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Something More Valuable Than Intelligence

Something More Valuable Than Intelligence

Einstein was once asked how many feet are in a mile. Einstein's reply was, "I don't know. Why should I fill my brain with facts I can find in two minutes in any standard reference book?"

Einstein taught us a big lesson. He felt it was more important to use your mind to think than to use it as a warehouse for facts.

One time Henry Ford was involved in a libel suite with the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune had called Ford an ignoramus, and Ford, a man of great respect, said in effect, "Prove it."

The Tribune asked him scores of simple questions such as "Who was Benedict Arnold?" "When was the Revolutionary War fought?" and others, most of which Ford, who had little formal education, could not answer.

Finally he became quite exasperated and said, "I don't know the answers to those questions, but I could find a man in five minutes who does."

Henry Ford was never interested in miscellaneous information. He knew what every major executive knows: the ability to know how to get information is more important than using the mind as a garage for facts.

Three important principles:

1. Never underestimate your own intelligence and never overestimate the intelligence of others. Don't sell yourself short. Concentrate on your assets. Discover your superior talents. Manage your brains instead of worrying about how much IQ you've got.

2. Develop an "I'm winning" attitude. Put your intelligence to creative positive use. Use it to find ways to win, not to prove you will lose.

3. Remember that the ability to think is of much greater value than the ability to memorize facts. Use your mind to create and develop ideas, to find new and better ways to do things. Ask yourself, "Am I using my mental ability to make history or am I using it merely to record history made by others?"

Based on the classic by David J. Schwartz:
"The Magic Of Thinking Big"

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How To Emulate Success

"Keep a keen eye trained on those who are successful. See how they operate. Discern their good traits from the bad. Tuck away and remember what you've learned by watching and listening. Then use it when you are in a similar situation yourself."
Lawrence Weinbach
Managing partner-CEO, Arthur Andersen & Co.

Identify potential role models - people who are successful (personally as well as professionally), respected, intelligent, ethical, and admired.

They can be superiors, colleagues, clients, customers, acquaintances, even people you'll never meet personally but can learn from nonetheless.

Once you have identified people to emulate:

  • Closely observe what they do and say

  • Select the behaviors you want to emulate

  • Begin to reflect those behaviors. Think of yourself as a mirror image of the model and replicate the words and actions you have witnessed

  • Practice new behaviors, paying close attention to their effect. Realize that anything new will feel odd and uncomfortable at first and use the response you get from others to help you learn what does or does not work for you.

  • Keep using what works until it becomes second nature for you. The actions you are emulating start out as techniques, but with repetition, they become integral parts of you, enhancing your executive presence and your self-confidence.

  • Finally, employ the observation and reflection skills you develop while emulating success to help you adapt to specific situations and fit in wherever you go.


From pages 91-93 of "Lions Don't Need To Roar"
D. A. Benton

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