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The importance of perspective in any field

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SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring Kate O’Connor, author and former aide to Howard Dean.

Young people starting out in any field should not assume that they know everything from the beginning, advises Kate O’Connor, author and aide to Howard Dean from his time as Vermont’s governor through his presidential candidacy. She says she witnessed that during Dean’s campaign. Young people joined the campaign already thinking they knew about Dean and what he stood for, but what they thought they knew was not necessarily true. “And I think for a lot of people that that’s really an important lesson to learn is not make assumptions, not make assumptions not only about the person but about what the process is,” she says.

O’Connor says that Dean’s campaign started out with nothing, but eventually became a $48 million campaign, complete with photos in TIME magazine. She adds that while many people might think someone in that position has no flaws, after knowing Dean for 12 years she knew that he wasn’t perfect. Young people often find themselves learning from someone they have incorrect ideas about and that when those incorrect ideas come to light, it can be disappointing.

However, O’Connor advises that young people who find themselves in such disappointing situations need to realize that they can move on and make changes. She says it’s all about keeping things in perspective. “Recognize that you might be disappointed, but recognize that it’s not the end of the world,” she says. “You can move forward and you can make change or you can build a business.”

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