A few weeks ago, friends and family caught sight of an article in Carnegie Mellon Today about yours truly’s trip to the Presidential Inauguration last January and authorship of a photo used on the cover of the magazine of the Special Libraries Association. Because Carnegie Mellon Today does not post their old issues until the end of the month, I couldn’t link to that article until now. I’m famous! Yay!
Robert Cialdini: Taking on too much
Over the stretch of my professional years, I’d say my most nagging error has involved an inability to gauge correctly the point at which the next possible undertaking – or even golden opportunity – should be firmly rejected. Whenever I’ve allowed one-too-many responsibilities onto my plate, everything – including the new item – has suffered from the overcrowding. With that threshold crossed, I’ve no longer had the time or patience to plan, think, or toil hard enough to be proud of the resultant work. If I had a single piece of advice for young researchers, it would be to create and follow a rule for avoiding this state of affairs. The rule could involve something objective (e.g., never exceeding a specific quota of research involvements) or subjective (e.g., avoiding the feeling of rushing to, from, and through all of one’s commitments). The key is to apply the rule ruthlessly. Anything less would be another form of error.
Dr Robert Cialdini, a social psychologist at Arizona State University, is the most widely cited expert on influence and persuasion alive today. His most recent book is Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive.