I continually make dumb mistakes. I used the word ‘infamous’ to describe myself in all my online bio’s.
Then, a fan who’s quite smart emailed me and is like “Tim, the word ‘infamous’ is the worst way to describe what you do.”
He realized that even as a successful blogger, I’m dumb at lots of stuff. I’m dumb with things like grammar, spelling and even at having a wide-ranging vocabulary. Pretty crazy for a blogger huh?
It’s moments like this that I feel blessed. I proudly announce all the time that I want to be the dumbest person in the room.
Definition of smart: someone who has done something that’s changed the world, helped a large number of people or is a proven expert in a certain field.
Here’s why you never want to be the smartest person in the room:
People smarter than you can see things you can’t.
I thought I was really smart a few years ago. I discovered Bitcoin and thought that I was going to profit off what I knew.
People smarter than me explained the Bitcoin price went up and down a lot, and it was the wrong time to buy.
They were right. My amateur investing brain would have caused me to lose money if I didn’t let people smarter than me see what I couldn’t.
These same smart people stopped me from buying a house in a good suburb as an investment because they could see that I was paying too much relative to other properties in the area.
My brain was obsessed with postcodes while the people smarter than me were focused on the mathematics of the investment (something I’m not good at).
Surrounding yourself with smart people allows you to have a second pair of eyes that have more experience than you in their chosen field of expertise.
Being the dumbest is a strength.
The more times you sit in a room with smart people, the more you learn. Truly smart people like to share their knowledge and appreciate someone who’s willing to be taught by them.
The phrase “You can’t blame them for trying” comes to mind. You had to probably influence people to get in that room full of smart people.
That took confidence and a belief in yourself and where you’re going to be.
That whole attitude and belief is a strength.
The dumbest people probably hustled to get in the room (that’s clever).
Being the dumbest guy in some rooms full of smart people is hard. Being in a room with people who’ve achieved at the highest level is not easy.
The dumbest guy in the room is often excluded from the room. That’s the elitist culture we live in. You have to hustle to get in the room with an Elon Musk, Richard Branson or a Tony Robbins.
These guys don’t just randomly invite anyone into their meetings. You have to work hard to get in the room with them. They have to believe in you even though you may have achieved nothing.
Being audacious enough to be in the room with smart people will stop you from being an under-achiever long-term.
Smart can often mean “Know It All.”
Not all smart people are good to be in a room with. Many of them think their shit doesn’t stink. Sometimes it’s good not to be the smartest person in the room.
Coming in as the so-called “dumbest person” can be a long-term advantage.
When I’ve been the dumbest person in the room, I’ve also been the most willing to grow and be proven wrong.
While everyone else is dropping job titles and letting their ego run the show, I’ve just been the humble dumb guy in the back taking notes — the quiet achiever you might say.
Being the dumbest allows you to be uncomfortable.
It’s not easy to be the dumbest in the room.
It can be quite uncomfortable when everyone else in the room knows what they’re talking about and you have to sit their Googling every second sentence they say (I’ve done this plenty of times).
Being uncomfortable is where you learn things you wouldn’t have learned in your normal environment. You get 10X the knowledge and gain it a lot faster because you’re out of your depth.
“The best way to get the job of the dumbest guy in the room is to offer to be the meeting notetaker”
The dumbest in the room is okay with failure.
Being the smartest can often make you afraid to fail. Smart people like to maintain their ‘smart status’ and so admitting failure or heading down a path that leads to a dead end is not always their first preference.
“Don’t underestimate the power of the dumb status”
Surrounding yourself with smart people raises your standards.
Hanging out with smart people forces you to raise your standards. If we assume they have mastered one area of their life to make them smart in the first place, then it’s plausible that they will raise your own standards in this area.
I’ve tried to make many dumb decisions during a business negotiation and people that are smarter than me have been able to show me much better tactics when it comes to problem-solving.
I’ve found that smart people I hang around are less likely to deal with my nonsense.
They’ve reached a certain level in their life and they want you to get there too — even though it may not be that obvious.
Being the dumbest in the room is aiming higher.
When we aim high, we enjoy being the dumbest person in the room.
The whole phrase “Dumbest in the room” is a metaphor for aiming higher than everyone else.
It’s not so much about being dumb or smart. It’s a distinction between the way two people think.
It’s a difference of experience as opposed to a test of human intelligence which is what it sounds like if you’re observing this article from a distance or being a critic of this article.
Being the dumbest is a choice.
No one is ever going to force you to be the dumbest person in the room. You may get lucky and be selected, but it’s unlikely. The gift of being in a room with people that are smarter than you is often overlooked.
Dare to dream.
Dare to think you could change the world one day yourself.
Learn from people who have the experience you lack.
This article was originally posted on Medium