Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve written in the past that gossip might be the most favorite form of communication of the human race. Admit it. We love to talk about people. We talk about people we don’t know and about those closest to us as well.
Evidently, gossip must make us feel superior or “better than” because it does absolutely no good to rattle on about someone else. I’d love to tell you I never gossip but we all know better. It’s the bane of being human. And I am very human.
But, what if we all made a conscious choice not to talk so much about others and if we do, it would only be for saying positive or complimentary things. We all know the old and truthful saying, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Old sayings are old for one reason: they are most generally true.
Great Mind or Small Mind
I find the Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote to be a simple and profound truth. Gossip is the handiwork of small-minded people. And yet, it remains a mainstay of many conversations going on right this minute. Great minds haven’t the wherewithal to talk about people because ideas are constantly filling their minds.
I’ve discovered that ideas are beautiful things to ponder and discuss. Ideas may be the primary criterion that separates us from all other species.
Ideas are the Human Differentiator
All innovation began with an idea. Some hunter-gatherer didn’t like the rain so he built a shelter. The shelter was too small so he constructed a hut. The hut was also small so he erected a house, then a bigger house, until the time came where we spend more time inside than out. And it all began with a simple idea: I don’t like sleeping in the rain and cold.
Here’s a problem: where does one find other “great minds” that want to talk about ideas. Unfortunately, most of us are not involved in vocations where innovative and contemplative thought is commonplace. Therefor finding thoughtful individuals requires work. It demands an effort to find and befriend such people.
I’ve heard it said that “you are the sum of the five people with whom you most associate.” I don’t know how true that is, but this I know for sure: those five people will certainly have tremendous impact on the ways you think and behave.
I have determined to begin collecting thinkers to add to my arsenal of five. It really is a matter of making that choice to associate with great minds while deserting small-minded people along the way.
First, I must be prepared to have a conversation with her or him. That means reading, writing, watching great film, going to museums, and taking classes that enhance my knowledge base.
I have only two unique objectives:
- Read about subjects with which I have little familiarity but that catch my attention. For instance, I just started reading books of poetry and astrology and other esoteric spiritualties. (However, I continue to read thoughtful books on biblical theology.)
- Schedule a lunch one time each month with a bright and thoughtful person. This is a challenge for me, the introvert, but I am determined I must make it happen.
Remember, you are in total control of the input you allow to enter your brain. In order to become wise, you must fill your mind with wisdom. And, for me, that wisdom means reaching out of my comfort zone in an effort to learn and become a person that discusses ideas and not people.
Great Mind or Small Mind
It’s Your Choice
Photo courtesy of marekuliasz at istockphoto
4 thoughts on “I Was Thinking…”
Great reminder Charlie!
Thank you Suzanne. It’s a reminder for me as well!
“Finding thoughtful individuals requires work. It demands an effort to find and befriend such people” Simple and profound statement!!
The “5” around me (Wife, parrot, youngest child still at home, a pantry moth, and a crow in the backyard) have been effortless. Just a modicum of effort could bring about such a change! Thanks for the action steps at the end of your post.
Chris. Hahaha. Yes. It is time to find at least one. Thoughtful people are hard to find. But all it takes is a conscious effort. It is worth it. I wish you the best. Keep me posted how it goes.