David Axelrod spoke with Van Jones on an episode of his podcast. I found the entirety of the conversation engaging. However, my ears perked up for one segment in particular. Jones, who comes from an unprivileged background in the South, recounts the wisdom his father transferred to him right before he began studying at an elite law school:
There's only two kind of smart people in this world. There's smart people who take very simple things and make them sound very complicated to try and impress everybody. And there's smart people who take very complicated things and make them sound very simple to try and help everybody. You come back in my house, you better be that second kind of smart guy.
I'm committed to the life-long project of learning. The wisdom Jones passed along clarifies the aims of that project: learn and then share with others. Knowledge should not exist in a vacuum.
I know that I'm sometimes guilty of trying to make something simple complicated. But I'm striving to be that second kind of smart person, one who invites others in to whatever discovery I've stumbled upon. What kind of smart person are you? Or, more importantly, what kind of smart person do you want to be?