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Susan Cain Quotes

Susan Horowitz Cain

Susan Cain quotes: helping loners live their best life.

“Use your natural powers—of persistence, concentration, and insight—to do work you love and work that matters.”

“Unleashing a passion can transform a life.”

“When you’re feeling scared, genuine passion will lift you up and give you the excitement you need to propel you through your fear. Fear is a powerful enemy, but passion is an even stronger friend.”

“So often, when you see someone who’s really good at almost anything, it’s because they actually started out exactly the opposite—and then they cared so much about fixing that problem.”

“But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters.”

“The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of available power, but to use well the kind you’ve been granted.”

“Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strengths. You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extrovert that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you. But when you’re focused on a project that you care about, you probably find that your energy is boundless.”

“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow, steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way. It’s up to you to use that independence to good effect.”

“When you’re more focused in getting your message across than you are worrying about how people are viewing you, that’s huge.”

“Unhappy people tend to see setbacks as contaminants that ruined an otherwise good thing, while generative adults see them as blessings in disguise.”

“Train yourself to spend energy on what’s truly meaningful to you instead of on activities that look like they’ll deliver a quick buzz of money or status or excitement. Teach yourself to pause and reflect when warning signs appear that things aren’t working out as you’d hoped. Learn from your mistakes. Seek out counterparts (from spouses to friends to business partners) who can help rein you in and compensate for your blind spots.”

“What looks like multitasking is really switching back and forth between multiple tasks, which reduces productivity and increases mistakes by up to 50%.”

“Persistence isn’t very glamorous. If genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, then as a culture we tend to lionize the 1%. We love its flash and dazzle. But great power lies in the other 99%.”

“It takes approximately 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to gain true expertise.”

“When you practice deliberately, you identify the tasks or knowledge that are just out of your reach, strive to upgrade your performance, monitor your progress, and revise accordingly. Practice sessions that fall short of this standard are not only less useful—they’re counterproductive. They reinforce existing cognitive mechanisms instead of improving them.”

“Deliberate practice is best conducted alone for several reasons. It takes intense concentration, and other people can be distracting. It requires deep motivation, often self-generated. But most important, it involves working on the task that’s most challenging to you personally.”

“Free will can take us far, but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits. Bill Gates is never going to be Bill Clinton, no matter how he polishes his social skills, and Bill Clinton can never be Bill Gates, no matter how much time he spends alone with a computer. We might call this the ‘rubber band theory’ of personality. We are like rubber bands at rest. We are elastic and can stretch ourselves, but only so much.”

Buffett is known for thinking carefully when those around him lose their heads. ‘Success in investing doesn’t correlate with IQ,’ he has said. ‘Once you have ordinary intelligence, what you need is the temperament to control the urges that get other people into trouble in investing.'”

“There’s nothing more exciting than ideas.”

“Knowledge is useless until it’s coupled with action.”

“True self-esteem comes from competence, not the other way around.”

“If personal space is vital to creativity, so is freedom from ‘peer pressure.’ Peer pressure, in other words, is not only unpleasant, but can actually change your view of a problem.”

“If this is true—if solitude is an important key to creativity—then we might all want to develop a taste for it. We’d want to teach our kids to work independently. We’d want to give employees plenty of privacy and autonomy. Yet increasingly we do just the opposite.”

“Solitude matters. And for some people it’s the air they breathe.”

“I learned to not worry so much about the outcome, but to concentrate on the step I was on and to try to do it as perfectly as I could when I was doing it.”

“There is no one more courageous than the person who speaks with the courage of his convictions.”

“Talkative people are rated as smarter, better-looking, more interesting, and more desirable as friends. Velocity of speech counts as well as volume: we rank fast-talkers as more competent and likable than slow ones. The same dynamics apply in groups, where research shows that the voluble are considered smarter than the reticent—even though there’s zero correlation between the gift of gab and good ideas.”

“We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally.”

“There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”

“Speak with conviction. Even if you believe something only 55%, say it as if you believe it 100%.”

“Keep in mind the words of Sir Winston Churchill: ‘Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.'”

“In our culture, guilt is a tainted word, but it’s probably one of the building blocks of conscience.”

“It’s so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They’re valuable traits, but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking.”

“We don’t need giant personalities to transform companies. We need leaders who build not their own egos but the institutions they run.”

“The most effective leaders are not motivated by a desire to control events or to be in the spotlight. They are motivated by the desire to advance ideas and new ways of looking at the world, or to improve the situation of a group of people.”

“If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.”

“Anyone can be a great negotiator… and in fact it often pays to be quiet and gracious, to listen more than talk, and to have an instinct for harmony rather than conflict. With this style, you can take aggressive positions without inflaming your counterpart’s ego. And by listening, you can learn what’s truly motivating the person you’re negotiating with and come up with creative solutions that satisfy both parties.”

“Love is essential; gregariousness is optional. Cherish your nearest and dearest. Work with colleagues you like and respect. Scan new acquaintances for those who might fall into the former categories or whose company you enjoy for its own sake. And don’t worry about socializing with everyone else. Relationships make everyone happier… but think quality over quantity.”

“Here’s a rule of thumb for networking events: one new honest-to-goodness relationship is worth 10 fistfuls of business cards.”

“Scores of studies have shown that venting doesn’t soothe anger; it fuels it.”

“Pay attention to what you envy. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, but it tells the truth. You mostly envy those who have what you desire.”

“A reward-sensitive person is highly motivated to seek rewards—from a promotion to a lottery jackpot to an enjoyable evening out with friends. Reward sensitivity motivates us to pursue goals like sex and money, social status and influence. It prompts us to climb ladders and reach for faraway branches in order to gather life’s choicest fruits.”

“Our schools should teach children the skills to work with others—cooperative learning can be effective when practiced well and in moderation—but also the time and training they need to deliberately practice on their own.”

“The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.”

“You can also teach your child simple social strategies to get him through uncomfortable moments. Encourage him to look confident even if he’s not feeling it. Three simple reminders go a long way: smile, stand up straight, and make eye contact.”

“Students take ownership of their education when they learn from one another.”

“As a parent, if give yourself what you need, your children will watch you doing that and will give themselves what they need.”

“I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was four years old!”

“I’m insatiably curious about human nature. I feel very lucky that as a writer I get to learn so much about it just to do my job right.”

“Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it. If this requires public speaking or networking or other activities that make you uncomfortable, do them anyway. But accept that they’re difficult, get the training you need to make them easier, and reward yourself when you’re done.”

“Those who live the most fully realized lives—giving back to their families, societies, and ultimately themselves—tend to find meaning in their obstacles.”

“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. Everyone shines, given the right lighting.”

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.”

Related: Brené Brown quotes.

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