One of the surest ways to get smarter is to surround yourself with those who are more intelligent than you and to insist on regularly stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone. If you’re just too smart for your current gig, that’s just not going to happen
Another way of saying the above is that if you are not stimulated by what you do for a living then you should be looking elsewhere. But of course in our current economy where so many people are underemployed being too smart for the job is too often the case. I hope the lessons like this article show is being taught to our young people in high school. But stretching your comfort zone is something that all of us should do. It shouldn’t be limited by age.
For those of you too lazy to click on the source I am going to give the three reasons here (or maybe I am too lazy to give you my own words ;) )
1. Problem, what problem?
Doing the same thing over and over again in the exact same way never taught anyone anything. If your co-workers are interested only in repeatedly treading the same well worn paths, then it’s unlikely you’ll start expanding your skills anytime soon, according to Ryan. “Your co-workers may be the nicest people on earth, but if they don’t understand what you’re talking about when you lay out frame-shifting ideas or if they can’t hold a conversation about anything except the way they’ve always done things, you’re in the wrong place,” she writes.
2. No one is mentor material.
It bears repeating: Hanging out with smart folks makes you smarter. If you look around and don’t see anyone you really want to learn from at your current place of employment, that’s a huge red flag. Ask yourself: “Whom do I spar with? Who stimulates me mentally at work? Whom do I look up to and learn from?” If the answer is, “No one,” it’s time to start plotting your escape, Ryan suggests.
3. No vision at the top.
It’s hard to progress if you have no idea what you’re working toward, and, unless you’re very far advanced in your career, that vision for your team, department, or company should come from the top. If instead you’re getting radio silence about where the organization is headed, then the scope for meaningful contribution is severely limited. “You can’t grow your flame working for someone who has no idea what a vision is or where to get one. You have to learn from your boss,” warns Ryan.
Just a few final thoughts here. Henry Ford’s assembly line created mass production but it also created a couple of generations of human robots. I was stuck in that mode for a few summers during college and the work was simply stifling to me. I was glad to leave it behind. The three problems above should also apply to our personal lives outside the workplace. If we followed them they would make us all better and more productive citizens.