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You Should Always Try To Be The Dumbest Person In The Room

By the way – that’s not my phrase.  I don’t know who said it first. Google doesn’t help – it’s been repeated a LOT of times.

But it is some of the best advice I’ve ever heard, and I wanted to be sure that you heard it as well.

Being the dumbest person in the room is excellent advice for a number of reasons:

  1. You open your life up to the wonders of curiosity: by looking for what you don’t know, you get to discover more. Discovery is beautiful. If you’re with a crowd of people, or even just ONE other person, look at what they know that you don’t know, then learn from them.
  2. It forces you to surround yourself with experts. This is smart if you’re an employer, or if you’re a student. If you’re an employer, then you want to have the very best people on your team: people who know their role better than you could ever know. If you’re a student, you want to learn from the very best.
  3. It enforces humility, which is maybe the most important and overlooked part of this advice. You’ve probably heard of the Socratic Paradox: “All that I know, is that I know nothing” Remind yourself of that on your journey of learning.

There are a number of practical ways that you can make yourself the dumbest person in the room:

  1. Swallow your pride and hire people who are smarter than you.
  2. Ask yourself at every juncture: what can I learn from the person that I’m speaking to?
  3. Join mastermind programs and attend training courses delivered by true professionals.
  4. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone by forcing yourself to hang out with people who are “out of your league” or “playing at a different level.” Become comfortable with discomfort.
  5. Read voraciously with a true thirst for knowledge. Go into every sitting secure in the knowledge that you don’t know what’s coming on the next page.

When you admit your ignorance, it sets you free.  You become hungry for knowledge and humble.

I try to practice this every day, and you should, too.

P.S.  Keep learning … but always be the dumbest one in the room.

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