The standard route to success in modern life goes as follows: work hard in high school, score high on your SAT, get into a good college, do well in your classes, get a good job.
For some people, that path works, but for a lot of people, it leaves them disengaged and frustrated because it doesn’t actually lead to a life of fulfillment.
My guest today has spent his academic career studying individuals who have bucked the standard formula for achievement and found success on their own terms. His name is Todd Rose. He’s a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the co-author of the book Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment. We begin our conversation discussing what Todd calls the “Standardization Covenant,” including how it developed to serve institutions rather than individuals and why following the standard path often leads to frustration. Todd then explains his idea of an alternative “Dark Horse Covenant” and what it looks like theoretically and in the lives of those who’ve followed it. He then walks us through the steps that dark horses follow to find success and fulfillment on their own terms, including focusing on “micromotives” to figure out where you fit, making decisive choices, creating your own options, and trying new strategies until you find something that works. We end our conversation with how Todd would like to see the Dark Horse dynamic incorporated into our educational system.
- What do people typically think success looks like?
- What is the “standardization covenant”?
- How higher education fails our search for fulfillment
- Successfully pivoting from the standard path to the dark horse path
- How to figure out what gives you fulfillment
- Knowing what motivates you and the power of micromotives (and how it changes over time)
- Balancing risk with practicality in pursuing fulfillment
- Picking vs. choosing
- Knowing your strategies
- Why you should ignore your destination
- Utilizing this approach in K-12 education environments
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- How to Keep Your Head (and Even Thrive) in a Bureaucracy
- Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed With Happiness
- The Problem of Self-Help in a Liquid Age
- You Don’t Have to Be an Entrepreneur: The 4 P’s of a Great Job
- Is College for Everyone?
- The Case for Blue Collar Work
- Richard Branson
- How to Find Your Life’s Purpose
- How to Pursue a New Career (While Still Getting the Bills Paid)
- On Grand Strategy
- Paul Graham
- Khan Academy
Connect With Todd
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
Recorded on ClearCast.io
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Read the Transcript