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“It's lonely at the top. Most People Are Not Willing to Fail If you're not willing to fail, you guarantee you'll stay average-at-best. Going to counseling, becoming a student of your craft, and constantly failing aren't fun.
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I recently spoke to Raghunathan about his book, and the interview that follows has been edited and condensed for the sake of clarity. Could you provide an example of that disconnect?

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Raj Raghunathan: If you take the need for mastery—the need for competence—there are two broad approaches that one can take to becoming very good at something. One approach is to engage in what people call social comparisons.


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There are many problems with that, but one big problem with that is that it's very difficult to assess. What are the yardsticks for judging somebody on a particular dimension? What are the yardsticks for being the best professor?


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Is it about research, teaching? Even if you take only teaching, is it the ratings you get from students, or is it the content that you deliver in class, or the number of students who pass an exam or take a test and do really well in it? So it gets very difficult to judge, because these yardsticks become increasingly ambiguous as a field becomes narrower or more technical.

So what happens in general is that people tend to gravitate toward less ambiguous—even if they're not so relevant—yardsticks. People judge the best professors by the number of awards they get, or the salary that they get, or the kind of school that they are in, which might on the face of it seem like it's a good yardstick for judging how good somebody is, but at the same time it's not really relevant to the particular field.

And those yardsticks are ones that we adapt to really quickly. So if you get a huge raise this month, you might be happy for a month, two months, maybe six months. But after that, you're going to get used to it and you're going to want another big bump. And you'll want to keep getting those in order to sustain your happiness levels.

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In most people you can see that that's not a very sustainable source of happiness. Raghunathan: What I recommend is an alternative approach, which is to become a little more aware of what it is that you're really good at, and what you enjoy doing. When you don't need to compare yourself to other people, you gravitate towards things that you instinctively enjoy doing, and you're good at, and if you just focus on that for a long enough time, then chances are very, very high that you're going to progress towards mastery anyway, and the fame and the power and the money and everything will come as a byproduct, rather than something that you chase directly in trying to be superior to other people.

If you were to go back to the three things that people need—mastery, belonging, and autonomy—I'd add a fourth, after basic necessities have been met. And that worldview can be characterized, just for simplicity, in one of two fashions: One extreme is a kind of scarcity-minded approach, that my win is going to come at somebody else's loss, which makes you engage in social comparisons. And the other view is what I would call a more abundance-oriented approach, that there's room for everybody to grow.

Pinsker: I was really interested by the line you were drawing in the book between abundance and scarcity, because instantly that makes me think of economics: Economics is, in many ways, the study of things that are scarce. Can you talk about the mental processes that are at play when people are thinking in terms of scarcity? Raghunathan: I'm not trying to argue in the book that the scarcity mindset is either shallow or completely useless. If you're caught in a warzone, if you're in a poverty-stricken area, if you're fighting for your survival, if you're in a competitive sport like boxing, the scarcity mindset does play a very important role.


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Most of us are the products of people who survived in what was for a very, very long time, in our evolution as a species, a scarcity-oriented universe. Food was scarce, resources were scarce, fertile land was scarce, and so on. So we do have a very hard-wired tendency to be scarcity-oriented. But I think what has happened over time is we don't have to literally fight for our survival every day. I think that as intelligent beings we need to recognize that some of the vestiges of our evolutionary tendencies might be holding us back. One experiment you talked about in the book found that workers who received a daily email to remind them to make decisions that maximize happiness reported being markedly happier than those who didn't get the email.

Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust after traveling across several time zones or switching to the night shift. There is a big difference between the amount of sleep you can get by on and the amount you need to function optimally. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average adult sleeps less than seven hours per night. While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.

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Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least 7 hours of sleep. Since older adults often have trouble sleeping this long at night, daytime naps can help fill in the gap. Think again. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that some people have a gene that enables them to function well on six hours of sleep a night. If you give yourself plenty of time for sleep but still have trouble waking up in the morning or staying alert all day, you may not be spending enough time in the different stages of sleep.

Each stage of sleep in your sleep cycle offers different benefits. You can ensure you get more deep sleep by avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and being woken during the night by noise or light. While improving your overall sleep will increase REM sleep, you can also try sleeping an extra 30 minutes to an hour in the morning, when REM sleep stages are longer. How is it possible to be sleep deprived without knowing it? Most of the signs of sleep deprivation are much more subtle than falling face first into your dinner plate.

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Lack of sleep affects your judgment, coordination, and reaction times. In fact, sleep deprivation can affect you just as much as being drunk. Sleep deprivation has a direct link to overeating and weight gain. There are two hormones in your body that regulate normal feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin sends signals to the brain when you are full. So, the more sleep you lose, the more food your body will crave. Rule out medical causes for your sleep problems. The average person has grown up in a family where he has never met or known anyone who was wealthy.

He goes to school and socializes with people who are not wealthy. He works with people who are not wealthy. He has a reference group or a social circle outside of work who are not wealthy. He has no role models who are wealthy.

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This is why people who grow up in homes where their parents are wealthy are much more likely to become wealthy as adults then people who grew up in homes where their parents are not. And of course, if it never occurs to them, then they never take any of the steps necessary to make it a reality. Learn the first step you need to take in order to get on the path to financial independence. Even if a person reads a book, attends a lecture, or associates with people who are financially successful, nothing changes until he makes a decision to do something different.

https://yqyqedyboker.tk They never make a firm, unequivocal commitment or definite decision that they are going to become wealthy. People always have a good reason not to begin doing what they know they need to do to achieve financial independence. It is always the wrong month, the wrong season, or the wrong year. Business conditions in their industry are no good, or they may be too good. They may have to take a risk, or give up their security.