To Get What You Want, Find Ways to Want it Less

Passion is a great motivator but having too much emotion riding on a particular job, promotion, or interview is a sure way to lose the interest of your professional colleagues.

Passion is a great motivator but having too much emotion riding on a particular job, promotion, or interview is a sure way to lose the interest of your professional colleagues.


Professional consultant David Jensen says that interviewers have a sixth sense, and when they detect that someone is desperate or overly eager for a kernel of success, they loose interest, preferring a candidate who appears to have a more balanced approach to the job—and to life.

Three decades into his professional career, Jensen says he still becomes extremely passionate about taking advantage of new opportunities. But an opportunist, or someone who thinks their own achievement is paramount (rather than the collective achievement of the organization), is not who most employers are looking for.

"What matters is not fulfilling your desires but what you can do for others—for the company, for science, for a cause you care about. When you recognize that, that sixth sense that interviewers have starts to work for you instead of against you."

What is needed is a redefinition of success. It no longer means personal achievement outside the context of community and corporation. Successful job seekers and employees derive their idea of success from what can be accomplished working with others within an organization.

As Malcolm Gladwell explains in his Big Think interview, responding to job interviews successfully can be more about making friends with your interviewer than trumpeting your own skills: 

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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