Getting to Yes, And

Laura Huang: Edge- Turning Adversity Into Advantage


Laura Huang

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Kelly reconnects with Harvard professor Laura Huang to talk about her new book which offers the science behind seeing all obstacles as gifts.

The book is titled “Edge” and that last “e” stands for “effort” which comes last, in your mind, to our ability to succeed.

“Deep down at some point in our lives, we realize that hard work alone is not enough. I would never say the hard work is not critical; hard work is critical, but hard work alone is not enough. And that's because outcomes and success is often determined by things like perceptions and signals and cues and stereotypes. That's why the ‘E’ for effort, hard work comes last. We think it comes first and it'll speak for itself. But, in fact, when you know how to enrich and delight and guide, that's when your effort and hard work actually work harder for you.”

You also note that we can sometimes over-prepare and if we have an authentic understanding of ourselves, we can allow ourselves to improvise more effectively in order for people to see who we really are.

“What I find in my research is that there's a preparedness angle and then there's the underprepared, and then there's the overprepared. And we don't think enough about that continuum of preparedness and what that means for our ability to guide the perceptions others have of us and which, in turn, allows us to guide them much more effectively and in a deeper, richer sort of fashion. It’s almost like a formulaic thing and improvisation is the opposite, it’s the counterpoint to tha., that it's not formulaic that you're just your, your ad hoc sort of improvising. There is a perspective that you can embrace that allows you to be much more able to dynamically improvise.”

I love the idea in the book that you have to know your basic goods and always focus on those rather than just keep adding on new stuff.

“As you try to grow and scale, that's the most dangerous point in time for companies. Because they're trying to grow so quickly that they forget that in order to grow, you have to prune. Think of yourself like a tree. If you're going to grow tall, you have to prune; you have to focus. And so if we're facing challenges and we're facing adversity, when you're confused when you're uncertain, go back to those basic goods. What makes you really who you are? What are your superpowers?”

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