected to each other?  But when It comes to executing them do you find yourself stuck in cycles of doubt and procrastination?  If yes, never fear it turns out new research suggests this could be the key to your success.

Professor Adam Grant at Wharton Business School has found that the most original people – those who not only have new ideas but take action to champion them, who stand out and speak up, who drive creativity and change in the world –are non-conformists with their own unique formula for success.  It appears they somehow understand that being quick to start but slow to finish can boost creativity, that you can motivate yourself to try by doubting your ideas and embracing the fear of failing and that you need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.

If you’re not sure that this original approach could really pay off, then watch Adam’s TED talk to discover how Leonardo Da Vinci, Martin Luther King and the founders of Warbly Parker harnessed these approaches to create their own break-through successes.

What Will You Learn?

  •  [1.12] Originals are nonconformists people who not only have new ideas but take action to champion them.  They are people who stand out and speak up.  Originals drive creativity and change in the world.  They’re the people you want to bet on.
  • [7:19]   Procrastinating can be a vice for your productivity, but it can be a virtue for your creativity. Many great originals are quick to start but they’re slow to finish. To be an original you don’t have to be the first one to have the idea, you just have to be different and better.
  • [8:57] Often original people can look confident, but behind the scenes, they feel the same fear and doubt that the rest of us do. They just manage it differently.  There are two kinds of doubt:  self-doubt and idea doubt.  Self-doubt is paralyzing.  But idea doubt is energizing – it motivates you to experiment and refine.   The key to original thinking is not to see failure as a dent on our ability.  But rather we need to remind ourselves that first attempts are often not right, and that we’re just not there yet.
  • [11:52] Originals are also afraid of failing, but what sets them apart from the rest of us is that they’re even more afraid of failing to try.   They know that failure can come not only from a business that goes bankrupt, but also by even failing to start a business in the first place.  Ultimately our biggest regrets are not our actions but the chances not taken.
  • [12:20] Originals also have lots and lots of bad ideas.   The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most. And if we want to be more original, we have to generate more ideas.
  • [14:47] You can boost your creativity by being quick to start and slow to finish.  And you can motivate yourself to try by doubting your ideas, accepting the fear of failing, and knowing that you need many bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.


What Can You Try?

  • Listen to the messages you tell yourself when you fail. Instead of seeing failure as a negative view it as an opportunity to develop and grow.  Tell yourself that you are not there yet, and learn from your mistakes.
  • Ask yourself what kind of doubts do you experience – self-doubt or ideas doubt? Turn your self-doubts around by reframing them as idea doubts, and notice the difference it makes to your energy.
  • Build your confidence by taking action, especially when the action involves risk and failure. Step outside your comfort zone and if the very idea feels overwhelming focus on how your actions can benefit others to kick-start your confidence.  Start with small challenges that allow you to grow, improve and gain confidence.  If you fail, think about how you can do it better next time and try again.


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