I Want to be Adam Grant When I Grow Up.

May 19, 2021

I Want to be Adam Grant When I Grow Up.

May 29, 2023

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m envious of author and professor Adam Grant. The dude is smart as a whip, generous with his advice, responds to emails within minutes, and has written more New York Times bestsellers in the past eight years than I could ever imagine. I was first introduced to him ten years ago when he featured me in his first book, “Give and Take.” No one knew Adam Grant then. He’s not even 40 now, and he has given three TED talks.

His most recent TED talk just went live and featured his newest bestseller, "Think Again," which advises us to rethink our goals, identities, and habits, and adopt a confident humility. It’s a welcome tonic in a world that has become so partisan and reactive.

But, what feels even more topical is his recent New York Times Op-Ed (oh, yeah, the guy seems to have an Op-Ed every other week in the Times...jeez) on how so many of us are “languishing” in the wake of the pandemic. Adam, an organizational psychologist, writes, “Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.”

It’s worth a read, and, who knows, maybe next time someone asks you how you’re doing, instead of saying “fine,” you’ll feel comfortable saying you’re “languishing.” You may find you’re not the only one. I particularly appreciated the article's antidote for languishing: getting into a state of “flow,” a topic we cover at MEA.

Okay, so what’s my cure for Adam-envy? We mere mortals probably have envy in some form, although it often takes the form of indignation or resentment. After brushing off my tattered copy of "Emotional Equations," I recognized that if I added a little kindness to the mix (both for Adam and myself), I could turn this envy cocktail into admiration. Additionally, I can ask the question, “What can envy teach me?” and recognize that some of the good fortunes Adam has created in his life are within my grasp if I study and emulate his success. Finally, I can practice a little “mudita,” finding sympathetic joy in the success of others.

Adam, congrats on how much you influence the world with all your zeitgeisty writing!

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