Learn from People Smarter Than You
As I discussed in last week’s post, I recently got a new job. It’s a job in the tech space, which is new to me. There’s been a bit of a learning curve as I try to get up to speed as quickly as possible, but it’s been a challenge that I’m tackling head on.
One aspect of my new job that has stood out most to me is that the people I’m around on a day-to-day basis are highly impressive.
The Bay Area holds some of the best and brightest minds in the country. This isn’t to say that the rest of the country doesn’t, my point is that the Silicon Valley is a bubble with an insane amount of innovation, intelligence, and creativity. It’s engrained in the culture.
You’ve probably heard the quote, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
I feel like I’ve been living this quote lately. By spending so much time around intelligent co-workers, I’ve been learning and growing at a rapid pace. Even the conversations during lunch are about the last innovations and where the world is going, rather than surface level talk about pop culture or the weather.
One of the Most Important Qualities to Cultivate
One of the most important qualities you can develop is the ability to be coachable. Have the humility to know you don’t have everything figured out. Find the right people to learn from and soak up as much as you can.
I was able to find a new job relatively quickly, and I believe a big factor was that I’ve been able to build broader skillset in the past few years. I attribute a lot of this to continually looking to learn as much as possible.
There is a lot of talk in the news recently about how many jobs in the near future will be automated. This makes learning new skills, especially in the creative field, even more imperative so that you don’t get left behind. The world changes rapidly, it’s no longer good enough to rely on what you learned in college, you need to always be adding to your tool belt.
It’s like this at my new job too, there are conversations that go above my head, but over time I’m retaining more and more new knowledge and it’s helping me become more well-rounded professionally.
Example of People to Learn From
I’m fascinated by people who embark on new challenges often and continually look to better themselves.
Tim Ferriss has a brand new show that just premiered called Fearless. The format of the show is interview type conversations between Ferriss and world-class performers. The first episode featured magician David Blaine. You can check out the full episode here.
Both Tim Ferriss and David Blaine are fascinating people, with many characteristics that we can learn from. One of the traits that both of them share is that they’re constantly learning.
Tim Ferriss is pretty much a “human guinea pig,” he’s always studying habits of successful people and implementing those habits into his own daily life. He has written two best selling books, hosts an award winning podcast, and is an investor/advisor to some of the fastest growing companies in the world.
David Blaine is the same way, constantly challenging himself to learn new tricks, and then practicing those new tricks endlessly until he has perfected them. Some of the stunts he has performed in his career include being fully encased in a block of ice, fasting for 44 days, sword swallowing, holding his breath under water for over 17 minutes, and catching a bullet in his mouth.
The interview offers a lot of insight into David Blaine’s life and methods of perfecting his magic tricks.
My favorite part of the episode is when Ferriss asks Blaine: “What is success to you?”
Blaine talks about building wealth to then be able to give it to the right places, using the way Bill Gates approaches philanthropy through his own foundation as an example. He also mentions giving back by connecting with people through his talent as a magician. Blaine tells a powerful story about connecting with a young adult who was a burn victim, and how he was able to use magic to help bring him some joy in a difficult time.
This is one of the reasons why managing my money well is so important to me.
Apply these lessons to your own life
Surround yourself with people that will challenge you and help you grow. Spend time with people with similar goals and ambitions. “Iron sharpens iron” meaning that two like-minded people can both help each other learn and grow. Find people who have reached the places you want to reach, spend time and learn from them. Many times these people are more than willing to share their experience, you just need to seek out the opportunities and listen carefully.