This simple instruction with change your life.

I am certainly no craftsman. But, I do know the cardinal rule of staining wood: go with the grain. A beautiful piece of wood can be ruined if the stain is forcefully applied against the natural flow of the wood. A simple 90-degree adjustment is the difference between success and failure…a showpiece of artistry or a scrapped piece of wood.

Unfortunately, many individuals feel they must go against their grain in order to please a manager, employer, family member, or even themselves. Though this requires a high level of effort, and can even lead to exhaustion, the end product is often disappointing. It is truly devastating to see people force-fit themselves into a role, and feel frustrated when productivity and satisfaction do not follow.

Real success comes from identifying your inGRAINed natural talents. Determine your “natural flow” (ie. how you best operate), then find employers, positions and teams that honor – and in fact beautify – those qualities by simply allowing you to be you!

Want to see the science? 

Here is a brain scan of someone going with her grain. Red = expended energy.

Here is a brain scan of someone going against her grain.

The results are compelling. Working against your grain requires a 12x increase in effort. It is no coincidence that there’s more stress and burnout in today’s workplace than ever before.

It’s worth repeating…Go with your grain. That’s what produces real artistry.

Did you find something of value in this post? Please share what you learned with your friends and colleagues!


*Brain scans are from a study performed by Kolbe Corp and the Applied Neurotherapy Center in April, 2012. Click here to read the full study.

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