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Playing Exhibition Matches with Suneel Gupta

Suneel Gupta is the author of BACKABLE: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take a Chance On You. He's the founder of RISE and is on faculty at Harvard University. To offer your own advice, call Zak @ 844-935-BEST


ZAK: Hey, it's The Best Advice Show where every weekday I talk to someone awesome and they give you one thing that you can do today to improve your life. Today, the writer and entrepreneur, Suneel Gupta. He just put out a book. It's called Backable. What does it mean to be Backable?

SUNEEL: Backable're able to walk into a room and people want to take a chance on you. And the thing that makes backable unique is that it's this mix of creativity and persuasion. Even when the creative idea you have...even if that's yourself isn't fully baked. You may not be the obvious choice. You may not have the perfect resume and yet there's a leap of faith that people want to take on you.

ZAK: And in his book, Suneel proves that it's not just natural talent that can make people want to take a chance on you. There's a bunch of things you can do to become backable or get to get ready to be backable. Like using low stakes practice sessions to prepare for high stakes moments.

SUNEEL: We call these exhibition matches. And those exhibition matches tend to be very, very sloppy.

ZAK: But sloppy, at least initially is good. Because Suneel says long-term success comes from short-term embarrassment.

SUNEEL: So, if you're gonna be embarrassed, the viewpoint is why not be embarrassed in-front of friendlies in these low stakes moments. What ends up happening is you get to this level of mastery where you can be fully tuned-in and fully present with what's happening inside the room. Charlie Parker, the jazz musician had this great quote which is, somebody came up to him one time and said, how do you have such incredible stage presence? And his answer was, practice, practice, practice and then forget yourself and just wail. And I think that's the state that we really want to get to. But we can't get there simply by winging it. We get there only when we have such incredible mastery of our material that we're no longer wondering what to say next. We're fully tuned in and adaptive to exactly what's happening inside the room.

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