“Mean reversion” and focusing on the work, not the outcome


Continuing our "unpacking" of takeaways from Daniel Pink's book When

"This is going to sound ridiculously hyper-rational, but it’s truthful: I believe in "mean reversion."

Things will go up and things go down, but ultimately everything reverts to the mean. If you have some things that are working really well, at some point something’s not going to work well. If you have things that are not working very well, at some point, something’s going to work well.

As a consequence, I try not to get too disappointed when things go south. And if something goes well, I feel better than if it doesn’t go well, but it’s not as if I’m celebrating and feeling a sense of euphoria. It’s more like, “Okay, that’s good. I’m glad.” Then I move on.

With mean reversion, you don’t get too bummed out by the lows and you don’t get too pumped up by the highs. You just do the best work you can in every circumstance. You focus on the work rather than on how the outcome of the work makes you feel.