The Value of Having a Brain Trust

by TTMK on April 22, 2013 · 5 comments

There’s a line of thinking that purports that we are the average of the 5 to 10 people we spend the most time with.  Our peer group can play a big role in influencing what we do, and to some degree perhaps even our success.  They can subtly bring us up a bit, or push us down somewhat, in different aspects of life.

They can also be a resource for us at certain times.  Of course it goes both ways, and I’m sure most of us would gladly be there to help out people with whom we are close.  When we need help, they can be there for us.

Now, some folks don’t believe in asking for help – in particular, advice –  thinking that it’s best to be purely independent while avoiding showing any weakness.  I think that’s nonsense!  We can learn from others, especially our peer group that knows us well.  If they’re talented in certain areas, it can be even better to ask for suggestions at times.

That’s why I think it’s important to have a brain trust (or mastermind group) as a resource to help you when really needed in certain situations.  Not necessarily regularly, but when even just one or two times a year when you want to get a few ideas on something, it can be good to ask a core group of people who know you and are knowledgeable about the topic of interest.

I recently had somewhat of a conundrum in terms of a certain professional situation that came up, and I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to handle it.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do, actually, but wasn’t sure that it was the best approach.  So, I called 3 people I knew – who I would call part of my own “career brain trust” – and got their opinions on what would be the best way to handle things.

The result? Well, I think I ended up with some good suggestions and opinions.  I found the advice helpful, and once again thought it was good to bounce a few things off people whose opinions I value.  This concept could be useful to people in different contexts, be it career, personal finance, relationships, health, or just about anything.

It’s not good to live on an island, figuratively speaking, and have excessive pride or ego that makes us really believe that we know better than anybody else.  We don’t, not all the time anyway!

My Questions for You

Do you have a brain trust, for any aspect of your life? If so, how has it come into play?

Do you believe in getting opinions from those you trust and have confidence in, or do you prefer to go it alone?


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

AverageJoe April 22, 2013 at 11:50 am

I love it. I’m the guy who always wants to go it alone, yet when I ask for advice, I perform much, much better. So, now I force myself to have a brain trust. It’s the best way to get it right the first time…and who has time to do a job twice?


TTMK April 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Average Joe – I know what you mean, who has time to do things twice! Learning from others and getting input in certain situations can be invaluable.


Untemplater April 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I used to be stubborn when I was younger and wanted to figure everything out on my own, especially at work, because I thought I’d be fine on my own. Luckily I realized how silly that was and now I ask for help all the time. There are always ideas or perspectives that I haven’t thought of and it’s encouraging having a brain trust to go to!


TTMK April 22, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I agree – and like the idea of getting a mix of perspective from those who think a bit differently that me, and those that have a similar mindset.


Scott @ Youthful Investor May 26, 2013 at 9:57 am

I like this idea. It reminds me of something like an investing group. This group of people could get together, hosted at some place (each person could take turns volunteering their house and food) that is not too comfortable but not too professional. To be honest, it sounds like a really great idea for getting things off the ground. The group could share everything they have personally been working on, successful and failures (they need to be friends comfortable with talking about these things) and then work on group projects. I could see some type of business even emerging out of it. The group could from some form of small corporation and set monthly contributions and eventually get a project off the ground. They could do a website(s), physical location, or an interesting alternative investment. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing it!


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