With each magical appearance, Diana shares an important career development lesson with Johnny, allthewhile leading Johnny, step by step, on the path to a more rewarding career and a happier life. Those principles include the following, along with quotations from Diana, the novel's career counseling genie:
Lesson 1: There is no plan.
"You can't sit there at age 21 - or even 31 or 41 or 51 - and map it all out. You might think that X will lead to Y, and Y will lead to Z, but it never works that way. It's nice to believe that you can map out every step ahead of time and end up where you want. But that's a fantasy. The world changes. Ten years from now, your job might be in India. Your industry might not even exist. And you'll change, too."Lesson 2: Think strengths, not weaknesses.
"The key to success is to steer around your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. Successful people don't try too hard to improve what they're bad at. They capitalize on what they're good at. What do you do consistently well? What gives you energy rather than drains it? What sorts of activities create flow for you?"Lesson 3: It's not about you.
"It's about your customer. It's about your client. Use your strengths, yes, but remember you're here to serve - not to self-actualize. The most successful people don't focus on improving their own lives but improving others' lives. They help their customer solve its problem. They give their client something it didn't know it was missing. That's where they focus their energy, talent, and brainpower. So pull your head out of your...ego."Lesson 4: Persistence trumps talent.
"There are massive returns to doggedness. The people who achieve the most are often the ones who stick with it when others don't. [Persistence] builds upon itself. A little bit improves performance, which encourages greater persistence, which improves performance even more. And on and on it goes."Lesson 5: Make excellent mistakes.
"Too many people spend their time avoiding mistakes. They're so concerned about being wrong, about messing up, that they never try anything - which means they never do anything. Their focus is avoiding failure. But that's actually a crummy way to achieve success. The most successful people make spectacular mistakes. Why? They're trying to do something big. But each time they make a mistake, they get a little better and move a little closer to excellence."Lesson 6: Leave an imprint.
"Think about your purpose, recognize that your life isn't infinite, and that you should use your limited time here to do something that matters. The other five lessons are crucial. But truly successful people deploy them in the service of something larger than themselves. They leave their companies, their communities, their families a little better than before."