You’ve likely heard this saying before: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people“. It’s often attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, but seems to track back to Henry Thomas Buckle, as explained in this great research about it.
While I’ve heard and appreciated that quote for a while, it’s only recently that I’ve begun to see people through that lens. Not that I’m noticing the “average” or “small” minds, per se, but some of the idea-based “great minds” have been popping up more around me more often, and it’s fantastic.
The first includes some friends from the altMBA, like Rachael Studebaker. If you want to find people with amazing ideas, joining a session of the altMBA will surround you with those kinds of people (details on the program here). As I’ve kept up with more folks from there, I really notice a different kind of conversation than I see with most people.
I’m also finding it more frequently in my interactions on LinkedIn, with folks like Evan Chasteen and Tony Albrecht (among many others). Generally speaking, I find LinkedIn to be full of people talking about ideas, and Facebook tends to be more about people and events.
However, a follow-up quote from Buckle shows a need for all three:
“The fact, of course, is that any of one’s friends who was incapable of a little intermingling of these condiments would soon be consigned to the home for dull dogs.”
This manifests itself most often for me with people like Ali Green. She and I frequently need to discuss people and events, as that’s the core of the work we do together, but we also drift into deeper topics and I find those interactions to be fascinating.
People & Events
Depending on context, I’m sure many folks would consider me just a “people & events” conversationalist, and that’s accurate in many interactions that I have. However, those times when it truly goes to “ideas” brings incredible value and I encourage you to seek out those kinds of discussions.