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“The study walks the reader through the fascinating field of death awareness, which measures how people respond to reminders of death, like a news clip about a deadly car crash. When and how, he asked, does the prospect of death become relevant to employees at work? Grant argued that when people’s reactions to reminders of death are “hot” — anxious and panicked — those workers tend to withdraw. But when they are “cool” — more reflective, as in response to chronic reminders, the kinds, for example, firefighters face — those workers would be more likely to “reflect on the meaning of life and their potential contributions.”—Insights from social psychologist Adam Grant’s lab. Complement with the mortality paradox, cultural icons on the meaning of life, and Tolstoy’s timeless reflection on the subject at the end of his own life.
“For Grant, helping is not the enemy of productivity, a time-sapping diversion from the actual work at hand; it is the mother lode, the motivator that spurs increased productivity and creativity. In some sense, he has built a career in professional motivation by trying to unpack the puzzle of his own success. He has always helped; he has always been productive. How, he has wondered for most of his professional life, does the interplay of those two factors work for everyone else? Organizational psychology has long concerned itself with how to design work so that people will enjoy it and want to keep doing it. Traditionally the thinking has been that employers should appeal to workers’ more obvious forms of self-interest: financial incentives, yes, but also work that is inherently interesting or offers the possibility for career advancement. Grant’s research, which has generated broad interest in the study of relationships at work and will be published for the first time for a popular audience in his new book, Give and Take, starts with a premise that turns the thinking behind those theories on its head. The greatest untapped source of motivation, he argues, is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other peoples’ lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.”—
Fantastic New York Times Magazine profile of organizational psychology wunderkind Adam Grant, the youngest-tenured professor at highest-rated Wharton professor, by Susan Dominus.
It’s particularly interesting to consider the implications of these findings in the future of gift economies.
Grant’s fascinating research is a centerpiece of Dan Pink’s “ambivert”theory of success.
“Organizational psychology has long concerned itself with how to design work so that people will enjoy it and want to keep doing it. Traditionally the thinking has been that employers should appeal to workers’ more obvious forms of self-interest: financial incentives, yes, but also work that is inherently interesting or offers the possibility for career advancement. Grant’s research, which has generated broad interest in the study of relationships at work and will be published for the first time for a popular audience in his new book, “Give and Take,” starts with a premise that turns the thinking behind those theories on its head. The greatest untapped source of motivation, he argues, is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.”—
Susan Dominus, Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?
A deep piece on the research and personality traits of Adam Grant, Warton Business School professor and the author of the soon-to-be-released Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success , in which he argues that a sense of service to others — an almost obsessive focus on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives — may be the single greatest key to productivity, much greater than trying only to help ourselves.
, in which he argues that a sense of service to others — an almost obsessive focus on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives — may be the single greatest key to productivity, much greater than trying only to help ourselves.
Read the case study that started his career: as a sales lead at an academic fundraising call center, bringing in a student who benefitted from that fundraising, and letting him tell the callers, directly, of how it had changed his life, led to enormous gains in their productivity, gains that could not be explained by other factors, even when the callers themselves were unaware of that motivation, or actively pooh-poohed it.
Day 47: Write a thank you letter to a former teacher
I thanked a man driving a Cadillac yesterday for not hitting me with his car.
I had been crossing a busy intersection in downtown Washington DC when the driver, making an abrupt turn around a corner, thomped on his breaks a meter away from my quivering kneecaps.
“Oh, phew, thanks,” I said, hopping out of the way. The driver peered at me from behind a cloudy windshield for a few moments before slamming on the gas once again. Back on the sidewalk, I realized how odd my reaction must have seemed.
But my unusual thank you’s don’t stop there. I thank cashiers in the middle of transactions for accepting my cash, I thank police for writing me speeding tickets and I even thank the promoter outside the vomitous gentlemen’s club near my office. “A $10 lunch break special? Oh, no. Not me. Thank you though, sir. Have a good day.”
It’s an uncontrollable and uncomfortable habit, and I blame my parents for this insensible gratitude. But I digress.
Studies have suggested that being grateful can have a positive impact on your well-being, phsyical health, produce positive emotional states and help individuals cope with stress.
Researchers Adam Grant and Francesco Gino published the results of a 2010 study, which investigated the effect gratitude had on individuals.
For their research, 69 participants were asked to provide feedback to a fictitious student named Eric on a cover letter for a job opening.
Eric replied back to all of them after receiving their messages asking for additional help, but he only thanked half of them in his response.
Grant and Gino found that only 32% of the participants who were not thanked agreed to continue to help Eric with his cover letter. But that number jumped to 66% when Eric expressed any form of gratitude for their previous advice - a whopping 100% increase.
The most intriguing part about this study is that the researchers also found it wasn’t necessarily the courtesy of being thanked that persuaded the participants to help Eric with his second letter; rather the act of thanking them made the individuals feel valued and needed. It reassured them of their worth, pushing the them to help others through more good deeds.
The research suggests that being thanked puts social capital in your bank, builds your confidence and prompts you to go on the hunt for more thank you’s.
On day 47 of The Time Hack, I wrote a letter to my former high school English teacher, thanking him for the “wonderful lessons” I received a decade ago.
According to Grant and Gino’s study, this may in fact prompt him to continue to inspire future writers for years to come.
But as for the driver of the Cadillac, I fear I may have inspired him to run down future pedestrians with his car in the hope of building social capital.
Thanks for reading.
The School Girl Fantasy || Adam & Selena
Selena sat at one of the desks in the back with papers in front of her. School was the one thing that made her feel normal. Checking out boys but not touching. That wasn’t cheating because her emotions and her hands went to Sebastian only. She smiled at the thought of her boyfriend. It wasn’t a big deal right? She knew he did it too. She was told. She licked her lips a bit and shook her head, her eyes glanced on Adam. The one teacher that made it hard for every girl to think in class. She brought the cap of her pen to her lips and watched him as she slowly started to daze into her day dream.
Teach me how to fight || Adam & Selena
Selena walked out of her house and sighed, shutting the door behind her. Tyler was passed out in her dad’s old room. She was still a little tipsy. She couldn’t handle the fact that Paige could possibly be dead. What if she was dead? She let out a sigh and walked towards the warehouse where she practiced her hits. She breathed out and looked down at her hands as she walked, her eyes lifted up to the side walk. She rubbed her palms together and walked over to the doors of the warehouse and pushed it open. If she wanted to be able to do this mission with Tyler and Stefan she had to make sure they didn’t need to be behind her 24/7 to make sure she didn’t get hurt.
“For givers, power is associated with responsibility to others. This means that power often grants givers the latitude to help others without worrying about exploitation by takers or sheer exhaustion. For takers, on the other hand, power is a license to advance their own interests.”—
Great blog post on Linkedin from Adam Grant, author of GIve &Take. I have the intuition we are going to hear a lot about this book. Perfect.
Givers and Takers
But Grant believes that in terms of giving, we all have the same muscle; it’s just that he and the other givers in his book have exercised it more. In “Give and Take,” he cites a study that found that most people lose physical strength after enduring a test of will, like resisting chocolate-chip cookies when they are hungry. Typically, the study’s subjects could squeeze a handgrip for only 25 seconds after an exercise in willpower. But one group distinguished itself, squeezing the grip for 35 seconds after the test of will. They were people who were on the giving end of the other-directedness scale. “By consistently overriding their selfish impulses in order to help others, they had strengthened their psychological muscles, to the point where using willpower for painful tasks was no longer exhausting”….
- Name: Adam Grant
- Faction: Vitonian
- Age: 35
- Occupation: Repo Man
- FC: Jude Law
There isn’t much to be said about Adam. The Vitonians have his unwavering support and loyalty. He’s cold, calculating and merciless. He thoroughly enjoys being a Repo Man so he gets to act out his violent tendencies. He has a bit of a rebellious streak, however, he adheres to the rules and the order of the Vitonian society. So he expects the others to do the same. He’s quick and deadly and probably one of the best Repo Men in any of the factions. This is why he is the first choice for the decidedly more dangerous jobs.
He’s very tight lipped about his past life or his life in general, not caring to get close to anyone. He doesn’t care who you are or what you do. He has no room in his already tight schedule to pass judgment or receive it. As long as one stays on his good side, there will be no problems.