Who do you follow — the smart, the rich, the influential, or the visionary?
You’re walking through a long corridor. As you come to the end, the corridor opens out to a small Room, and in that Room stands a Doorman, showing you four Doors.
“I present to you four Doors”, the Doorman begins.
The Doorman continues.
“You can choose which Door to go through — the First Door leads to a Room full of smart people. The Second Door leads to a Room full of rich people. The Third Door leads to a Room full of people with large crowds of supporters and online followings. The Fourth Door leads to a Room with people with a large vision.”
“You can only choose ONE Door. Which do you choose?”
“I have a question” you say, “what else do I know about the people in these Rooms? Are the smart people also rich? Are any of the rich people driven by large visions, and do any of the visionaries have large online followings and so forth?”
The Doorman replies “I say only this — though in life and reality people are more than one thing, in this exercise, you do not have further information. You must place a bet based on what you know. Which journey will you invest in?”
“Will you take your chances with the smart people? The rich? Those with followings? Or with the visionaries?”
You take your time to decide. Before going on, ask yourself, what is your answer?
Door one – The Room with smart people
Always know the difference between the ‘smart’ and the ‘wise’.
Why follow those who are smart? Often expertise, experience and prior knowledge are inhibitory. Smart people normally gain technical or field-specific competency that is based on mastering facts and concepts.
They often develop rigid boxes of thinking, and struggle to see beyond them.
A lot of smart people identify with being smart — as a result they easily feel threatened. When their priority becomes upholding and believing in their own intelligence, they focus on this at the expense of being effective and being clear.
Not all smart people are happy, accomplished, fair to deal with or wealthy. The real wealth of mental resources is not that which we label ‘intelligence’, but rather, that entity known as wisdom. Wisdom is thinking Without-the-Box, to see things clearly, and remembering at all times how little one really knows.
With this gift, the wise remember always to stay out of their own way, and the way of others.
Door two – The Room with rich people
Not all rich people are clever or wise. You can be very stupid and be rich, by doing something simple yet valuable well and consistently. You can be in the right place at the right time, you can be persistent or you can get lucky.
Knowing someone is rich does not imply much else about them — it does not guarantee that they are smart, useful, moral, ethical, wise or happy in their own lives. If anything, we suspect the rich are more often unhappy, because of the cruel human tendency to compare what we have with what others have, and always find some way in which we are lacking.
What do you stand to gain by being in a Room of rich people?
Door three – The Room with those who have large followings
There are more people now than ever before who have large online followings, and many of these online followings are baseless.
It is possible to assemble large crowds and subscribers without imparting much value or wisdom. Follower counts never tell us much about the quality of supporters, or the impact (positive or negative). They only tell us quantity and number, until we look deeper.
What do you hope to gain by following those with large followings?
Door four – The Room with the visionaries
This is the Door I choose to open.
Not all visions are good, but nonetheless, this is where I place my bet.
I believe that you are the size of the challenge with which you face yourself.
As such, a visionary will go on an incredible journey of growth. In finding a way to be effective, they will accrue smarts and wisdom, but not for vanity or ego’s sake, but rather to overcome the mountains on their path.
And they do climb mountains…
On that journey, they accrue wealth — that wealth which matters most, which ensues from being effective — not wanton riches for the sake of vanity or empty opportunism.
A visionary will attract the followers that are necessary and essential — and there will be substance to them. Their bond and unity will mean something.
When it comes to followers, visionaries focus on quality over quantity, unlike most others, who look at followers as numbers.
It is the visionaries who I place a bet on, to overtake the smart, the rich, and the influential.
As I wrote about in The Eiffel Tower Principle…
Remember, it’s not about where they are now — but where they are going