A psychology professor at Wharton Business School, Adam Grant probes motivations and inspirations to get at the heart of work.

His research reveals unexpected glimpses of humanity and character, like how generosity can help leaders get ahead (his 2013 bestseller Give and Take) and how the rest of us are more like iconic innovators than we think (his latest book Originals).

Packed with the stories behind the success and failure of memorable projects from Seinfeld to the Segway, Originals was the basis for Grant’s top-ranked TED talk on creativity and generated acclaim from figures like author Malcolm Gladwell and director J. J. Abrams. It’s what inspired me to explore innovation among Christians for our July/August cover story, CT Makers.

Grant offers up his expertise in organizational psychology—how individuals behave in groups and in the workplace—to discuss different ways evangelical faith may affect how we think and create.

A lot of Christians express a sense of calling, the idea that they believe God has called them to work to solve a certain problem, help a certain group of people, or go into a certain field. How does this sense of calling help or hurt original thinking?

The idea of calling when it comes to creativity is a double-edge sword. On the one hand, when people feel called, they are often willing to work harder, smarter, longer than they would have otherwise. We know that persistence is so important to creative breakthroughs. The idea that you would keep going when you encounter a wall; calling can be a big part of that.

On the other hand, there is also this sharper edge of a calling that a couple of colleagues have studied… One challenge is that it’s associated much more with ...

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