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Inflection Points: Why You Never Want to Cheat at Solitaire

January 25, 2014, 12:00 AM

Unless you are a contestant on The Bachelor, you really don't need to date every woman that is out there in order to find your spouse. You need to limit your choices, or else, chances are, you will make a bad choice.

Who hasn't made a bad decision when it comes to love? According to Howard Stevenson, professor at Harvard Business School, the key to attaining satisfaction in life is actually to learn from negative experiences. These critical inflection points, Stevenson argues, are the most valuable moments in that they allow you to reevaluate your goals and calibrate your vision. And yes, this applies broadly to life, not just dating. 

In a lesson on Big Think Edge, the only forum on YouTube designed to help you get the skills you need to be successful in a rapidly changing world, Stevenson explains that an inflection point is defined by a place where there is no tangent to the line.

So what does that mean? You can pick almost any direction. The problem with that, of course, is that you are faced with too many choices. You need to edit those choices, Stevenson says, in order to allow yourself to properly analyze your best options. 

"When things are negative," Stevenson says, "the questions is, 'what resources do I have now to move forward?'" This might involve getting dumped or being fired.  "That’s obviously not a pleasant experience," Stevenson says. "But, in fact, it may give you an opportunity to ask, “Am I in the right career?  Am I realistic?'"

Being honest with yourself - or not cheating at Solitaire, as Stevenson puts it - is essential because "many people have a notion of themselves that’s not borne out by the facts."

Sign up for a free trial subscription on Big Think Edge and watch Stevenson's lesson here:

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Inflection Points: Why You ...

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