Tag Archives: #Adam Grant#

Does venting help with anger management?


Painting by Thai artist Tang Chang at the National Gallery, Singapore. The painting was painted in remembrance of the brutal police oppression in Thailand in 1973.

Psychologist Brad Bushman designed an experiment to make people angry. He found that venting doesn’t extinguish the flame of anger, it feeds it. When we vent our anger we put ūüė†a lead foot on the gas pedal of the go system, attacking the target who enraged us.

Instead, focusing on the victim activates what psychologists call empathetic anger – the desire to right wrongs done unto others.

Research demonstrates that when we are angry at others, we aim for retaliation or revenge.

But when we’re angry for others, we seek out injustice and a better system. We don’t just want to punish; we want to help.

Next time when someone makes you angry, don’t think about the countless times s/he has disrepected you or disregard your feelings. That’s a sure way of exploding. Instead, think about why this person is a victim of his or her circumstances/ stress. Focus on what can be done.

Adam Grant concludes his chapter on those who championed women suffrage and minority rights that “becoming original is not the easiest path in the pursuit of happiness, but it leaves us perfectly poised for the happiness of pursuit.

“Originals – how non conformists move the world” by Adam Grant

Recently I saw a young man explode because his dish was accidentally cleared by an old cleaner. It was obvious that it was the old man’s first few days at work and he made a mistake. Instead of confronting the young man to give the guy a break, I slipped money for him to buy another plate. Berating him for showing his temper over something so insignificant and cheap like a $4 plate of rice will only embarrass him and not change the world. Surprisingly he accepted the money. Perhaps he’s under dire circumstances as well.

What would you do? Something similar happened recently and someone chose to take a video for the whole world to see.


How do you maximise your odds of creating a masterpiece – come up with a large number of ideas.


Dean Simonton, who studies creative productivity found that creative geniuses weren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers – they simply produce a greater volume of work.

Shakespeare in 2 decades produced 37 plays and 154 sonnets. In the same 5 year period that Shakespeare produced Macbeth, King Lear and Othello, he also produced Timon of Athens that rank among his worst work.

Mozart composed more than 600 pieces of classical music, Beethoven -650 pieces and Bach over 1000 pieces.

Picasso produced 1800 paintings, 1200 sculptures, 2800 ceramics and 12,000 drawings not to mention prints, rugs and tapestries.

Many of Einstein’s 248 publications had minimal impact.

Edison had 1,093 patents but famous for the light bulb, the phonograph and the carbon telephone.

From “Originals – how non conformists move the world” by Adam Grant.

Qi Baishi whose painting sold for a few millions, was living below poverty as a painter and became famous only in his 50s and had produced 30,000 paintings, more than 3,000 poems and about 3,000 carvings. 

Vincent van Gogh who only started painting in his twenties, produced more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100¬†drawings and sketches. (His work didn’t sell well in his lifetime.)

So what are you doing tomorrow? Time to close the smartphone and do some real work?

The intelligent altruists, though less altruistic than the unintelligent altruists, will be fitter than both unintelligent altruists and selfish individuals. РHerbert Simon, Nobel Prize winner in economics

If its indeed better to give than to receive, why are some givers exploited and burnout while others receive extra-ordinary success? Harvard Professor Adam Grant examines the world of career success on why some people rise to the top of their career success while others sink to the bottom?

Grant observed that most people operate as either takers, matchers or givers.

It takes out that there are two types of givers:

(i) selfless givers are people with high other interest and low self interest. they give their time and energy without regard for their own needs and they pay a price for it. Grant calls it pathological altruism. It is unhealthy because they end up being overwhelmed and risk harming themselves.

(ii) Otherish givers care about benefiting others, but they also have ambitious goals for advancing their own interests. ¬†Grant quotes Bill Gates at the WEF, “there are two great forces of human nature: self-interest and caring for others”and people are most successful when they are driven by a hybrid engine of the two. ¬†Being otherish is about giving more than you receive, but keeping your own self-interest in sight as a guide to whom you will give.

Some suggestions by Grant on how to give:

(i) Chunking, Sprinkling and the 100 hour rule of volunteering

Otherish givers tend of chunk their volunteering, specific times of the day, instead of sprinkling – helping whenever people needed them. This allows givers more control of their time and energy to complete their own work. Grant found that chunkers achieved gains in happiness while sprinklers did not.

(ii) Myth of giver burnout

Acts 20: 35 It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Grant quotes work by Northwestern University psychologists Seeley and Gardner who found that people who consistently override their selfish impulses in order to help others, they had strengthened their psychological muscles to the point where using willpower for painful tasks was no longer exhausting.

Grant went on to tell the story of Utah businessman Jon Huntsman who believes that being a giver actually made him rich.  Economist Arthur Brooks tested the relationship between income and charitable giving. For every $1 in extra charitable giving, income was $3.75 higher.  Neuroscience research also shows that giving also activates the reward centres in the brain, signalling pleasure.

(iii) Sincerity screening

Do you know what the other person’s intention is? ¬†Its wise to start out as a giver, advise Grant. But once a counterpart is clearly acting like a taker, it makes sense for givers to flex their reciprocity styles and shift to a matching strategy. ¬†Game theorists call it “tit for tat”, and Harvard mathematical biologist Martin Nowak found it can be advantageous to alternate between giving and matching.

(iv) How to negotiate?

Givers, particularly agreeable ones, often overestimate the degree to which assertiveness might be off-putting to others.

Asking on account of others. When you’re willing to advocate for others, ¬†this sends a positive signal about how hard you would work. ¬†When a client makes an unreasonable request, explain how it was going to stretch my team or kill them working crazy hours.


Read the book for his compelling research.

Are you a giver, a matcher or a taker?