The Secret of Getting Ahead in Our Fast-Paced World

media-tunnel-Erika AndersenThe secret of getting ahead in our fast-paced world is getting good at being bad first.

“The most important ability any of us can have in the 21st century is to acquire new skills, new knowledge, new ways of operating  quickly and continuously,” said Erika Andersen, a leadership readiness trainer. This ability to operate better in the world as it changes is vital for executives because human knowledge is basically doubling every 12 months. Keeping up with change and being an effective leader has become more challenging than ever before.

knowledge-doubling-curve-slideIn a recent Master Class, Andersen shared with the ExecuNet community four mental skills great learners have. These skills are demonstrated by executives who succeed in today’s fast-paced world.

Aspiration: Making ourselves want to learn things. To increase aspiration find the things that are personally motivating to you and envision your future with those benefits. You know you found the right motivation once you begin doing ___ (whatever you need).

Neutral Self-Awareness: Having and accurate, objective view of yourself as a learner, knowing where you are starting from in trying to learn something new. Knowing strengths, and weaknesses. It’s difficult to be open to what you need if you do not have this awareness. To improve in this area manage your self-talk. Be aware of your internal dialogue and be a “fair witness” of yourself – be honest with yourself.

master-of-mastery-slideEndless Curiosity: This is the fuel for learning. It’s essential to reignite the childhood curiosity that socialization turned off.  Fan the flames of your curiosity every day with curious/wondering/”what if?” self-talk.

Willingness to be Bad First: This is the most difficult because we rebel at being bad. It’s necessary to accept being not good while believing in your ability to get good. Accepting the struggle is liberating and allows for success. This is a balancing act between early struggles and self-confidence. Creating a bridge between the new learning and something you’ve succeeded at will make this challenge easier.


This is just a quick overview. Watch Be Bad First – Get Good at Things FAST to Stay Ready for the Future to hear Erika Andersen talk about these concepts in much greater detail with examples.
ExecuNet’s original series, ExecuNet Master Class, transforms the world’s leading community of the brightest business thinkers, top leadership experts, and trusted executive career advisors into your own personal network of instructors to help you do your very best work and take your career where you want it to go next. Our goal is to provide you with 365 days of inspiration to help you meet every career, business and leadership challenge that you encounter.

William Flamme

William Flamme

William Flamme is ExecuNet's Marketing Content Manager, where he is responsible for developing engaging career, job search, and leadership insight and delivering executive-level content across the various properties under the ExecuNet brand. Prior to joining ExecuNet in 2008, Will earned a master's degree in education and taught fifth grade and sixth grade. As a teacher, he deepened his appreciation for the written word and mastered skills necessary for managing writers who sometimes view deadlines as homework.

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