“This is not a “touchy-feely book,” says Robert Kaplan, referring to his latest work, What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential. Think of it instead as a workout. “I’m trying to get you in shape and dust off some of the muscles you haven’t used for reaching your potential,” says the former Goldman Sachs vice chairman.
Kaplan’s book is very much about process, or the specific steps that are required to take action.
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In order to reach your potential, here are the rules of the road that you must follow:
1. Believe That Justice Will Prevail
What happens if you don’t believe justice will prevail? Simply put, you’ll get jaded and cynical. When your cynicism persuades you to give up on your internal moorings and
convictions, you start obsessing about pleasing other people and meeting their expectations. You get away from understanding yourself and knowing what you believe in—and you start to make poor decisions.
2. Beware of Conventional Wisdom
Conventional wisdom is, in a nutshell, the prevailing views of others. Although this wisdom is all around us, it is frequently dead wrong—particularly as it relates to you. It tends
to be backward looking, and it fails to take into account your distinctive attributes and experience.
3. Act Like an Owner of Your Life and Your Choices
Managing your life and your career is 100 percent your responsibility. Do you act like it?
You are not a passive bystander in your own life.
4. Be Realistic, and Adapt to Circumstances
You can’t let day-to-day setbacks—even major ones—knock you completely off the path of reaching your potential. Constantly fighting fires can become a way of life, and constantly dealing with short-term crises can create a vicious cycle.
5. Be Open to Learning
If you’re open to learning and to changing your behavior, you have a terriﬁc chance to reach your potential. It is critical that you be motivated to learn, change, and go further in your life.
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