(not being) The Smartest Person in the Room

I've been coming across this idea lots lately : Surrounding yourself with those who don't know what you know. Who think differently. Who know more. Who are maybe more experienced than you and even better than you at the things you do!

Those are the people to spend time with and learn from.

In the terrific book "Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo" a story is relayed that really resonates. When Marissa decided to join Google, she explains the reason why via a story from her childhood about her middle school piano teacher's daughter, Laura.

"Laura tried out for the volleyball team her junior year at high school. At the end of tryouts, she was given a hard choice: bench on varsity or start on JV.

Most people...would choose to play...pick JV. Laura did the opposite. She chose varsity, and she benched the whole season.

But then an amazing thing happened. Senior year she tried out and she made varsity as a starter, and all the JV starters from the previous year were benched their whole senior year.

I remember asking her, 'How did you know to choose varsity?'

And she said, 'I just knew that if I got to practice with the better players every day, I would become a much better player, even if I didin't get to play in any of the games.'"

The moral, in Marissa's words? "My quest to find, and be surrounded by, smart people is what brought me to Google."


I've found most people are happy to share their stories, experience and learned lessons. All you have to do is ask!

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