In this On Purpose episode, Jay Shetty welcomes organizational psychologist Adam Grant, known for his best-selling books and TED talks.

They discuss Grant's latest book, The Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things. They also delve into personal and collective growth, developing new habits, challenging mindsets, and achieving greatness. The episode emphasizes the importance of personal connections and the pursuit of excellence.

Importance of Getting Better

Jay Shetty and Adam Grant explore the significance of personal growth and its relevance in our lives. Grant emphasizes that growth is inherently motivating and pleasurable. He notes that society often places excessive importance on achievements and performance. In contrast, genuine satisfaction comes from experiencing progress and momentum in your journey. Remaining stagnant is viewed as a missed opportunity to fulfill your potential.

You are either advancing or regressing in life, with no middle ground. However, it can be challenging to compare your growth rate to others. Such social comparisons can be both a source of inspiration and a potential hindrance. 

"Envy Is the Thief of Joy"

It is vital to keep raising expectations to maintain the satisfaction of reaching your objectives. Jay Shetty and Adam Grant recommend staying connected with your previous self and reflecting on the progress. Also, foster a more profound pride and appreciation for your personal development.

Adam Grant shared with Jay Shetty a personal example of his fear of public speaking when he decided to become a professor. Despite his initial apprehension, he sought inspiration from accomplished speakers like Martin Luther King Jr. By studying MLK's journey, Grant realized that his role model had decades of practice, starting from a young age, and had delivered hundreds of talks before his famous I Have a Dream speech. 

This analysis allowed Grant to shift his perspective from feeling overwhelmed by an impossible role model to recognizing the years of dedication and practice that led to MLK's iconic speech. So consider the starting points and the effort put into achieving greatness by those you admire, helping you gain a deeper appreciation for your potential for growth and improvement.

Facing Discomfort

Jay Shetty refers to a quote by Helen Keller about how  character is developed through trial and suffering. Jay Shetty  appreciates Grant's writing and how it empowers readers by emphasizing the nerve to face discomfort.

Adam Grant shares his experience overcoming the fear of public speaking by intentionally seeking discomfort. He immersed himself in challenging situations, like giving guest lectures to large audiences, to confront his discomfort head-on. This approach led to faster growth and learning.

Discover Where You Need to Grow

Jay Shetty shares his perspective on choosing books to read based on his struggles or areas he wants to enhance. He compares it to stocking up on groceries when something is lacking. It is vital to recognize your weaknesses and seek ways to get better.

Adam Grant suggests two approaches to identify areas for growth. Firstly, he advises the listeners to look at their Achilles' heel, which is holding them back from achieving their goals or values. Secondly, he suggests exploring areas of passion or curiosity, whether for personal fulfillment or to help others. However, many individuals already know the domain they want to improve but struggle to pinpoint where to focus.

It is crucial to seek advice rather than feedback when looking for areas of improvement. Feedback tends to be a mix of cheerleading and criticism, which may not provide the guidance needed for growth. Seeking advice allows you to focus on what you can do better in the future. However, Grant encourages the listeners not to be overwhelmed by the number of suggestions they receive. Seek more advice to identify common themes and differentiate between peculiar opinions and valuable input.

Self-Evaluation Over Time

Jay Shetty was initially reluctant to create online content due to fear of looking foolish, feeling shame, or encountering discomfort. He had to overcome these fears as he transitioned from speaking to small groups to creating online content. He constructed his authentic voice during this journey, which allowed him to stay true to himself.

As Jay's online presence grew, he faced increasing criticism and judgment from a wider audience. Despite his monk training and vulnerability, he still gets affected by negative comments and criticisms. However, Jay has learned to balance the desire for improvement with the awareness of his intentions. Refining his intentions continuously is crucial, as well as accepting that criticism and feedback will always be present no matter how great an idea or action may be.

Don't Be Too Harsh on Yourself

Adam Grant and Jay Shetty discuss the balance between caring about what others think and maintaining authenticity. It is a challenging task because humans are inherently social beings who naturally care about social approval.

Grant suggests that rather than aiming for extremes, you should only care enough about others' reactions to learn from them but not so much that it pressures you into conformity. It is essential to define whose opinions matter and include yourself in that group.

The "overblown implications effect" is a concept that Adam Grant introduced. People tend to be more forgiving when others make mistakes. They don't immediately attribute a mistake to incompetence or lack of character but recognize it as a momentary lapse. However, individuals often apply harsher self-assessment and self-talk when they make mistakes.

How We Learn

Grant explained to Jay Shetty the common belief that knowledge leads to comfort, which leads to practice and progress. Many believe they will acquire all the necessary knowledge once they master it. This fixed approach to learning often stems from traditional educational systems where getting the "right answer" was emphasized, and the expectation was that learning should lead to complete knowledge. Jay acknowledges that this approach needs to be updated in the modern world, where rules and information change frequently.

Adam Grant tells Jay Shetty about polyglots who continuously learn and teach themselves new languages in their 20s, 30s, and beyond. One of the key differences between their learning approach and traditional language classes is that they start speaking from day one, making mistakes but continually using the language.

Moreover, Grant emphasizes the idea of "learning by teaching." He encourages the listeners to embrace it as an effective way to learn and internalize knowledge. He challenges the notion that only experts should express uncertainty. It's okay not to know everything, regardless of expertise. Admitting uncertainty can make a person more believable and encourage more profound listening.

Finding a Coach

Adam Grant shares with Jay Shetty that coaching is more readily accepted in specific domains, such as sports or music, where the need for a coach is clear. However, many adults believe they should be able to self-teach or be self-reliant, which can hinder their willingness to seek coaching.

Jay Shetty reiterates the importance of finding a coach, especially when undergoing significant life changes and realigning your values and goals. Having someone with experience who can provide guidance and help navigate different phases of life is key.

Coaching doesn't have to be limited to formal arrangements. Still, seeking expert advice and guidance in a particular area can be informal. So, Grant encourages the listeners to identify potential coaches and engage in coaching conversations to accelerate their learning.

Trial and Error

"Inverse charisma" refers to a coach's ability to ask insightful questions with sincere interest. This creates a more insightful and charming version of the individual. Adam Grant suggests that great coaches possess this quality, not by giving rousing speeches or pep talks but by posing challenges and ideas that encourage individuals to become better versions of themselves.

Jay Shetty agrees - coaching is about helping individuals reveal and peel away the layers of their hidden potential. Coaches don't plant potential or manufacture it but allow individuals to discover it themselves. He shares a personal story about his experience with a coach who recognized his entrepreneurial qualities even when he resisted the label of being an entrepreneur. 

Jay Shetty and Adam Grant discuss the concept of imperfect work, explained in Chapter 3 of Grant's book. Despite initial insecurities, the author mustered the courage to put out imperfect and incomplete work, especially in long-term projects like books and teaching. However, he admits that he still grapples with perfectionism to some extent.

Also, Grant emphasizes calibration and context. For significant projects like a book, he aims to make it as good as he can at that moment. Nevertheless, he embraces imperfection for smaller endeavors like social media posts and strives to learn from feedback and engagement.


Sharing your knowledge is an integral part of your learning journey. It can reveal gaps in your understanding that may not be apparent when studying alone. Jay Shetty highlights the benefit of sharing ideas and receiving feedback, which can lead to a deeper understanding of a subject.

Adam Grant distinguishes between self-promotion and idea promotion. He acknowledges that self-promotion can be uncomfortable for many people, especially in academic settings, where the focus is often on sharing knowledge rather than promoting yourself. However, he explains to Jay Shetty that idea promotion is about sharing valuable knowledge with others and should be embraced.

Self-promotion is a common challenge faced by artists, creatives, academics, and anyone who wishes to share their insights with the world. Yet sharing ideas worth spreading is vital, contributing to the democratization of knowledge.

Shy to Show Your Work

Jay Shetty's book Think Like a Monk aimed to make ancient wisdom accessible, practical, and relevant to a broader audience. He intentionally shared his own experiences, including mistakes and challenges, to connect with readers on a human level. 

Wisdom should not be confined to a specific group; knowledge should be accessible to all. However, people often fear having their ideas stolen. Adam Grant suggests they should focus on generating a portfolio rather than fixating on a single idea. He believes that prolific idea generation reduces the attachment to any concept, making the fear of theft less relevant.

Human Nature

Discussing Grant's book, Jay and the author acknowledge that individuals often have multiple motives behind their actions. Aligning personal aspirations with societal good can provide a sustainable approach to promoting ideas and aiding others. Jay Shetty and Adam Grant discuss the importance of recognizing that people can have a mix of motives, including a desire for acknowledgment and making a positive impact.

The two challenge the idea that you should solely focus on doing good for others without seeking personal fulfillment. Pursuing personal satisfaction while contributing to the greater good represents a balanced and meaningful approach to life.

Grant shares two remarkable revelations with Jay Shetty during his book research. Firstly, he learned that acquiring character skills can be more impactful than cognitive skills in unlocking hidden potential. Secondly, daily practice and skill development can be enjoyable and playful. This challenges the common belief that practice must always be a strenuous grind. Grant underscores the importance of infusing play into the skill development process and making it a sustainable routine.

Make It Fun

Jay Shetty and Adam Grant explore the concept of playfulness and its role in personal growth. Being present and fully engaged in activities, like finding stones or petals, can be a form of mindfulness practice. Jay shares his experience of learning to laugh at his mind's attempts to "game the system" and cheat in these activities.

It is helpful to embrace novelty and variety in your growth journey and recognize that the ego and various human flaws are natural and should not be overly criticized. Adam Grant told Jay Shetty that it's not about eliminating the ego entirely but rather keeping it in check and not making it the primary focus.

Waiting for ego or other personal obstacles to completely disappear before taking action can be counterproductive. Instead, try acknowledging these challenges and doing things anyway.

The Paradox of Choice

Jay Shetty and Adam Grant discuss the idea of moving backward to move forward when feeling stuck in life or education. They touch upon sunk cost bias, where individuals are reluctant to give up on something they've invested a lot of time or effort in, even when it's not the right path for them. Grant emphasizes the importance of considering the opportunity cost and being fearless in shifting gears when needed.

As a teacher, it is essential to uncover the hidden potential in students, as they can play a crucial role in identifying and nurturing it. Teachers who know their students well can better spot their hidden potential and provide personalized guidance. Therefore, having the same teacher for multiple years is beneficial to understanding the student's strengths and growth areas.

Additionally, allowing children to choose what they study is a complex topic. Adam Grant shares with Jay Shetty that while choice is essential, there can be such a thing as too much choice. Therefore, it's necessary to balance freedom and structured learning.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Adam Grant ON Why Discomfort Is the Key to Growth& Strategies for Unlocking Your Hidden Potential” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at

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