Visionaries and deep thinkers have walked the earth since the beginning of recorded time. Their guiding principles centered around evolution of consciousness toward wisdom. Increasing wisdom consciousness defeats the abstract societal label known as “average”. Simply stated, we are all born with potential to train ourselves to become smart people, instead of being complacently average.
Smart people are generally great achievers, successful in business and family and positive of mind. They have trained themselves to squeeze every drop of brain juice within, to make manifest their unique gifts and talents without.
In no particular order, let’s explore examples of smart people, some living and others dearly departed. People who realized their success mind through brain training, to rise above average. Consider this our little gallery that pays tribute to these and millions of other people, who saved lives, built fortune 500 companies and made their eternal mark on earth.
1. Lao Tzu – wrote the Tao Te Ching, which has been translated more than any book, excepting the Bible. He penned the tiny volume of 5000 words originally as a handbook for Chinese leaders. Many smart people today walk the Tao path, seeking to live authentically, according to their true character.
According to Lao Tzu, peace is an inside job. When we find our inner-peace, we are freed-up to detach from problems; to discover solutions. Alternately, the Tao leads outward to promote successful action. The Tao teaches that the whole of life is a process.
It is reputed that once you become mesmerized with the Tao Te Ching it becomes “your” book. Its essence will soak into your soul.
Lao Tzu, a man of profound vision, puzzeled over the mystery of creation and left the world 5000 words of his incredible wisdom.
2. Steven Paul Jobs – from unwanted child to entrepreneur, his fingerprints are indelibly stamped in time, as a technological genius.
When the biological parents gave their infant up for adoption, Paul and Clara Jobs adopted Steve. When Steve was a young boy, his adoptive father taught him to dismantle and reassemble electronics. This “hobby” acted as a valuable brain-stretcher, in areas of mechanical ability, patience and perseverance, which would serve Steve tremendously in later years.
Jobs, a super-intelligent overachiever, expressed early disappointment with mainstream schools. Although he completed high school, Steve dropped out of college, following the first semester.
In 1974, he traveled to India to seek spiritual enlightenment, where he resided in an Ashram to become a Zen Buddhist.
In 1976, Steve and a longtime friend, Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computer in a garage. They manifested their original goal by creating an inexpensive personal computer that people could easily learn to use.
During his tenure as CEO of Apple, Steve was praised as an engaging leader, consciously aware of each employee and every aspect of the company’s operation. Jobs never ask more of his team than he was willing to give, often working 90 hours each week.
Visionary, marketing whiz, inspirational leader, entrepreneur, perfectionist, Steven Paul Jobs departed earth on October 5, 2011.
3. Fred Harvey – a “rags to riches” real-life story. When Londoner, Fred Harvey landed in New York City, with $10 “to his name”, he was 15 years old. He started at the bottom, by washing dishes at an expensive restaurant, graduated to waiter and garnered knowledge about the restaurant business. Literally working his way to Kansas City, he carried a dream in his pocket, to own his own restaurant.
In order to accumulate funds, Fred started work for the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, as a freight agent. In the late 1800’s trains were home to varmints, such as flies, so that travelers carried their home food onboard. However, after consuming all the food they had brought with them, passengers had to take a chance with rotten food and week-old coffee at the scheduled lunch stops. Additionally, they were forced to consume their food quickly in fear of missing the train’s departure. Leftovers where re-served to passengers on the next train.
Fred observed the squalid conditions of railway travel. He realized that by serving quality food to journeyers, his dream of owning a restaurant would manifest. With the startup help of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, he eventually opened 84 Harvey House Restaurants in towns where the trains stopped for meals. Harvey is credited with establishing the first chain restaurants.
Things were progressing auspiciously for young Harvey, with the exception of lazy, drunken waiters who seldom showed up for work. Hiring responsible help in the Wild West was almost impossible. Never one to admit defeat, the innovative Harvey recruited “decent” women from the East, via classified ads. The “Harvey Girls” were born and became the Harvey House symbol of fast, friendly, efficient service.
In its heyday, the Fred Harvey Company owned hotels and lunchrooms in addition to the fine dining establishments. Fred Harvey, a visionary, entrepreneur, “founding father of American service industry” advocate for women, civilizer of Wild West, first marketer to utilize branding and a smart person will be long remembered.
4. Meryl Streep – has been touted as genius in the movie industry. Streep has won two academy awards, out of 16 nominations. This is the highest number of nominations for any actor/actress to date. She also is the record-holder of Golden Globe wins. In 2010, Meryl was awarded the National Medal of the Arts for drama services.
She is reputed as a perfectionist, who has a natural aptitude for speaking with accents. Meryl has established a solid reputation as an actress, producer and executive producer. Critics extol Streep a master of her craft.
Meryl is a humanitarian, who has donated her time and name to organizations such as research for AIDS and human rights. As co-founder of “Mothers and Others”, she is responsible for helping pass the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act that regulated food pesticides.
5. Philip Glass – Composer of a different kind stepped outside the accepted musical box to manifest his vision. Glass, who studied at Julliard and in Paris, was first known for repetitive style and frequently labeled “minimalist” or “drone-like”.
As the music grew inside him, Glass outgrew the despised label to compose operas, vocals, symphonies, concertos, soundtracks and instrumentals. Now, he is often referred to as “revolutionary” “controversial” and “provocative”. Whatever critics might determine, Glass is the most successful composer alive today.
Glass continues to perform with the Philip Glass ensemble and in addition, travels worldwide to perform solo on the keyboard. He is a living example of a smart person, who eschewed academia, to pursue his personal prodigious path.
6. Bill Gates – modern entrepreneurism would have been incomplete without the addition of this aggressive technological innovator. Dubbed socially awkward as a child, admittedly he “marched to a different drummer”. With his partner, Paul Allen, Gates is owner of the world’s most prominent software company, Microsoft. He numbers two in “Forbes” top 10 billionaires list.
Gates is a philanthropist of the greater kind. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation actively supports low-income populations, worldwide health and continuing education. He is one of the smart people, intrinsically aware of the Universal Law of Giving and Receiving.
7. Stephen William Hawking – is honored in our little gallery, as a smart person who relied on innate intelligence to override his severe physical adversity. As a youth, he delighted in taking things apart, but it is fondly said, he could rarely put them back together.
At age 21, Hawking was diagnosed with Motor Neuron disease, a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease. In order to speak, Hawking relies on an electronic voice synthesizer.
However, in 2009, despite almost total body paralysis, the British physicist won the acclaimed Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest United States award that a civilian is entitled to receive.
Physicist, cosmologist, and author of “The Universe in a Nutshell”, “A Brief History in Time” and “Black Holes and Baby Universes and other Essays”, Hawkings has earned his place in a universe he loves to examine.
8. Dolly Parton – remained in her truth when she placed #94 on the “100 Greatest Living Geniuses” list, by wisecracking, “A cartoon character is how I see myself and it’s worked for me for 40 years.”
We see her as a smart woman who rose above her humble raising, but remained humble to her Tennessee roots. Today’s Tennessee children benefit from Imagination Library that Dolly founded, which donates free books to underprivileged kids.
Dolly came from nothing and raised herself up with big hair, tight clothes and a song in her heart. Actress, singer, songwriter, like her song “Coat of Many Colors”, she is a woman of many talents. In 2000, Dolly became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
9. Michael Ellis DeBakey – medical pioneer in cardiovascular surgery, renowned surgeon, lifetime student, presidential advisor, mentor and all-around humanitarian. In 1969, he was awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a US citizen – Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1987. In 1992, DeBakey was introduced in The Academy of Athens, which is an honor usually reserved for Greeks that have made momentous offerings to literature, science or the arts.
He is praised for operating on princes, as well as paupers. Due to tireless research, he invented innumerable materials and procedures responsible for saving millions of people’s lives.
Acting in the honored role of medical statesman, DeBakey advised the majority of the previous 50 Presidents and heads of state worldwide. He published in excess of 10,000 articles and books about medicine, surgery and was a best selling author for “The Living Heart” series.
10.Mary Kay Ash – founder Mary Kay, Inc. and women’s advocate was achievement oriented. She built her Texas cosmetic empire from $5,000, a product she believed in and prayer. Ultimately, Mary Kay made it possible for women to measure their success through smart sales techniques and generous incentives.
The well known Mary Kay motto was: “God first, family second and career third”. An innovative thinker, she did not believe in territorial sales, instead she encouraged her consultants to set-up home parties. (Modeled after Stanley Home Products where she formerly worked)
Oft quoted that “People are a company’s greatest asset”, Mary Kay put her profits where her mouth was and awarded pink Cadillac’s, to top consultants, at annual sales meetings.
When this icon of womanhood retired, she founded the Mary Kay Charitable Foundation that endeavors to stop domestic violence and dually, endorses cancer research.
11. Thomas Edison – learned at an early age to question how things worked. As time went on, he became the epitome of a self-taught genius. Tom was introduced to the library at age 11 and he was off and reading.
As a young man, Tom lost all his hearing in the left ear and about 80% in the right ear. Additionally, medical experts of the day believed that he was learning disabled, due to speech impediments, decreased reasoning abilities and poor grammar. Whether or not this is true, we concur that Tom employed a different thought process than most people.
A good example of his “different” way of thinking is provided by the events surrounding his mother’s burst appendix. The doctor could not see to operate, so Tom put a kerosene lamp in front of a mirror in a manner that lighted up the room. It is believed this amazing idea also lighted Tom’s path toward inventing the electric light bulb.
People born with thinking-minds do not necessarily learn in a structured setting. They permit one idea spark another and feed off another. It doesn’t make them failures, as Tom’s teacher believed, it just makes them different and more often than not, brilliant of mind.
Brain Tools you can Use
We hope our gallery of visionaries and deep thinkers inspired you to treasure, enhance and empower the capacities of your miraculous brain.
Brain tools, such as learning a new language, working crosswords, meditation, subliminal learning CDs and critical thinking or by taking advantage of modern brain training software that modifies brain waves, serve to heighten and maintain our intelligence throughout our lives.