Here is your weekly dose of clarity in the confusing world of career and professional growth.
1 RECENT ARTICLE
How does one navigate their career in a world hurtling towards uncertainty and complexity? We’re all aware that the age of linear career paths is over, but we don’t all have the decision-making tools for the many transitions we’ll make throughout our lives.
My latest article gives you a timeless framework for managing each career transition point. It’s been used by NASA mission planners, psychologists, and military officials and has roots in ancient Greek and Buddhist philosophy. It’s one typically used for organizational strategy and project management, but it’s also helped me and others make better career and life decisions.
2 INSIGHTS FROM MY OBSERVATIONS
I. We’re often held back in our personal growth not by external limits, but by our self-imposed views.
For example, let’s consider the topic of money. I recently was chatting with a friend who is taking a career break after helping to scale a large Canadian beverage brand. He shared that he benefited from working with a counselor on changing his conception of money and wealth, where his previous biases against the idea of being wealthy were impeding him from attaining wealth himself.
What he said was fascinating to me because I can see this challenge playing out for many first-generation immigrants like myself where our parents taught us scrappiness and how to trade time for money. But as we grow older — if we’re not careful — these skills that helped us when we were younger could end up capping our potential.
II. Learning languages is one of the best ways to improve the skill of meta-learning a.k.a. learning how to learn.
After finishing two weeks of Spanish intensive classes in Mexico City and ~10 hours of iTalki lessons, I’ve been surprised by how applicable language-learning strategies are to other types of learning.
Take active recall, the technique of forcing yourself to retrieve information from memory. It’s a meta-learning skill that’s proved more effective for me than any other strategy — with the exception of spaced repetition. It’s also a technique that extends to learning and developing in just about any other discipline.
Immersive language-learning also forces you to shed perfectionism for a beginner’s mind (nothing like stumbling through a taco order!), which arguably is the ultimate meta-skill.
3 RESOURCES WORTH VISITING
Harvard Business School professor Ethan Bernstein reports on results from the first-ever causal study that measured open office environments effects on face-to-face and electronic (email/IM) interactions using wearable devices and digital tracking.
The results were counterintuitive: him and his research partner found that in an open office, face-to-face interaction actually decreased significantly, while electronic interaction increased. In other words, they found collaboration shifted from taking place in-person to online. Wow.
Researching humility is a relatively new phenomenon in the field of social psychology. A review paper published in the latest issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science defines the trait as “characterized by an ability to accurately acknowledge one’s limitations and abilities, and an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented rather than self-focused.”
Across several studies, humility has been positively linked to curiosity, reflection, open-mindness, and decreased aggression. However, it remains to be seen if it’s something that can be taught or treated in therapy. There may also be a dark side, where too much of it causes self-doubt and retreat from social situations.
III. Summer is For Sampling (CharacterLab)
Psychologist Angela Duckworthy, best known for her research on grit, wrote a recent article on a topic that is near and dear to me: “Is it better to be a generalist or a specialist?”
She argues that while specialization has benefits in adulthood, it’s more valuable when we’re younger to explore and sample many interests. The research she cites makes the case that Olympic and professional athletes typically sampled a variety of sports earlier in life before they settled on their niche. Here’s to the generalists.
As always, thanks for reading and walking this journey with me.
Have a good weekend,
Career Coach and Writer