At 39 years old, but he 's already sold six million books, including Strengths Based Leadership and his latest, Are You Fully Charged? He’s a senior scientist and advisor to Gallup and is hugely influential in the business world. Since age 16, he’s been successfully battling a rare disease that causes cancer cells to appear throughout his body. And last but not least, he’s an incredibly humble and down to earth strong (and proud!) introvert.
I asked Tom to share his secrets to living wisely, staying healthy, and fighting anxiety.
Susan Cain: At only age 39, you’ve lived a pretty extraordinary life. And you’re well known for your natural humility. How do you channel all that quiet modesty into your work?
Tom Rath: One of the lessons I learned very early in life, from my grandfather, is that it is an extraordinary waste of time to try to be someone you are not. So while I aspire to have a…show more content… I had always assumed things like meaning, mission, and purpose were higher level needs, but the more I learn, the clearer it becomes that meaningful work is a basic human need that cuts across professions and income levels.
SC: You write about the importance of positive social interactions. What does this mean for introverts, who often prefer their social time in smaller doses, with closer friends, and punctuated by solitude?
TR: There is nothing more appealing to this introvert than a combination of solitude and a little time with my closest friends. Perhaps this is why the research around ratios of positive to negative interactions has always resonated with me. The quality of social interactions matters far more than the frequency of those interactions. Based on what I have studied, we need about 80% of our interactions with other people to be more positive than negative. This is simply because negative interactions carry much heavier load and outweigh positive