“No Fears, No Excuses” Quotes

No Fears, No Excuses coverI recently read “No Fears, No Excuses: What You Need To Do To Have A Great Career” by Larry Smith. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. If you like the quotes, click here to buy the book.

(Disclosure: The publisher sent me a free, advance copy of this book. I don’t think it influenced what I found interesting, but who knows.)

“The strategy most often employed is this: Get an education. More competition? Get more education. More competition? Get some relevant experience. More competition? Get even more experience. But everyone else is adding experience at the same rate. Believing you can advance your career solely by celebrating another birthday does not seem a very sophisticated strategy for the twenty-first century.
I asked John what the flaw of this approach was. He understood that the primary problem was that almost everyone else was doing it. The only way it could work is if you outlasted everyone: Career by endurance.
“Think about the consequences,” I said. “As the situation becomes ever more competitive, you make yourself like everyone else? In what world would that make sense? You’ve essentially made yourself into a commodity, and one that’s interchangeable. And the commodity worker is bid down to the lowest price possible.” (13)

“In a competitive market, there will always be salespeople.” (18)

“This route (becoming a physician, lawyer, engineer, accountant) seems ideal to the immigrant parents who took substantial and personal risks to improve the lives of their children, who now are supposed to take no risks at all. Leaving aside the inconsistency of the approach (risk-taking parents who are surprised they raised risk-taking children), all the traditional professions are under siege by technology and global competition.” (27)

“Any particular skill set is subject to becoming obsolete with little notice.” (28)

“The only question that counts is, Have you achieved the best result? Not just a good or acceptable result. Did the investment hearn the highest reward open to you? IF not, you failed.” (33)

“Skill does matter… But it is not the starting place for the best use of talent. Passion is, and passion makes the highest skills possible.” (33)

“Relying on pure luck is an invitation to disaster. Most people will have to fight to find their way. They’ll have to earn it in a way the lucky will never fully appreciate. Indeed, for most, the path is filled with twists and turns. It’s hard. But so what? Again, the important point is that it’s worth it.” (40)

“Teachers know that the best students learn easily because they love the subject. “Easily” does not mean quickly; “easily” does not mean without frustration and errors. What it means is that these students are driven to find answers, to overcome whatever obstacle appears. They learn their subjects because they have to.” (58)

“Remember that a great career requires having impact. And to have impact in any of your passions, you must persist in one of them at a time.” (68)

“Anyone entering a competitive field – which is now almost all fields and will shortly be all fields – needs to stop just doing what all the other students and applicants are doing.” (78)

“If your passion leads you to be in a competitive field, the sooner you start thinking of a way you can stand out or distinguish yourself from the rest of the competition, the better and happier and more successful you’ll be. That doesn’t necessarily mean just being at the top of your class. It’s more about finding that perfect opportunity to apply your skills in a way that allows you to truly follow your passion.” (78)

“If all you can produce from your work is a good result, you’re not generating a competitive response. You’re no better than most everyone else. So why would you expect to get any special advantage? You have to develop an attribute beyond skill. This means you need to create solutions that are highly innovative, solutions that are found in few other places, if any.” (107)

“Unfortunately, we are no longer in an era of “good enough.” (110)

“All the other steps are in vain unless you can mount an effective marketing campaign for yourself. The good news is you don’t have to say, “I am so great! Look at me!” but instead you can say, “I have some great ideas – what do you think about these/” Because if a person or company loves your ideas, they will want you.” (125)

“Words define you to the world and to yourself.” (131)

“You are an entrepreneur. And your venture is yourself – it’s a venture that has to be defined, polished, and marketed. The truth is, successful ventures and successful careers are much closer together than you might have thought. So put your startup face on, and let’s learn how to pitch yourself.” (131)

“The goal of the pitch is to invite further dialogue, dialogue with a purpose.” (132)

“A good pitch should be 1. Short 2. Distinctive (“I do something others do not.”) 3. Expressed in a way that invites the listener to ask for more information” (133)

“The goal is to be precise about the body of work you wish to create.” (135)

“The same is true in networking/marketing sessions. THe relationship between the person advancing an idea and the person listening to the argument is tenuous. So Bart, in response to the listener’s vague expression of interest, needed first to solidify that interest, as did Violet. The best way to do that is to surprise the listener with a relevant fact, not an opinion. One of the fastest ways to impress anyone is to tell them something that’s much different from what they would have assumed. No you look interesting, not just your idea. The listener is implicitly wondering what other surprises will be revealed. Offer just one surprising fact, not a blizzard of them.” (136)

“We live in the Age of Victimization. We are all victims now. There are so many victims, in fact, it’s hard to find the oppressors.” (167)

“Harvard University helmed a study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries that showed that the daughters of working mothers had more education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles, and had more robust incomes than daughters of stay-at-home mothers.” (173)

“By focusing only on your role as a parent, you have given up being a role model for your kids’ career life. The best thing to do is to lead by example, so that you are never in the situation where your child comes to talk to you about his dream job and you think, I had a dream once too, kid, but then you were born.” (174)

“A great career means that there’s not just one path available to you.” (177)

“Balance presumes that you spend your life in separate compartments labeled life and work, and you move time between them. I reject this goal. You should be trying to integrate your work and your life so each supports the other, making the whole stronger as a result.” (181)

“A great career means at the end of it and at the end of your life, you leave your mark behind. You leave your work behind to speak for you.” (187)

“IF she wanted to make a living at her passion, she needed to see herself in the context of what others would pay for her work. For many in the artistic and performing worlds, this is a radical thought.” (201)

“Just being competent, and being certified as competent, does not get you your job, which is especially true in a field where there are few openings.” (203)

“If you’re the child of an immigrant family that took great risk to leave a familiar place to resettle in a foreign land, recognize the sacrifice that your family made for your benefit. Of course, you are at liberty to point out their inconsistent position: that they want you to take no risk, even as they took a major risk.” (235)

“When your child is using his talent to its fullest, he is most likely to be both happy and successful.” (236)

Liked the quotes? Buy the book here.

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