When Working Harder Doesn’t Work, Time to Reinvent Your Career - Deepstash
When Working Harder Doesn’t Work, Time to Reinvent Your Career

When Working Harder Doesn’t Work, Time to Reinvent Your Career

Curated from: hbswk.hbs.edu

Ideas, facts & insights covering these topics:

5 ideas


876 reads


Explore the World's Best Ideas

Join today and uncover 100+ curated journeys from 50+ topics. Unlock access to our mobile app with extensive features.

The striver's curse

The striver's curse

Professional young athletes expect their talents to taper off in their early adulthood, and many prepare for a second career in advance. Musicians are similar and often find that their abilities decline over time.

Studies found that knowledge-based professions, such as lawyers, financial professionals, doctors, also decline between their late thirties and early 50s. Startups favour the young, between 21 and 34. This is called the fluid intelligence curve.

However, the better people perform, the steeper the decline. The more attached they are to their success, the harder its loss hits them.


350 reads

Finding a new calling

The decline is not all past 40. Certain abilities grow during middle age that favour wisdom, teaching, and sharing ideas. Language skills tend to increase.

Moving on to a second intelligence curve means people should take on a teaching or mentoring mindset in the field they're in. For those willing to make the jump, the reward is huge.


207 reads

A roadmap to the second curve

You know it's time to look for the second curve when you don't enjoy your work as much as before:

  • You feel your competence declining.
  • Others close to you notice you're not as sharp as you used to be.
  • Other people receive the social and professional attention you are used to.
  • You have to decrease your workload.
  • People you meet don't recognise you or your previous work
  • You feel like no one.

Moving toward the second curve:

  • Evaluate and improve relationships. You'll be good at that.
  • Don't wish for something better, work for what you want.
  • Value and hire for wisdom in the C-suite and on boards.


116 reads

Understanding the second curve

Understanding the second curve

Ageing isn't all bad news. In some specific ways, you'll get smarter and more skilful. The trick to improve is understanding, developing, and practising your new strength.

  • As people age, their vocabulary and grammar increase. They are better Scrabble players and can do well in foreign languages.
  • With age, people become better at combining and using complex ideas. They may not be that good at coming up with new inventions, but they get much better at expressing and interpreting existing ideas to others.


109 reads

Defeating the striver's curse with two intelligences

Defeating the striver's curse with two intelligences

People possess two types of intelligence.

  • Fluid intelligence is the ability to reason, think flexibly, and solve problems. You learn quickly, focus on what matters and create solutions but can't maintain this as you age.
  • Crystallised intelligence relies on a stock of knowledge. It increases through middle adulthood and does not diminish until very late in life.

If your career relies only on fluid intelligence, it will peak and decline early. But a career that requires crystallised intelligence will find that decline happens much later. If you can go from one to the other, you will thrive.


94 reads



Investing and saving is not the same thing.


Letting go of past glory can pave the way for life's "second curve."

Lucy 's ideas are part of this journey:

Joining A New Team

Learn more about career with this collection

How to establish a positive team culture

How to collaborate effectively

How to build trust with a new team

Related collections

Read & Learn

20x Faster





Personalized microlearning

100+ Learning Journeys

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Supercharge your mind with one idea per day

Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.


I agree to receive email updates