When they discover that their child is good at particular things and lacking at others, some parents make a mistake by focusing too much on completing the void. If the kid finds him/herself good at music, why push them to be a math prodigy? Being good at something and being of it is actually a gift! Why not focus on improving that one particular skill? Why create the complication of having to make a choice? Sometimes, playing too much by the rules is actually pretty dangerous. The kid may get lost and end up wasting their strength and talent.
This is just one of this book’s key messages. Author Eric Barker goes on to explain how supposedly good advice can block our way to success. He inspects each piece of advice on success from two different angles: how it can benefit and endanger us.
Let’s look at attitudes towards work. He explains how ass-kissers and jerks get way ahead at work while nice guys finish last. But he also shows that how too much ass-kissing can lose people’s trust, and why sometimes nice guys get to be on top. This is linked with the other personality types that determine success: Givers, Matchers, and Takers; with givers being the nice guys.
Have you ever been told never to give up? Well, sometimes quitting can be beneficial; you just have to learn how and when to put your foot down.
Barker also explains the importance of trust and how we can learn the value of trust from gang members and criminals.
Do you believe you can find your soul mate or potential spouse by using a mathematical equation? Well I do agree with you that it sounds weird but Barker actually cites an experiment called the “optimal stopping problem” to predict how many dates you have to go through until you finally meet that special someone.
Work life is hard. Sometimes you have to stick with a boring job to avoid being broke and unemployed. Barker can show you ways to make your boring job lovable. For those who’d rather work for themselves, you’re in luck; studies show that entrepreneurs and small business owners are more satisfied with their lives.
Also, learn to say no. Here’s a quote from Warren Buffett, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.”
Barker further states the importance of having and being a mentor, having enough sleep, having good social connections, and learning to control your environment.
“Barking Up the Wrong Tree” is Eric Barker’s debut piece. You can check out his website of the same name, which offers scientific details on how to be awesome in life.