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Be a Thought Lever, not a Thought Leader

Aug 28, 2017

Anytime people accuse me of being a “Thought Leader” (or trying to be), I squirm and shirk it off. It just happened again this morning, and I’d like to clear this up once and for all: leading people’s thoughts is something I want no part of, thankyouverymuch. I’ll leave that to the politicians and the marketers.

What I strive to do, and sincerely hope that all of us try to do, is help others toward their own independent thought.

When I write, I attempt to provide leverage toward smart. I share things that I hope ignite your critical thinking skills. I do this frequently on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Whether it’s a comment on someone else’s post…

…or a link I’m sharing…

…or a quaint little post of my own…

…or an article I’ve written…

…what I’m trying to do is provide leverage for your thoughts. You take it from there and do what you will.

I’m just the lever providing some writing as a fulcrum, but you must supply the cognitive effort.

I sincerely want us all to behave in smarter ways than we would otherwise. I don’t believe this happens as a result of reading something, but rather thinking something. Something that you feel ownership over, because it is intrinsically and undeniably yours.

Why would I try to fill you with my knowledge? I’d much rather excite the existing knowledge within you to collide with itself and make some new sense to you. That’s when things really get interesting.

Sure, this is open-ended and messy by design. But to me, that’s a beautiful thing!

How effective is this? I have two answers, and both of them happen to be true:

  1. It’s not very effective
  2. It’s effective enough

It’s not very effective in that I never expect anything to “go viral” or see widespread adoption like a Thought Leader might. Yes, I realize most people don’t want to expend any effort thinking (or if they do, they’re not looking to social media for such things!) so the majority either won’t get it or they won’t care to.

But it’s also effective enough for me. While the number of folks viewing/liking/commenting may not be huge, I am actively attracting some amazing and intelligent people who are willing to put in the effort. People from all over the world who are solving some of the same problems that I’m solving, often in different and fascinating ways. People for whom thinking is a way of life, or even a compulsion. People who are often very funny! These are my people!

True, the social media and search algorithms are not designed for what I’m using them for. All of this internet infrastructure is built for quantity over quality because that’s what makes the best money.

So be it. Are you in this for the money? Carry on as you please. I’m not.

I’ll just be over in my little corner of the web, leveraging away. Instead of selling stuff or having a popularity contest or spewing opinions for validation’s sake, you’ll find me sharing away and praying that someone is inspired to think just a little more about the world around them — and how to make it better.

If you agree that world could use more of this these days, please join me.

Before you share anything, ask yourself how doing so makes people smarter.

Thanks for this, and for all you do to make the world a better place!

It all starts with a conversation

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