suc·cess: (n.) The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted

Maximizing Your Potential: Using Your Brain to Think

The Chicago Times once printed that Henry Ford was an ignoramus. Mr. Ford sued, challenging the paper to prove it.

The proof was attempted in court. During the trial, Mr. Ford was asked a series of simple, general information questions, such as,

* Could you name the Presidents of the United States?
* When was the Civil War?; and so on.

Mr. Ford, who had little formal education, could answer very few. Finally, in exasperation, he replied, "I don't know the answers to these questions, but I could find a man in five minutes who does. I use my brain to think, not to store a lot of useless facts."

A similar story is told of Albert Einstein. Someone once asked him how many feet are there in a mile. "I don't know," he was reported as saying. "Why should I fill my head with things like that when I could look them up in any reference book in two minutes?"

Both of these men, giants in their respective field, knew what every good leader learns sooner or later: that the ability to get information and act on it is what gets things done.

As one business leader recently put it, "I want people around me who can solve problems, not recite facts."

History is filled with many instances where individuals, many without a high school diploma, became successful businesspersons because they knew how to gather information they lacked and they acted on it promptly. They are, whether living or deceased, examples of people who know how to maximize their potential and did. What are you doing about yours?

Remember: When you maximize your potential, everyone wins. When you don't, we all lose.

Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer, conducts seminars, lectures, and writes articles on his theme: ... helping you maximize your potential. He offers a free health survey at; and free state tourism guides at Reach him at

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