May 10, 2015 / IF YOU'RE THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM YOU'RE IN THE WRONG ROOM
May 10, 2015
“There is no end to education… The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.” –Jiddu Krishnamurti
There’s a point in life that most of us experience education as a chore. The value of learning is simply not yet recognized and our minds are often too immature to grasp the value of learning. I’m a firm believer that one should always keep an open mind—a mind that hungrily craves new information.
Continuously learning about a myriad of topics (and different perspectives on those topics) is the best way to learn. Learning isn’t just enjoyable; it’s also the way in which people in business grow. It’s the mental equivalent of keeping up with the Joneses (competitors), especially in the constantly evolving world of marketing. I like to think of the internet as a living multiverse of rooms—some I’m probably the smartest in (like in Justin Bieber’s YouTube comment section) and some I’m most definitely not (like the pages of Seth Godin’s blog).
Thanks to the internet, I have at my fingertips access to some of the most brilliant and enlightened minds to ever grace our planet. I was once told that the most efficient way to learn is to heed the sagacious insights that others have gained through a lifetime of wisdom-gathering. So I wanted to follow my own advice and make sure that I wasn’t the only—and by default, the smartest—person in this room. Here are some brilliant quotes for all of us to learn from.
Learning to learn
“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.” —Voltaire
“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” —Thomas Huxley
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” —Mahatma Gandhi
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” —Pablo Picasso
Exploring new ideas
“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” —William Pollard
“Exploration is the engine that drives innovation. Innovation drives economic growth. So let’s all go exploring.” —Edith Widder
Don’t be afraid to look dumb
"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”—Bill Gates (Let’s hope this is true after the catastrophe that is Windows 8.)
“I’ve seen how you can’t learn anything when you’re trying to look like the smartest person in the room.” —Barbara Kingsolver
"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” —Bruce Lee
Imagine your company as a marketplace watering hole. If you cut off the flow of fresh ideas that maintain its health, instead of the bustling life and commerce you once enjoyed, the business will become stagnant and eventually filled with rotting mosquitoes and a sadness for what could have been. As individuals we’re like a shark in the collective stream of consciousness. If we stop swimming—stop exploring and stop moving forward—we’ll die. Regardless of which quote you choose to inspire you, the lesson is the same, keep learning, keep growing and keep actively perusing education. A great place to start is here, here, here, here or here.
Talk is cheap, and can also be costly. #uncommonsense