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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gurus

I had contact with a “guru” recently and it made me realize how rare it is to find someone who really knows what they are doing in this world of “specialists.” All of us occasionally have the good fortune to interact with a genuine guru and we should all keep track of these special people and pass them on to those who need them. Knowing a guru has a lot of benefits, not the least of which is that it enhances your prestige to know of one.
Defining “gurus” is kind of twicky. Experts, specialists, and authorities are all synonyms for gurus. I run into “experts” every day…and it seems like everyone is an authority on something. Sages or maharishis (also synonyms) get a little closer to what I mean when I talk about gurus. To me, they are very special people who have a special gift of knowledge and almost unique talent in a particular field of endeavor.
(You will have to excuse my home improvement metaphors, but a big part of my life is devoted to several of these projects these days.) If you think it is problematic defining a guru, it is really difficult finding a leak in a roof! The roof of my wife’s parent’s house in North Carolina developed a leak that had become an ongoing subject of speculation and trial for more than a year. When we were down there lining up contractors for construction work, five of the contractors gave us their opinion about what needed to be done. Lots of trial and error, no fix.
Then I called the “roof guru” we knew from a previous job. He came, waved me off so he could look by himself, and in a few minutes he got his ladder and a caulking gun, climbed up on the roof, came back down, and declared the leak fixed. Two days later a severe rainstorm confirmed the fix. It took 30 minutes (if that) and $40.
Everyone should make a list of the gurus they know (for me it is a short list) and pay close attention in the New Year so you can add to it. Interaction with your network should help.

2 comments:

Dick Davies said...

New word: Twicky! Like it!

I'm always looking for gurus and categorize the ones I like. They are less than 2% of the people I meet.

Some make a career off me.

Jack Gates said...

Joe:

I had an uncle who was a guru - he'd face a fix-it or building problem by taking a seat, crossing his legs, and just stare at the problem area. After a few minutes, he'd get up, grab a few tools and supplies and fix it better than it was originally. He could fix anything - and did.

I understand how difficult it is to define this characteristic.