Roosevelt on Discussing Ideas, Events, and People

I’ve been thinking about the kind of discussions that I and other entrepreneurs enjoy since I read this quote from former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt:

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

Roosevelt was blunt in her characterization of discussions that don’t revolve around ideas. To be fair, people are free to discuss whatever interests them. For some that’s events and others it’s people, and that’s okay. But I get what she’s alluding to about the discussion of ideas. I’ve experienced the power of conversations about ideas many times, and I’m always blown away. Conversations that energize me and other ambitious people I’m close to always revolve around ideas and the sharing of knowledge. They can last for many hours and regularly go off in unexpected directions. I’m always fired up after I’ve had a great conversation that exposed me to unfamiliar ideas and concepts.

The process of being educated via discussions with people I respect is energy to me. It adds fuel to the fire in my belly and sparks creativity. I think these conversations align with my desire to learn and better myself. Hearing about interesting new ideas causes me to focus intensely. I immediately want to learn more and figure out how to incorporate the ideas into what I’m working on.

Roosevelt, who was born in 1884 and died in 1962, figured out something that has stood the test of time. Discussions about ideas are powerful and energizing for ambitious people who have a thirst to learn and better themselves.