The Smartest Person In the Room

Hello.

I spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter. It’s my primary social network, being that I still don’t have a Facebook, though that may change soon. According to Wikipedia, Facebook was officially founded in February 2004, which would mean that Facebook and I have existed independently of each other for ten years, and I would be measurably okay with setting that record for myself. I’m tangenting.

I spend an inordinate amount of time on Twitter, and then you have that picture that floats around saying “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

I thought about this (as usual) and decided that it cannot be taken literally.

I mean, come on. This cannot possibly be true for every single person. If you measure by IQ or SAT scores, some people (Bill Gates, Marilyn vos Savant) are going to be the smartest person in every room they walk into and there is nothing the rest of us can do about it.

And even if you don’t measure by IQ or SAT scores, people like Bill Gates and Marilyn vos Savant are still going to be the smartest person in at least half of the rooms they walk into, and probably more.

BUT! But but but. It’s not the numbers, it’s the mindset. If you always consider that you have something to learn from everyone in the room, you will never think you’re the smartest person in the room. And, in truth, you never will be, because actually, no one is (Bill Gates included) because everybody else on the entire planet will always know something you don’t. 

So instead of saying “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room,” let’s say, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong mindset.”

If you consistently approach all the other human beings you ever encounter as though you have something to learn from them, you’ll probably do pretty darn well.

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