Smarter Than You

I’ve developed a new fascination…

Rare books, preferably first editions of some of my favorites like Anne of Green Gables.

(Btw, I can’t actually afford these books… I just like to search for them and imagine a library in my home full of them.)

Reading didn’t come easily for me as a child.  My memories of 1st grade reading class are painful, but I was so hungry to learn that I worked and worked until I finally figured out how it all fit together.  Once I tackled it, I wouldn’t put a book down.  (I still get in trouble from time to time for having my nose in a book rather than my heart in a conversation.)

I think part of my stubbornness to learn to read was rooted in my independent nature.  I didn’t want anyone else to tell me what I needed to learn.  I wanted to read it and learn it for myself.

While that attitude has served me well in some ways, it’s also hindered me in others.

You see, we need to learn from others.

One of the most valuable things I’m learning in this season of life is to constantly surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.  And yes, that’s a little scary at times.  The willingness to acknowledge that you don’t know it all or can’t figure it all out on your own is a big sucker punch to your pride.  Pride challenges you to cover up your ignorance.  It teaches you to bluff your way through things you know nothing about.

But when you give into pride, you allow yourself to live in ignorance.  Pride holds you back and inhibits you from vulnerably acknowledging you don’t know something.

Surround yourself with people smarter than you.

When you are facing a project or challenge that is new or unknown, find others who are more experienced to coach you through it.

Don’t be afraid of acknowledging that you don’t know.  In doing so, you actually prove that you know more than you think. 🙂

You may also like

No comments

  • Sara Schaffer January 26, 2012  

    Thanks for being humble enough to say this, Jenni! I’m learning how much I want to know (on many subjects), but I’m not always willing to do the process of learning. Though I love to read, I like being seen as smart. I love that your point isn’t to be “dumb” but simply surrounded by others that are “smarter.” Excellent!

    • Anonymous January 26, 2012  

      Great thought Sara… it’s not about being dumb… it’s just realizing that you still have plenty to learn. Thanks for sharing!

  • Pete January 26, 2012  

    I’ve never found this leadership principle very difficult. Seems like everyone around me is smarter. 🙂

    It does take a tremendous amount of humility to bring talented people on your team who could not only replace you, but may potentially even do it better.

    • Anonymous January 26, 2012  

      You’ve modeled this for us well, Pete. Thank you! (But I still count on you to be smarter than me!)

  • Susan Morris January 26, 2012  

    Great reminder Jenni!  Enjoyed hearing you speak at the JUSTONE conference this week also.  Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Amanda Louise January 26, 2012  

    This is a great post, but I pretty much got hung up on Anne of Green Gables 🙂 One of my favorite series! I’m a voracious reader. I willingly got rid of all of my furniture and half of my wardrobe to move here in my car, but there are 6 boxes of books in my friend’s closet in California because I just couldn’t bring myself to get rid of any more. I was always kind of “the smart kid” but when I got to law school it became clear to me how very very little I know. I mean, I know more now than I ever have before, but I think that part of maturity is knowing that there is always more to learn, and someone to learn it from (either in person, or in a book). And being willing to be taught, of course 🙂

  • Jarod January 26, 2012  

    Myself, Socrates, and White Snake all agree with you on this one Jenni!