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The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need

Daniel Pink in his book Johnny Bunko: the last career guide you’ll ever need writes about growing a new presence of mind when looking for employment and change in your life. He writes about six mindsets and their implications:

  1. There is no plan. World changes will outplace your plans and career decisions, so proceed in life with strategic (instrumental) and tactical (fundamental) decisions grounded in enlightened pragmatism. Blueprint plans and detailed flow charts for your life won’t work.
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses. Martin Seligman and Marcus Buckingham were right! Steer around weaknesses and focus on your strengths – what you do consistently well; what gives you energy; what activities create flow in you.
  3. It’s not about you. It’s about your customers; you’re not here to self-actualize; you’re here to serve. Successful people improve their lives by improving others’ lives, solving their problems, giving customers something they didn’t know was missing. The most valuable people on the job bring out the best in others, make the boss look good, and help teammates succeed
  4. Persistence trumps talent. Be an athlete: show up and practice, practice. Persistence incrementally improves performance while the lack of it erodes talent and confidence. Persistence builds the intrinsic motivation that gets done what external rewards won’t.
  5. Make excellent mistakes. A focus on failure avoidance stops activity, stopping your persistence and putting the focus on you rather than those you serve. Successful people make spectacular honking mistakes. Good mistakes that leave an imprint come from high aspirations trying to do what others have not. It’s not a mistake; it’s an action to make a difference, to contribute, to do something others have not done.
  6. Leave an imprint. Your life is finite; use your powers to do something.
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