We all want to be successful in our careers. Getting a good job, working long hours, keeping your skills relevant and navigating the politics of an organization are all essential if you want to achieve your goals. But they're hard to do.
And then there are the easy things (that most people fail to do), like respecting institutions, being professional, having manners and demonstrating a level of humility. These are the things that will make you stand out from the group of people who are just as talented.
Don't waste your potential. Get the easy stuff right by following these three rules:
Assume that whoever you're going to meet is busier and more important than you. Assume that they spent a lot of time preparing for the meeting. Assume that there's a waiting list of people who want to be in your position.
Even if none of these things are true, it's humbling (and safe) to err on the side of caution. Showing up early is the easiest way to make a good first impression. And trust me, no one likes the jerk who's always late.
Behaving like a decent human being is not difficult. Say "thank you" to your colleagues for their contributions. Acknowledge people when they do something great. Offer help when you see someone struggling.
Good manners will make you more likable. You'll find that people will be more willing to answer your calls on a Sunday night. And when you make a mistake (which you will), a well-mannered attitude can afford you a second chance — even if you don't deserve one.
Throughout your career, you're going to meet some very impressive and talented people. Some through work, some not. Whoever they are, make the effort to follow up.
Tell them you appreciate them. Share an article they might be interested in. Acknowledge their presence. If they asked you to respond to something, do it. All of these things are more than just polite, they make you reliable and memorable.
Scott Galloway is the New York Times best-selling author of "The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google" and a professor at NYU. He is also the co-host of the Pivot podcast, with Recode's Kara Swisher. "The Alberga of Happiness" is his second book.
This is an adapted excerpt from "The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love and Meaning," by Scott Galloway, in agreement with Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Scott Galloway, 2019.
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