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Want to get smart? Hang out with smart people

Against all odds, I found myself at the recent Wolters Kluwer Thought Leader Meeting in Dallas. I’m not sure I belonged there, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to turn down that invitation. The table at the pre-meeting dinner was lined with some of the smartest people in the accounting and finance world, all talking about the current state and future of the profession.

As I listened to the incredible conversations at the table that night, it occurred to me: The best way to make a difference in this changing and complex world is to hang out with people who want to make a difference. The best way to get smarter is to hang out with smart people.

Take a close look at the people around you. Are they making a difference? Are they inspiring you to make a difference?

Take a close look at the stuff you’re dumping into your brain. Are you watching, and reading, and listening to things that will spur you to action? That will make you think? Your brain acts like a muscle. It gets stronger when you exercise it. Are you exercising yours?

The people and resources we surround ourselves with define us, but they do more than that. They map our future. Surround ourselves with smart people and smart tools, and we’ll get smarter. Surround ourselves with idiots and inanity, and guess what we’ll become?

“Guilt by association” cuts both ways. The people and things we surround ourselves with will either lift us up or drag us down.

Which will it be?

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