How to be brilliant: find someone smarter than you

So. You want to be brilliant, huh? I have a tip to help make that come true. Want to hear?

Find someone smarter than you

Now, let me just start by saying that I\’m by no means brilliant. I am painfully aware of that fact. However, I\’m working to change that by paying attention to people way smarter than me.

I\’ll be the first to admit that it\’s easier to interact with people on your level, but making an effort to step that up and surround yourself with smarter people will have a major effect on your intellect. There\’s a fantastic quote I\’ll defer to that makes the point crystal clear.

You are the average of your 5 closest friends. -Jim Rohn-

Did you get that? You are going to be the average of those closest to you. While I\’m not saying you need to ditch everyone you\’re close to (later, losers!), I am saying you need to add a person (or multiple people) to the top side of your spectrum. Bump up the average.

How do I do that?

I enjoy the challenge of finding and learning from new resources. Some of the people who inspire and challenge me in different areas include Jason Seiden, Paul Hebert, Dan Pallotta, and Alison Green. Whenever I read something these people write, I have to read it at least twice to fully understand what they\’re saying. But I\’m definitely more informed after reading than I was before.

How did I find them?

I looked. I found who the smart people were following and joined in. I looked for people who had interesting and useful things to say and started keeping up with their writing, speaking, etc.

How can you be more brilliant? Find someone smarter than you. You might be surprised at the result.

What do you think of the quote? Is it true for you? Do you have any suggestions for people to follow that would help them to be brilliant? Share ‘em in the comments section.

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0 thoughts on “How to be brilliant: find someone smarter than you

  1. Michael Haberman, SPHR

    Great post Ben. I have had the opportunity to hear Rohn several times. Always some great words of wisdom. I have increased my HR intelligence by following Kris Dunn, Laurie Ruettiman, Sharlyn Lauby, Ann Bares, Mike VanDeVort and Cathy Martin. I have also worked at expanding that in other areas too… so there are more names. I have read the ones you do as well. Good folks all of them. People who don’t know pooh-pooh the value of blogs and Twitter. Little do they know. Gems are waiting to be found out there.

  2. Jason Seiden

    Ben, I have always tried to surround myself with people who are smart–and more than that, who use their intelligence to push themselves and their friends.

    I also try to surround myself with people who are curious, creative, energetic, and funny. That’s the group that will find adventure!

    When I’m with a close group or professionals or friends, I want to look around and wonder sometimes what I’m adding to the discussion. I like people who challenge me to remain sharp.

  3. Joan Ginsberg

    I would add Trish McFarlane, Karla Porter, Franny Oxford, and Mark Stelzner to those already mentioned by you and in the comments. My Google reader grows larger every week because I still find people to add.

    I also like surrounding myself with you and all of these other people because everyone is not only smarter, but younger. Such energy and fresh perspective!

    Jason’s comment about people who are curious, creative, energetic, and funny is perfect, which is why he is on your list, of course!

  4. Wally Bock

    I only have one quibble with this excellent post. “Smarter than” makes it sound like raw IQ. But I haven’t found that much help. I’ve found that people who “know more than me” are the best. That’s especially true if they’ve already been down a trail that you want to pursue.

  5. Krista Francis

    Great post. It would be hard to come up with a list, because there are so many people who are brilliant in different ways. But of course I’ll try, anyway. With HR Technology, I’d think of Steve Boese, Ben Eubanks, Mike Krupa. Brilliant HR generalist blogs and minds: Victorio Milian, Sharlyn Lauby, Joan Ginsberg. And then of course there are so many more that I can’t start to mention or give adequate credit where it’s due.

    Regardless of the people you think of as brilliant, what’s great about social media is the opportunity to interact with and learn from dozens of great minds on many lists!!

  6. Beth McDonald

    I couldn’t agree more! I follow most of the people mentioned by you and others and try to soak up as much as possible. I equate it with running (as a wanna-be runner, myself)… If you want to get faster, you’ve got to run with someone who’s faster than you. It drives you to be better and push harder. Great post!

    1. Ben Eubanks

      @ Beth Fantastic analogy. And running is so much fun. I love it. :-)
      @ Krista I agree. My (very short) list was just a jump-off point. I could sit and list a hundred people in a hundred categories and still not be finished with those who influence me to do better.
      @ Wally Sorry for the confusion on that one. I agree that IQ isn’t a solid measure. Experience and insight are much better for this kind of thing. Thanks for the comment!
      @ Joan My Google Reader is overflowing! I eventually have to trim it sometimes, but it’s hard, because there are so many great people to learn from. I can bring the energy (even if I have nothing else). :-)
      @ Jason It’s much more fun and interesting (or to use your word, adventurous) to be around people who push you to be better. Really looking forward to meeting you at HRev2 for just that purpose.
      @ Michael Love the list and agree that it’s so much more valuable than people realize. There was a fantastic post by Copyblogger recently on the value of reading blogs. I plan to write a post on it soon, because if people are serious about getting value from the (free) content, then there are some huge benefits for the time investment.

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