There’s a misconception that the most successful business leaders achieve greatness because they’re insanely smart—geniuses, even.
But the truth is different. Most highly successful leaders really aren’t the smartest people in any room. Rather, they have something that sets them apart. That something is sponge and stone. I’d argue that for any entrepreneur or leader, sponge and stone is the critical differentiator that defines his or her likelihood of success. (And I’d take success over smarts any day.)
In the business world, a sponge is someone who is tirelessly driven to seek and absorb new information. In general terms, this means someone who is highly curious, possibly even somewhat obsessive, about gathering data and learning from it.
A business leader must also be a stone. There are two main characteristics of stone behavior: First, these determined individuals aren’t the smartest people in the room, but they work harder than everyone else. Secondly, stones have incredible strength of conviction. They are tough-minded and believe in whatever they are pursuing or doing, regardless of the challenges, hurdles, naysayers, and failures they encounter.