Don’t Be the Smartest Guy in the Room

From my latest post at The Blazing Center:

I love being the smartest guy in the room, or at least thinking I am. It’s an ego thing. And of course that means it’s not a good thing. It’s not good to be the smartest guy, and it’s really not good to think I am. In fact, all my worst decisions in life have resulted from putting myself in this situation — thinking of myself as the smartest. It has never ended well.

That label “smartest guy” (or gal), whether it’s true or not, makes us vulnerable to our own weaknesses. When I think I am smarter than everyone else my respect for them almost automatically diminishes. I have made the valuation that I am above them, and this makes it easy to ignore their opinions and contributions.  Clearly any perspective but mine doesn’t matter. I become a council of one. And when this happens my weaknesses and blind spots are magnified because I have removed any checks and balances.

“Smartest” is a deceiving and nebulous term. It feels good to be called or to call ourselves, but it’s almost never true.We may be the most knowledgeable about a particular subject or the best at a particular activity, but we are never the best or most knowledgeable about everything. In any given room or on any given team there are people who have better insights, more knowledge, or greater skills than we do in different areas. To think of ourselves as “smartest” is patently false.

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Read the full post here.



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