I saw a sign in an office recently that said, “Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about other people.” I have heard this quote before but don’t recall who originally said it.
What are the characteristics of small people? They talk about … other people. The comments made tend to be about other people and are negative: criticism, gossip, judgment and other detrimental words. This can be damaging to our self esteem if we become fixated on comparing ourselves to others.
Average people talk about things that are important to them. Things like possessions, the house, the car, the money in the bank, the gadgets. The reference tends to be that bigger is better. This is the person who will go on about the 55 countries they have visited, the five peaks they have climbed and the number of events they have booked. There is nothing wrong with going to 55 countries, climbing five peaks or booking 10 events in the same day. It is only harmful for those who consider themselves superior for having these experiences or things.
Finally, we have great people. Great people talk about ideas. They love meaning, they love freedom and creativity. They are open to change because talking about ideas can really engage them with other people and shed light on new ideas. Ideas energize us, motivate us, excite us and open us to possibilities we never knew existed.
Of course there is nothing wrong with talking occasionally about other people or things. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. The main lesson is that we make sure we spend enough time talking about ideas and sharing our time with other people who love to talk about ideas. If you find yourself talking mostly about gossip, other people and your accomplishments, it may be time to rethink who you are spending time with and how you can make more time to talk with great people about ideas.
What do you spend most of your time talking about?