What I Learned From Eleanor Roosevelt

A Critical Doer is committed to thinking and acting


I came across an Eleanor Roosevelt quote that goes as follows:


Great minds discuss ideas.

Average minds discuss events.

Small minds discuss people.


On the surface, I understand her point.  Ideas are a high order of reasoning that deal with the future.  Events are the results of those ideas in the present.  Discussions of people, this quote would lead you to believe, centers on the darker aspects of jealousy and even self-absorbed comparisons.

Not so fast…

We’re Critical Doers who look beyond the superficial and get to the substantial…even when it comes to Eleanor Roosevelt.  The assumption of the quote is that we’re only capable of one level of conversation, and there’s a clear judgment that one is better than the other two.  But here’s the real question…is it possible to turn ideas into action without conversations at all three levels?

I say not.  Great deeds start with great ideas, but something gets that idea from the mind to the feet for action.  Just as potential energy doesn’t do anything until converted to kinetic energy, ideas are much the same.  To make that conversion, we inevitable talk about an event and the people capable of executing that event.

Even when wisdom is coming from a revered figure, listen carefully to avoid the trap of exclusion in your thinking.  The connection of ideas, events, and people produces the benefits that make life better and rewards the Critical Doer with fulfillment knowing your efforts have real value.

Your challenge is to listen to pieces of conventional wisdom you’ve always taken for granted and see if they are inclusive or exclusive.  If you find that a well-meaning phrase or idea has words that could be polarizing, find new words that help connect ideas, action, and people in a way that produces meaningful results.  It’s what a Critical Doer would…do!


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Updated: October 27, 2015 — 12:02 am