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I'm In with the IT Crowd: 5 Reasons to Surround Yourself with People Who Are Smarter Than You

Some of the smartest people I know work in IT.  Think about it - folks who work with technology on a regular basis are just plain smart.  They seem to have an innate understanding of the way things work.  It makes me kind of jealous, actually.

Think of the smartest person you know.  

What does that person do?  Maybe it's not IT, but I bet you wish you knew what they know.  There's a lot to be gleaned from building relationships with people you respect for their understanding.  

Here are the top 5 reasons you should surround yourself with people who are smarter than you:

  1. Elevate your knowledge base.  When you place yourself in circumstances where you'll learn new principles and ideas, you're bound to increase your understanding.
  2. Get a fresh perspective.  Have you ever outgrown your peer group?  It's actually a good thing.  You may find yourself excelling above your peers intellectually, socially, emotionally, or spiritually, because you're learning at a different pace.  Don't let them hold you back.  Seek new influences that will encourage your growth and keep you moving in the right direction. 
  3. Learn to analyze problems from every angle.  When you've been looking at a problem from the same point of view your entire life, you may only see one way to solve it.  Listen to other ideas.  Weigh feedback carefully.  Don't pigeonhole yourself into one solution when there are hundreds that would be equally effective.
  4. Expand your interests to better relate to other skill sets.  Learning is a life-long process.  There's always more to discover.  When you gather new ideas, you're building bridges to connect with more people who have similar ideas and interests.  Common ground is integral in relationship development, and relationship development is integral in success.
  5. It keeps you humble.  Being around people who are ridiculously smart underscores the fact that I am not.  Fortunately, there's room to grow!
Winston Churchill said, "Life is full of glorious opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems."  Perhaps one of the greatest opportunities you have is to learn from those who have more wisdom and experience, and to conquer those 'unsolvable problems' together. Never let discouragement or intimidation hold you back.

My recommendation?  

Ask yourself what you want to be doing in 5 years, then find someone who is successfully doing that and get to know them.  Ask them questions.  Learn about their goals.  Discover the routine things they do to better equip themselves for success.  Then put those habits into practice.
You should be strategic in your relationships, both personal and professional.  Not just for your own knowledge, but for character development.  Remember, you make your friends and then your friends make you.

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