On Getting Smarter and Staying Ahead


Smartness is Born form Exposure

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you will go.”

Where does intelligence come from? We meet smart people every day, and though we seldom give credit where it is due, there are a lot of smart people out there. When we see a job done with a certain amount of shrewdness or thoroughness that is difficult to replicate, or when we come across fast learners, people who tend to navigate through and magnetize information to their brains and divulge facts and reality with certain ease, we know.

Each of us responds to smartness in one of two ways: we’re either full of intimidation (insecurity, jealousy or whatever you may call it) or we’re full of praise (awe, wonder etc.). Whatever the case may be, it is important that we accept that we too want to be recognized for our good work as well as get smarter at what we do.

Smart people will tell you that no one is born smart, instead we learn to be smart and we adapt to smarter ways of getting things done, depending on the level of our exposure. Bing! There you have it; smartness is born from exposure more than anything else. In business landscape in Nigeria for example, it is no coincidence that the managing directors of some of the fastest growing companies are graduates of foreign universities, having obtained an exposure that is serving their companies well.

If smartness is born from exposure, it means that you may be only one book, one trip, one article, one training schedule or even one phone app away from getting smarter at your work – producing better results with more efficiency and satisfaction.

If you generate ways of letting people get work done faster and better (smarter), then that’s innovation. If you device skills and artillery that get your job done quicker and better, then that’s productivity. Either way, you’re on the winning edge.

Indecision Defines Destiny

“Neither have they hearts to stay nor wits to run away”, a wise man once said. Don’t be like them. If you’re already trapped by indecision, find a way out, before it gets too bewildering. A bad decision is always better than no decision; you will walk away with the honor of experience and you will have enough bruises to make your story believable.

People, who move up the ladder quicker than others, are more decisive in many ways. They know how to ask the questions ‘why?’, ‘what?’, ‘when?’, ‘how?’ and ‘where?’ while finding prompt answers. For example when you walk into a different system from what you’re used to, say from the class room to the work arena, your motives and performance are driven by the questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I doing here?

The first question (Who am I?) determines your character in that place. The second question keeps you focused. The third question helps you set priorities. With the right focus and equally well set priorities, you will find yourself hitting the target more often than you misfire.

So like Robert McGough put it, ‘if I decide to be indecisive, that’s my decision.’

An Impression is the least form of Knowledge

Wisdom – the application of knowledge, is the highest form.

Yes, an impression is the least form of knowledge, while wisdom, the application of knowledge, is the highest form. And to be ahead, you must know something and not just have an impression. You know it’s an impression if you think you know something based on some information you obtained a while ago or based on some pertinent facts. The problem with an impression is that it does not get the job done; it may tell you how or when, but it leaves it to the more skilled mind. If you always find yourself on the edge of opportunities that you can’t really take hold of, it may be that your next goal should be to stop impressing people with the little impressions you have obtained, but instead go out and actually learn the skill. When you are skilled, you are more relevant and important to the group/company, however, the cost of obtaining one is focus.