If the average person in the room isn’t smarter than you, you’re in the wrong room.

When you find yourself above-average, it’s time to get moving and take it to the next level.

We’re herd animals, and a psychological force of gravity pulls us into orbit around the norms of our current social network.  Your level of success depends on how often you can achieve escape velocity from your bush league up toward the big leagues, which depends on how you react to people who are better than you at something, or even to the idea of such people.

I have a friend who quit taking art classes after encountering a particularly talented classmate. What a waste! In a world of almost 7 billion people, you name it and there are always a million people somewhere who are more talented than you.  To be successful at something, an obvious key skill is to find those people, befriend them, work with them, learn from them, etc.  If encountering someone more talented disheartens you, there’s a serious problem in your thinking somewhere, a serious denial problem that’s getting in your way.

Learning isn’t a comfortable activity, so get into your discomfort zone.  If you’re not below-average, you’re stuck in orbit, going no place.

Yes, a huge part of success is getting involved with smart, successful, big-thinking people, thereby raising your standards and learning from their example. But … the problem is, what’s in it for them?

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Aside: According to Gérald Carpentier as translated by Entreprises 35

First of all, prepare the success biscuits.

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2 Comments

  1. Yes. And, because intellectual diversity (of thinking styles, backgrounds, etc.) is as vital to social/scientific progress as genetic diversity is to evolutionary adaptability, you can probably optimize your value to the people you want to interact with by cultivating those aspects of yourself that are most authentically you.

    See also Bruce Hood on haecceity and Ray Carney on mental (manufactured) emotions.

    On the other hand, see here how easy it is to get the average person to drink the label, not the wine.

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  2. I agree with much of what you’re saying, but I have a response for your final question. Talented folks are not talented in all arenas. Regardless of how successful a particular person may be at certain things (i.e. business, basketball, design), there isn’t a person that can be one of the best at everything. Keeping this in mind, people looking to learn from others in a particular field need to identify what skills/talents can be shared with the “experts,” so they value the exchange of time, ideas and talents.

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