Education is empowering, but grades and titles foster a silly competition over whose resumé is bigger.
That reminds me of Williamina Fleming, who became immortal in a very odd way:
Williamina was a Scottish woman in her early 20s when she found herself in quite a predicament.
She had moved to the United States with her husband, whom she had just married.
He left her as soon as they got there. Oh, and she was pregnant.
Returning to Scotland was not an option, so she started to work as a maid for Edward Pickering, an astrophysicist and director of the Harvard College Observatory.
Meanwhile, Pickering’s wife noticed that Williamina was far smarter than most maids. She told her husband, and soon after Williamina was doing administrative work at the observatory.
One day, Pickering was upset with his scientific assistant. He yelled at him:
— Even my maid could do this better than you!
It must have been a comical situation, she being there next to them, putting a “Hey, I’m here, y’know?” face.
But Pickering *actually* meant that Williamina could do the job.
He began to train her into the classification of stars via their light spectrum.
It was a massive load of work… so she was commissioned to assemble a group of women called the “Harvard Computers” to work on the project as a team.
To be clear, Williamina never had any formal education in astrophysics. And there she was, leading a group that included college graduates.
She won her own spot on astrophysics’ Hall of Fame. Among other things, she developed the star classification system still used today.
There’s even a huge crater in the moon, YES, the BLOODY MOON, named after her and non-related celebrity Alexander Fleming.
Quite a feat for any human being.
“But I don’t have a degree, I can’t do this”
Nope. That sentence never happened.
What happened is the simplest fact of human progress:
A problem was found, and someone was set out to SOLVE IT.
That’s all that matters.
And if you feel ‘absolutely qualified’ to do a job…
…THE JOB IS NOT BIG ENOUGH.
Every time I say something like this, I get a lot of cynics telling me I’m crazy.
But I hope you (Yes, you!) are not one of them.
I hope you can see through the veil of insecurity.
And realize that all that it takes is your will to solve a problem for others.
The hardest part? figuring out what bothers people. Most don’t want to accept they have weaknesses or problems.
Asking the right questions and spotting their body language is crucial no know what do they really need.
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Jesús Enrique Rosas
I unlock business leaders’ social skills.