Mark: Even when we’re brilliant? Marshall: It doesn’t matter. We are so afraid of looking stupid that we go through life over and over proving how smart we are. The great Peter Drucker (father of modern management) taught me a wonderful lesson. He said, “Our mission in life is to make a positive difference. Not to prove how smart we are.”
Mark: We’re kind of obsessed with our image in a sense, aren’t we? Marshall: There’s another reason. We have taken test after test after test in life. Many people have taken thousands of tests with one goal. Do you know what the goal is? “Prove I’m smart.” Over and over that’s it – prove we’re smart. It’s very hard to stop. As our great friend Alan Mulally (former CEO of Boeing and Ford) said, “For that great individual achiever, it’s
about me. And for the great leader, it’s about them.” It’s very hard to stop behaving like it’s all about me. It’s very hard to stop proving how smart we are and really focusing on helping other people be smart, on helping other people win. The theory behind this is really easy – the practice of this is phenomenally difficult.
Mark: I think we’re all thinking about our significance in every step of the calendar, and quarter, and every step of the ladder that we take. We’re always thinking about how we can position ourselves to look the best we possibly can. Marshall: For our readers and audience, please send us comments answering this question, is there a time in the past when you had a need to prove how smart you were and found that it wasn’t worth it?
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