Business Insider unintentionally reveals why most people feel inadequate at work.

You don’t say...

You don’t say…

What, according to Business Insider, are the the 13 things mentally-strong people don’t do?

It turns out that they don’t show up for work as Incandescent, Sociable or Cautious people.

Read the list. Mentally-strong people are Driven people. Every item on BI’s list is a characteristic habitually exhibited by the Driven, rarely by anyone else. Even more exclusively, habit number six, “They don’t fear taking calculated risks,” marks the mentally-strong as Dc’s – Driven/Cautious personalities. How can I tell this is so? Ds’s are much less interested in calculating risks – and then they will tend to evaluate choices according to their emotional and social costs and benefits. Di’s like me will take just about any risk, provided it promises pyrotechnic results.

And everyone else? Not so mentally-strong, per the article.

This is cargo-cult journalism, of course: What else is wrong with you, and how can you fake what you think you’re missing out on, thus to make yourself feel even more inadequate?

Here’s the way the world works: You are what you are, and you won’t become a Driven personality by wishing you were one, by pretending to be one or by hating yourself for not being one. You can attempt to adopt more-Driven habits, and this can help to increase your Driven characteristics over time. But chances are, if you are Cautious, Sociable or Incandescent, you will never know the fearless confidence of the Driven. Why? Because failure matters to you – as evidenced by your worry about what traits you lack.

Most mass-market business books are written by Driven people for Driven people. The authors don’t know that. They think the rules of life they pioneer – because they don’t trust any eyes but their own – are universal laws of nature, where in fact they are simply useful rules-of-thumb for other Driven people – who typically will not read them. The buyers of these books will be Incandescent, Sociable or Cautious people, and they will learn less of value than they will gain in pain, since – not being Driven by pre-disposition – they won’t be able to implement the author’s tools, tips, tricks and tactics successfully.

They’re not wrong, they’re just different, and none of them knows they are talking at cross purposes. If you are Cautious, Sociable or Incandescent, you’re never going to be a Navy Seal or a growth-maniacal CEO – but you don’t have to be. Everyone should work to gain strength on the Driven/Sociable axis, because this is the route to greater happiness in everything you do. But you should focus your attention at work on your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Why? Because that Driven/Cautious boss that Business Insider so admires is bored by detail, is abrasive with people and is poor at hiding his contempt for the job of selling. He’s a good boss because he’s Cautious in his expressions of his unrelenting Drive, but by himself he would be lost. It’s the navigator, the oarsmen and the hortator who make the captain’s captaincy work so well.

I can show you how to make your workgroups (and families!) happier and more productive. And I can show you how to write business books that make people better at work, instead of always building cargo cults of nearly-universal inadequacy. Honestly, why would you read anyone else?

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