Adam Grant’s book Think Again reminded me of Anais Nin’s quote, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” And therefore, we can see them differently if we choose.
Some of the tips he offers for putting a new lens on our views include valuing curiosity, looking for information that goes against what you believe, focusing more on improving yourself and less on proving yourself, looking for people who will challenge you with feedback to help you grow, using questions rather than statements when listening to others, talking to kids at dinner about different topics and what they think about them, considering better practices rather than best practices to always raise the bar, and not asking kids what they want to be when they grow up.
Not asking kids what they want to be when they grow up was also something Michelle Obama mentioned in her book Becoming. Because when we focus at a young age on a career as the final goal and push through to that point without assessing if we are on the correct path, we often realize at the end of that journey that the ladder we were climbing was leaning up against the wrong wall. And then sunk costs force people to remain where they landed.
No matter where we are on our journey, we can rethink our next step. We can change course and begin again.
Grant writes, “At work and in life, the best we can do is plan for what we want to learn and contribute over the next year or two, and stay open to what might come next. To adapt an analogy from E. L. Doctorow, writing out a plan for your life ‘is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.'”
You can make the whole trip that way. So buckle up and drive on.