Sunday, July 19, 2015

The danger of misguided persistence

Covey once said that if the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take just gets you to the wrong place faster. No matter how intensely and intelligently you scale those rungs. 

I remember interviewing for gig as a curriculum developer at tech startup. I could have sworn I was perfect for the project, but then the hiring manager said something I’ll never forget. 

Your skills and personality and background and commitment are impressive. But unfortunately, you’re just not talented in a way that’s necessary to fit into our machine. Sorry. 

Damn it. I really wanted that gig, too. But I understood where she was coming from. Hiring me would have been like leaning the ladder against the wrong wall. 

And so, therein lies the danger of misguided persistence. No matter how much we believe in our own abilities, and no matter how impressive those abilities are, sometimes, it’s simply a matter of fit. 

Here’s another way to look at it. Remember when you studied the multiplication tables in third grade? The first rule you learned was, any number multiplied by zero is still zero. No matter how big that number is. 

Before walking into your next interview, take a moment to make sure you’re not multiplying by zero. Otherwise it’s just a waste of everybody’s time.

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
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