The Science of Success

The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong with Eric Barker

August 24, 2017
In this episode we ask what really produces success by looking at what separates truly successful people from the rest, we examine many common and conflicting “success maxims” and look at what the data actually says really works, we dig deep into the vital importance of knowing yourself and your own strengths, look at the power of aligning your work with your environment, and discuss the dangers of constantly overcommitting your time with Eric Barker.
Eric Barker is the creator of the blog “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” - with over 290,000 subscribers.  His work is syndicated by Time Magazine, Business Insider and he has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and more. Just recently, his new book Barking up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong was named a Wall Street Journal Bestseller.
  • The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed
  • How Eric took a myth-busters approach to success maxims and figured out what really works
  • Vital importance of knowing yourself and your strengths
  • Why you need to align with a context and environment that rewards your skills
  • What really produces success? What separates the very successful from the rest of us?
  • We take a lot of the common maxims we hear that conflict about success and look at what the DATA actually says about them
  • What are intensifiers and why should you know about them?
  • When are negatives positives? How can you know when it’s important?
  • Context really reveals when and how these maxims work or not
  • Do nice guys really finish last? What does the science say?
  • Why, in some contexts, being a jerk can pay off (and when it can backfire)
  • Strategies to improve self knowledge and know yourself more deeply
  • Pursuing your passion doesn't always lead to happiness, but pursuing what you’re good at more frequently does lead to happiness
  • Research is clear - focus on what you’re good at - and find a way to compensate for your weaknesses. 
  • Understanding your strengths allows you to plan the right way to go about achieving your big picture goals
  • Deluding yourself is often worst situation of all and you frequently end up working against yourself
  • Do quitters never win? Should we quit or persevere? How do we think about Grit?
  • The vital importance of opportunity cost - we only have so much time in the day - we have to focus in on the biggest things
  • Strategically quitting is not the opposite of grit, but enables you to focus in on the most important things
  • People consistently over-commit their time and don’t understand how little time they have
  • We consistently make the error that in the future we think we will have more time
  • Find a balance - look at what’s producing results - show grit with those things - things that aren’t producing results
  • Why you should absolutely dedicate 5-10% of your time to what Peter Simms calls “little bets”
  • The key litmus test on whether or not you should apply GRIT or QUIT
  • What research reveals (Richard Wiseman in the UK) on how you can improve your luck!
  • How do we “walk the tightrope” between confidence and delusion? How often should we “believe in ourselves”?
  • Confidence as a whole is a problematic paradigm, confidence follows success, it doesn’t lead to success - it has NO effect on outcomes, only impact on trying to build confidence is that it increases narcissism 
  • Confidence is often either delusional (detached from reality) or contingent (which can crash your self esteem)
  • Self compassion provides all the benefits of self confidence with none of the drawbacks
  • How to change the way you talk to yourself and cultivate self compassion
  • The simplest and easiest cure for the “plague” of procrastination you can use right now!
  • The more you work, if you’re actually doing deliberate practice, the better you do
  • What’s more important HUSTLE or work life balance?
  • There is an, essentially linear, relationship between time and skill development
  • 10,000 hours alone is proof of nothing - its all about deliberate practice - our current understanding of skill development is grossly oversimplified
  • Difference between obsession and passion?
  • In living a truly successful life - relationships, alignment, and fulfillment are essential
  • And much more!