They’re dumb at playing small. They’re dumb at being afraid to share their truth. They’re dumb at discussing petty showbiz gossip, even dumber at spreading it. They’re mostly dumb at demanding their way and very dumb at needing to prove they’re right. They’re dumb at giving up AND giving in, and they’re way too dumb to think of themselves as being smart.

Look, I’m working on not being judgmental, and I try not to discriminate, and I call my self on it every time I talk down on somebody. But the truth remains, I love hanging out with smart people. I love walking away from a long conversation, blown away by somebody’s smart ideas. I enjoy grappling with deeper issues, with smart people who aren’t afraid to grapple with deeper issues. I even love the swagger of smart people, the way they glide into a room with the nonchalant confidence of a prima ballerina. And I enjoy regular weekly conversations with smart, foolhardy artists & treps who have absolutely ridiculous, utterly impossible huge goals and are nevertheless determined to achieve them. Smart people, who are not afraid to go deep, and get to the real truth that confronts their lives, tests their relationships, and stalls their careers. I also love it when smart people express genuine humility and play themselves down, giving others the upper hand, because it’s the smart thing to do. And I love reading smart books by smart authors, like Gladwell, Pressfield, Godin, Bruce Lipton, Deepak Chopra, Tom Cambell, Ray Kurzwiel, David Hawkins, and Elizabeth Gilbert.

Of course I learn something from everyone I encounter—of course I do! But often my breath is taken away by a smart film director or a brilliantly written screenplay, or the genius lyrics and melody of a great composer, or a really intelligent band manager, or the phrasing of great poetry, or even the coding of a genius programmer. I even respect & admire the brilliance of a smart basketball coach, like Phil Jackson. Now there’s a really smart guy! Wanna learn how to market your music, publish your book, sell your script, turn your big corp into a global one, or incorporate the benefits of meditation into your daily business? Then read his new book “Eleven Rings.”

Truth is, the more I hang out and interact with smarter people than me the more my awareness expands. The more I humble myself in the presence of smarter people than me, the more my level of consciousness rises. And the more I read smarter people than me, the more I realize how far I still need to go. Truth is, I just like playing racquetball with someone better than me.

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” —Bill Gates

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