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Celebrating Success Beyond Being a Wunderkind: Embracing Growth and Personal Achievement - Extended



Our society often idolizes the naturally gifted, whether in academics, sports, or the arts. However, success isn't exclusive to these early bloomers. Eric Grant, an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, emphasizes the importance of applying knowledge consistently for true progress. This extended blog post delves deeper into Grant's 11 life changes for achieving success and Lyn Christian's insights on defining personal success.


Eric Grant's 11 Life Changes for Success

1. Embrace Discomfort

  • Theory: Comfort zones are the enemy of growth. Embracing discomfort, whether in learning new skills or tackling challenging tasks, accelerates development.

  • Application: Actively seek tasks that push your boundaries. For example, if public speaking terrifies you, start with small group presentations and gradually increase your audience size.

2. Set a Mistake Budget

  • Theory: Mistakes are not just inevitable; they are essential for learning. Setting a 'mistake budget' reframes the idea of failure as a positive, learning-focused experience.

  • Application: Define a weekly 'mistake goal' in your work or personal learning. This could be trying a new strategy or technique that might not work initially.

3. Seek Advice Over Feedback

  • Theory: Feedback often dwells on past actions, whereas advice is future-oriented and constructive.

  • Application: After completing a task or project, instead of asking "How did I do?" ask "What could I do better next time?"

4. Choose Trustworthy Sources

  • Theory: The quality of advice is critical. It should come from sources with credibility, familiarity, and care.

  • Application: Seek mentors or advisors who have relevant experience, understand your context, and genuinely wish to see you succeed.

5. Aim for Excellence, Not Perfection

  • Theory: Perfectionism can be paralyzing. Aiming for excellence means maintaining high standards while accepting that imperfection is part of the process.

  • Application: Set realistic standards and identify areas where 'good enough' is acceptable. This approach reduces stress and increases productivity.

6. Be Your Own Last Judge

  • Theory: Self-assessment is crucial. It's more important to meet your own standards than to overly prioritize others' opinions.

  • Application: Before finalizing a project or decision, ask yourself if it meets your personal standards and truly represents your abilities and values.

7. Find Joy in Daily Routines

  • Theory: Transforming routine tasks into enjoyable activities can lead to sustained engagement and better skill development.

  • Application: Gamify routine tasks or incorporate elements of play. For example, challenge yourself to complete a task within a time limit or with a creative twist.

8. Back Up to Move Forward

  • Theory: Progress sometimes requires reassessing and revising your approach, even if it means stepping back temporarily.

  • Application: When faced with a roadblock, take a break to reassess your strategy. Consider alternative approaches that might seem like a step back but offer a clearer path forward.

9. Teach to Learn

  • Theory: Teaching a concept can deepen your understanding and reinforce your knowledge.

  • Application: Volunteer to teach a skill or topic you're learning. This could be in a formal setting or informally among friends or colleagues.

10. Support the Underestimated

  • Theory: Building systems that offer opportunities to everyone, including the often overlooked, creates a more inclusive path to success.

  • Application: Advocate for and participate in programs that support diverse talent. This could involve mentoring, sponsoring scholarships, or supporting community initiatives.

11. Practice Mental Time Travel

  • Theory: Reflecting on past achievements helps appreciate current progress and maintain motivation.

  • Application: Regularly take time to reflect on your past achievements and how far you've come. This can be done through journaling or meditation.

Lyn Christian's Guide to Personal Success

Defining Success on Your Terms

  • Importance: Avoid the trap of measuring success by others' standards. Define what success means to you, focusing on personal happiness and fulfillment.

  • Approach: Reflect on what brings you joy, satisfaction, and a sense of achievement. This could range from career accomplishments to personal growth and relationships.

Lyn's Three Indicators of Success:

  • Truth: Align actions with personal values.

  • Focus: Dedicate yourself consistently to your goals.

  • Strength: Persist through challenges and learn from mistakes.

15 Steps for a Successful Life

  1. Define Core Values: Align life with inner values for meaningful success.

  2. Clarify Goals: Choose goals that resonate with your values.

  3. Be a Learner: Embrace learning over winning.

  4. Create a Support System: Seek mentors and groups for motivation and advice.

  5. Dedicate Time: Commit to regular practice and learning.

  6. Choose Meaningful Goals: Pursue goals worth the effort.

  7. Seek Inspiration: Explore new experiences for clarity.

  8. Take Calculated Risks: Step out of your comfort zone wisely.

  9. Learn from Experts: Draw knowledge from successful individuals.

  10. Ask Questions: Inquire and learn without hesitation.

  11. Seek Feedback: Use constructive criticism for improvement.

  12. Break Down Goals: Turn large ambitions into manageable steps.

  13. Rest and Reflect: Take breaks to rejuvenate and gain clarity.

  14. Maintain Creativity: Engage in creative activities for mental expansion.

  15. Prioritize Health: Balance hard work with healthy habits.


Success is an expansive and personal concept. It's not reserved for the naturally gifted but is attainable for everyone through growth, learning, and personal reflection. By adopting Eric Grant's life changes and Lyn Christian's approach to defining success, we can all find fulfillment and achievement in our unique journeys. Remember, your path to success is yours alone – define it, embrace it, and celebrate every step along the way.


As, always

Be Kind, Do Fearless

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