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Fools Rush In | Lessons from Adam Grant's Originals | #VUHRDOneBook

If you follow the Villanova HRD Blog regularly, you know that we post every Monday and Wednesday. Today, you will note, is Friday. I may have procrastinated just a little too long on this post. However, if you read Chapter 4 of Originals, you know that "procrastination turns our to be a common habit of creative thinkers and great problem solvers," according to Grant. I'm calling mine "strategic procrastination," and I'm hoping you find this post extra original! (Wink, wink!)

How about that? "Procrastination might be conducive to originality." That was the hypothesis of Grant's doctoral student Jihae Shin. In her research, she found this to be true only if the procrastination was purposeful and the person was intrinsically motivated to complete the task.

Strategic Procrastination

Strategic Procrastination, or delaying progress on a task on purpose, allows an individual to think more broadly about the process of carrying out the task. This delay creates the opportunity for divergent thinking and produces more possibilities. We already learned from Grant in Chapter 2 that"the odds of producing an influential or successful idea are a positive function of the total number of ideas generated." If procrastinating allows for more idea generation, than it may also allow for a more original idea. The key Shin found in her research has to do with motivation.

Intrinsic Motivation Matters

If you are not intrinsically motivated to complete a task, procrastination simply puts you behind on completing the work. If you are doing something because you have to and not because you want to, it is unlikely that you will use the time you are procrastinating thinking about the task or work. Rather, the procrastination time is spent doing things you want to do instead. However, if the task is one that you are intrinsically motivated to do, the time spent procrastinating will likely be filled with thoughts about the work. New ideas will emerge and this is what ultimately leads to the more original or creative accomplishment of the task.

Chapter 4 is filled with great examples of procrastination leading to creative work: Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech, Da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting, and even Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. All of these are original inspirations that were aided by procrastination. So, what do you think about this post? Did procrastination lead to creativity or was I just late?

What did you learn in Chapter 4? #VUHRDOneBook


Bethany J. Adams, MA is an Assistant Director in the Graduate HRD program at Villanova University. Learn more about her here!

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