Ep. 155 – Adam Grant: What’s Next: How to Turn Your Idea into a (Successful) Business

Adam Grant James Altucher

I don’t want to be afraid.

But I am.

I’ll explain why. But first, I want to introduce you to Adam Grant. He has the solution to my problem…

And maybe your problem, too.

Adam is the youngest tenured (and highest-ranking) professor at The Wharton School, a work and psychology writer for The New York Times, and the New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success.

In researching his new book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam met with today’s most successful and innovative entrepreneurs.

Why?

To get answers.

“We have a ton of guidance on how to generate ideas,” he says. But what about after? What do you do?

That’s what Originals teaches you. How to bring new ideas into the world.

Which is really important to me. Because that’s what I’m afraid of.

I’m always afraid I’ll run out of things to write about. That I’ve said it all. And my creativity will die.

There’s no grand theory on how to be “original.” But there are tricks.

And Adam reveals them on my podcast.

He made a lot of discoveries. Including behavioral patterns we can copy.

From Gladwell, Adam learned the most powerful technique to induce creativity. Listen at [20:06].

From Larry Page and the Warby Parker guys, he found a common thread. Hint: don’t quit your day job. But, more on that later.

First, I’m going to tell you the top three tricks to becoming “an original. And four of the most useful lessons you’ll learn from today’s podcast:

  • The most powerful techniques to induce creativity (including Malcolm Gladwell’s library trick) [20:06]
  • Should you plan your procrastination? [25:20]
  • An ode to the idea muscle: why it’s more important to have quantity over quality ideas [28:19]
  • How to get into a flow state (even during tasks you don’t like) [51:32]

Ok. Here they are. The top three techniques you need to know to become “an original:”

1) Induce creativity

First unlearn. Then learn…

We’ve all internalized things we need to question.

That’s what adults do. We make up rules and reasons. We draw lines instead of pictures… tell “facts,” not stories.

But why can’t we play with our food? Or stand on the counter?

Kids think. Kids create.

We can get back to that.

You just have to unlearn. And then re-learn.

“This comes back to our idea of broadening your experience and your knowledge,” Adam says. “You need to step outside of your field in order to see what you should be challenging.”

Immerse yourself in new domains. Go beyond work. Beyond your office. Beyond the usual.

Personally, I dabble in a lot of things. I play games. I write. I read. I’m involved in lots of businesses. And I recently tried stand-up comedy.

“I’ve just pursued things I’m curious about,” Adam says, “and then unexpectedly, they turn out to have bridges between them.”

That’s the key to learning. Be curious. Do something new. Do a dare of the day. It’s good for your creative health.

2) Don’t quit your day job (yet).

Give yourself time to build your business.

It worked for me. I you tell why in this episode. Listen at [21:31].

“I was stunned actually,” Adam says. He read this in a nationally represented study of American entrepreneurs: “People who did what you did, James, and kept their day job are 33% less likely to fail.”

So be conservative. It’s one of the best ways to be original.

3) Propel your ideas forward

Doubting your ideas can be paralyzing, so eliminate self-doubt.

According to Adam, a lot of originals said, “Look, you could fail by starting a business that flops or you could fail by not starting a business at all, and I don’t want to be in that second category.”

Jump to [22:09] for ways to fight self-doubt. And believe in your ability to create.

Listen now.

Let’s stop being afraid…

Together.

Resources and Links:

  • Partha Iyengar

    Awesome Interview with incredible insights!! Thank you!!!

  • Luigi Simpatico

    great interview, will defo pick up the book