"One thing I've learned as an adult that I didn't realize as a kid is how precisely you have to aim at a goal to hit it. If you choose to optimize something even slightly off to the side, you'll sometimes achieve almost nothing toward your intended goal."
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When you feel you've lost your way:
To learn the path early, ask people who've walked it before. Notice what matters to people in charge. The way forward is not creative. If you have an idea to pitch, write it into a business plan.
Creative work can rarely be measured by a universal yardstick. Thus gatekeepers rely more on signals. Artists, academics, and authors may find that their paths forward are more constrained.
There are many targets to aim at. You're never starting from scratch. Wherever you are, there are many possibilities within reach. All you require is to recognize the path ahead and stick to it.
Getting a book deal is narrow. But there's self-publishing, blogs, newsletters, and writing for magazines.
The path may be narrow, but there are more destinations than you can imagine.
Many of us don't want to face the narrow path to success. Instead, we prefer to hear the stories of rare misfits who managed to beat the odds.
To beat the odds, you have to understand the game you're playing. You have to know why success is so narrow.
Excellence is worth pursuing more than money or status. However, the idea of excellence holds a subtle distinction.
Motivation is categorized into two basic types: Extrinsic and intrinsic.
In most cases, internal job applicants who are rejected end up quitting: research indicates they are nearly two times as likely to leave their organizations compared to those who were either hired for an internal job or had not applied for a new job at all.
The lost productivity and talent, combined with the costs of finding replacements for these employees, is often substantial.
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