There’s plenty of advice out there on how to work hard, seize opportunities, and succeed, says Deepak Chopra in a recent LinkedIn post. “[But] more attention needs to be paid to what not to do, especially now, when opportunities for many appear to be shrinking.”
“In my experience, [these are] the worst things you can do in the course of your career,” he says. They are:
1. Setting your expectations too low.
2. Feeling that you have to be certain.
3. Not seeing how much you will grow.
Chopra offers an explanation for each.
1. Low expectations
While some people are gifted with “roaring self-confidence,” most are insecure and uncertain, he says. “They want to feel safe, and they think that by lowering their expectations, a sense of security will come to them. It isn’t true.”
He says setting your expectations too low may keep you trapped in a job that has a low possibility of turning into anything worthwhile. “For every copy boy who becomes editor of the newspaper, every tour guide in Hollywood who sells a blockbuster script, there are hundreds more who remain stuck in those jobs,” Chopra says. “It’s not really the job that keeps anyone stuck; it’s the psychological limitation of setting your expectations too low.”
2. The certainty trap
“Life is uncertain, and the vast majority of people feel so uneasy about this that they seize on certainty when they shouldn’t,” he says. Especially when it comes to our careers, so many people are inclined to take the easiest and most comfortable path — they pursue a job that others expect them to pursue, base their decisions on others’ opinions, and avoid risk-taking at all costs.
“Yet real success is built upon making peace with uncertainty, turning the unknown into a field of creative possibilities,” Chopra says. “Personal uncertainty is hard, undoubtedly. It takes a conscious effort to place yourself in a position where things are open-ended. But if you don’t, the other alternative is being in a position that’s closed off.”
Chopra said in an earlier LinkedIn post that he wished he had known the importance of “embracing the wisdom of uncertainty” when he was just starting his career.
3. Neglecting growth
When professionals apply for a job, they typically try to prove to the employer that they can handle the role and its responsibilities. But this isn’t necessarily the best approach.
“This ritual is empty, a piece of drama that’s supposed to show confidence,” Chopra says. “In reality, great careers are built on growth.”
Instead of showing that you already know how to handle the job, you should strive to prove that you have the skills and experience necessary to succeed, but point out that it will require some learning and growth on your end. Then make it clear that you’re ready for this type of challenge.
“Seeing your own potential to grow isn’t easy, especially when you are young. But it’s a mistake not to see that you will grow, meaning that your future self, although out of reach, has an enormous amount to offer,” Chopra says.
Chopra also offers advice on how to avoid these three career-limiting mistakes. Check out his LinkedIn post here for more.
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