We've been told to embody certain traits to have a successful career: efficiency, industriousness, intelligence/emotional intelligence, and so on. But these can somehow be challenged by that age-old adage that it's who you know that gets you up there. So which is it, really?
The diplomatic answer is that they all help you rise up the ladder, and that's true. But the self-help books have failed to point something, and this research says it's the one thing that'll set you soaring.
The study says that the thing that'll make you succeed is if you're in an open network, not in a closed one. It's sort of related to connections, aka the people you know. But being in an open or closed network is more specific.
A closed network is a network of people who are in the same circle—they know each other. They have the same background, went to the same school, have the same interests, behavior, and beliefs. An open network, on the other hand, is a network of people from different circles hence don't know each other and think differently from one another.
While being in a closed network gets things done quicker and smoother because of the trust and possibly the experience of working together, its drawbacks are: 1) only the same information goes around within one group, and 2) that information doesn't spread to other groups.
And spreading info to more people out there is crucial. There are challenges like being misunderstood or doubted. But according to the study, people in open networks have unique opportunities as well. They have knowledge and experience that people in their own groups don't have, and they can then introduce something new, for example a product or idea, to these different groups and profit or excel significantly from there.
Being in an open network loads you with various and opposing ideas and information and gives you a clearer picture of the world, so you can have an easy time seeing where you'll fit and what you can offer a community. So don't ever close yourself off.
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