Would you please pass the wisdom?

Courtesy Photo

Several bits of sage advice have come my way lately.

If you keep your eye on what is happening in our community you may be aware it is Hispanic Heritage Month.

Richard Montañez was the keynote speaker at the Hispanic Business Achievers Awards Luncheon, held by the Tyler Hispanic Business Alliance.

Montañez is a marketing and sales executive for PepsiCo North America. Among his achievements, he is the creator of flaming hot Cheetos, one of the company’s most highly sold products.

He shared many insights from his life with the audience, including the day he was forced to get on a bus and travel across town to a new school when his district was integrated.

When it came time to have lunch, he said, the other kids all took out bologna sandwiches and chips while he pulled out a burrito. He said he told his mom he wanted a bologna sandwich in his lunch the next day, but instead she sent him to school with two burritos. He sold the extra one for 25 cents, and by the end of the week had a cottage industry going selling burritos to his classmates.

The moral of the story he shared is that he was not created to fit in but instead he was created to stand out.

He went on to emphasize that intelligence is valuable but wisdom is preferable. He said he would prefer to discover “how you are smart” rather than “how smart you are.”

Montañez rose from being a janitor in his company to a top marketing position in the company.

He is clearly wise.

Another nugget of wisdom a group of our staff encountered at a recent conference came from an impressive young woman with ambiguously brown and purple hair.

The presentation was on selling new technologies. When asked for the qualities she sought in people to sell the products, she replied, “We hire for character and train for skill.”

Again, wisdom prioritized over intellect.

These analogies are stunning in light of the conventional wisdom we are inundated with -- from requirements to enter college to companies that place thresholds of hiring based on grade-point average. Some companies such as Google are said to require a minimum GPA of 3.5. How many wise people are they missing due to such a policy? Could such companies suffer from a glut of intellect? Think about it.

Then last week we had the spectacle of our president challenging the world to blindly accept that his results on an IQ test would easily outpace the results of his handpicked secretary of state. The secretary of state did not speculate publicly on the outcome of such a contest.

Did anyone speculate on which of the men possesses the most wisdom?


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