The core idea of this book is simple: To construct work you love, you must first build career capital by mastering rare and valuable skills, and then cash in this capital for the type of traits that define compelling careers. Mission is one of those traits.
In the first chapter of this rule, I reinforced the idea that this trait, like all desirable career traits, really does require career capital—you can’t skip straight into a great mission without first building mastery in your field. Drawing from the terminology of Steven Johnson, I argued that the best ideas for missions are found in the adjacent possible—the region just beyond the current cutting edge.
To encounter these ideas, therefore, you must first get to that cutting edge, which in turn requires expertise. To try to devise a mission when you’re new to a field and lacking any career capital is a venture bound for failure.
Once you identify a general mission, however, you’re still left with the task of launching specific projects that make it succeed. An effective strategy for accomplishing this task is to try small steps that generate concrete feedback—little bets—and then use this feedback, be it good or bad, to help figure out what to try next. This systematic exploration can help you uncover an exceptional way forward that you might have never otherwise noticed.
The little-bets strategy, I discovered as my research into mission continued, is not the only way to make a mission a success. It also helps to adopt the mindset of a marketer. This led to the strategy that I dubbed the law of remarkability.
This law says that for a project to transform a mission into a success, it should be remarkable in two ways. First, it must literally compel people to remark about it. Second, it must be launched in a venu