“If you want to be a “sharp thinker,” be around sharp people!” Or as biblically stated in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
In my lifetime I have been told things by others, either directly or collectively, that have had a tremendous impact on my life. The introductory quote was a charge given to me in a group 12 years ago by someone I highly respect, John Maxwell. John has committed his life to helping others by motivating, teaching and encouraging them through biblical principles, through his study and communicating the stories of highly successful individuals, not just in business, but in life. I love reading his books and listening to him speak whenever I get the chance. He tells countless stories of people who have chosen to surround themselves with sharp thinkers who don’t buy into the idea of a “life of existence,” but do buy into a “life of purpose and significance.” He loves to learn from others and so do I! The stories he shares validates the principle of “choosing wisely who you invite into your world.”
A sharp thinker doesn’t have to be someone with a Ph.D., even though I have been around those people as well; they are all pretty much “sharp thinkers,” especially in their field of study. Sharp thinkers are people who I deem to think outside the box. They don’t get caught up in “people pleasing” but “God pleasing”. They don’t put limits on themselves. They actually are hungry to learn, grow and be known as “life-long learners!” Seeking to be a better “me” every day. They look at each day as an opportunity to “get after it!” The one thing I have learned on the Front 9 that I am carrying into the Back 9 is that you go much further in life with a “team” than you do alone!
Of course you have to pick the right team. A team of people who will strengthen you, challenge you. People who know you and will join you in prayer, who complement you, enlarge your vision, hold you accountable and, most of all, pay close attention to how they themselves think and process. They believe that all actions are preceded by their thoughts. So the way your team (the people who you choose to be around) thinks will have a direct impact on your life.
Have you ever heard it said, “It is not what you know, but what the people you surround yourself with know”? Or I have been told, “Your success is directly related to who you choose to surround yourself with!” I have found much value over the last 5 years in surrounding myself with people who I consider to be “sharp thinkers!” It has opened up a new world to me of the “team concept” that the Bible speaks of in one person sharpening another.
Inviting people to speak into your life, who are qualified, can bring about positive change and new God-given directions. Of course, the Ultimate Source is our Heavenly Father, but God Himself ordains that you get with others to become more! If you have been digging a hole and you just think, “If I dig a little deeper, then maybe good things will come.” Maybe it’s time for you to, not dig deeper, but “dig a new hole!” Breaking new ground, in new directions in life can be scary but it can be exhilarating too. Maybe it’s time to not work harder at the same old thing. Maybe it’s time to try new things. Surrounding yourself with some “sharp thinkers” can be life altering and can send you in God-designed directions you might not ever go unless you embrace the principle found in Proverbs 27:17. Desire to be “sharpened!”