Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers

Adam Grant shares why fear, doubt, procrastination, and bad ideas help original thinkers succeed. 

If you look across fields, the greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they’re the ones who try the most. Take classical composers, the best of the best. Why do some of them get more pages in encyclopedias than others and also have their compositions rerecorded more times? One of the best predictors is the sheer volume of compositions that they generate. The more output you churn out, the more variety you get and the better your chances of stumbling on something truly original. Even the three icons of classical music — Bach, Beethoven, Mozart — had to generate hundreds and hundreds of compositions to come up with a much smaller number of masterpieces. Now, you may be wondering, how did this guy become great without doing a whole lot? I don’t know how Wagner pulled that off. But for most of us, if we want to be more original, we have to generate more ideas.

— Adam Grant

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