Monday, April 25, 2016

What’s Wrong with Being a Brilliant Lone Wolf?

Our society has always been filled with brilliant people.  However, most of those talented people and their innovations will never be known by the public.  Why?  They were too smart to work with others.  And one person can’t do it all.  Furthermore, when they train and develop themselves, they
do it in isolation.  And they exude a “take on the world alone” mentality.   

Why many people have not been able to maximize books and workshops

These brilliant people attend workshops, read books and experiment with new ideas on their own.  While they may benefit from engaging others in friendly discourse, they can sometimes have the mindset that no one understands them.  Or no one can keep up with them.  While this strategy allows them to pontificate their smartness, it stunts their growth. 

The problem with the ‘going italone’ approach with books and seminars is that you will not have theopportunity to practice, so your retention of the material will be 20% or less.  Why?  When you return home or to work there may be no one with whom you can discuss your new discoveries.  The people in your environment may have no way of relating to the journey you are taking personally or professionally.  For them, your development may appear to be a foreign language.  Therefore, they have no idea how to support you.  It will be difficult for others in your life to be your partner to practice new and empowering techniques, thought processes and philosophies; practice of new ideas can lead to greater retention and effective application of the new information.

Objectively speaking, reading books and attending educational workshop are great ways to expand your knowledge.  When you are able to continuously discuss those new ideas with others, it allows you to discover ideas you may have never considered.  In some cases, simply discussing topics with others can stimulate new thinking for you.  This can especially happen when you are speaking with people who don’t see eye to eye with you.  Those people will force you to articulate your ideas with greater clarity.  They may even force you to express your ideas from new perspectives.  Yet, this isn’t common practice for many.    

With that said, if you’re a brilliant lone wolf, engage people.  Share your most intimate ideas with others and quietly listen to their feedback, especially if you don’t like what they have to say.  Before you disagree with them, ask questions. 

In addition to engaging conversations, invite friends or colleagues to join you at workshops.  Or suggest a great book you are reading.  That way they become a support structure to reinforce and practice what you’ve learned. 

From another perspective, on the surface, it could appear difficult to work with a smart lone wolf.  To make matters worse, they sometimes do not allow others to contribute to them.  In other words, they may not be the best listeners.  They can sometimes be dismissive towards others.

While the lone wolf is smart, his or her individual knowledge is limited.  One person does not know everything.  When you combine two or more people, the new combinations of knowledge can be incalculable. 

Nevertheless, if you do choose to hire a brilliant lone wolf, they can be an asset to your team, department or enterprise.  Leverage their point of view.  Engage them and allow them time to think through your questions.  Also, provide them with opportunities to lead meetings or new initiatives.  If you send them to a workshop alone, ask them to present their experience and lessons to the team.  Lastly, if you engage them in healthy discourse, question some of their perspectives.  That will force them to clearly articulate the brilliant ideas that may be trapped in their mind.  Otherwise, that brilliant lone wolf will become a forgotten name in history.        

What do you think? I would love to hear your feedback. And I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.

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