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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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The Rules of Power

The Big Idea for Friday, May 10, 2013

Who gets to define success?

Harvard Business School’s Robert Steven Kaplan argues in his new book, What You're Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential, that success is not about meeting someone else's definition, but reaching your potential by defining it on your own terms. 

So how do you get there? Kaplan shares a specific and actionable approach to defining your own success and reaching your potential. In today's lesson, Kaplan speaks of the importance of being able to tell your personal story -- and not just along the lines of the traditional success story narrative. 

Kaplan argues that you need to be able to tell yourself the story of your setbacks as well in order to overcome unconscious roadblocks that tell you things like "I'm not good enough!"



  1. 1 There's No Success Like Failure: Why You Need to Learn to Sing the Blues
    Robert Steven Kaplan What You're Really Meant To Do
  2. 2 Failure is not an option. It's a necessity.
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  3. 3 We're Not As Moral As We Think (And How That Gets Us in Trouble)
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  4. 4 Jonah Lehrer on Learning From Mistakes
    Jason Gots Think Tank

The Rules of Power

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