If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
I think we all feel comfortable when we know that our intellectual capabilities are on par with the people with whom we are socializing or meeting.
The comfort of allowing that to be your pattern, precludes so many opportunities to learn from another.
When I was a very little boy, my parents would allow me to come out and socialize with their guests. I remember that their guests never treated me like a child, never talked down to me, always took the time to genuinely communicate with me. Being an only child, it was an opportunity to connect with adults and learn.
I think one of the most powerful phrases in the English language is the following: “ I don’t actually know that much about that topic, I’d love for you to tell me more about it.“
Everyone wants to feel like they have special and unique knowledge and when they are asked that question (or some derivation of that question), they blossom. You can see it on their face instantly… as long as your question is genuine. If they sense that you really want to know what they are telling you about, there is a warm bond that is instantly created because you were giving them an opportunity to express things that they have learned or observed.
I would estimate that only 15% of the knowledge required to run the Illusion Factory and Sizzle ever came from school. Almost all of it came from talking with other people, respecting their intellectual superiority and genuinely admiring it.
The most powerful position you can possibly take in life is genuine humility. It is 100% irrefutable. Think about it. As soon as a discussion reaches that point where you don’t know the answer, you have a couple choices.
Most would try to bluster their way through an answer in order to potentially prove their intelligence. (and in many cases, thereby disprove it.)
Conversely, I think the right solution is to instantly own that you do not have that particular area of expertise and enable the party who just asked you the question to teach you what they know about it. They may not always be right or complete, but in all cases you have given them an opportunity to show how much they know and you have opened yourself to another free opportunity to learn.
I have made a living by being the most ignorant person in my company for 42 years. The benefit of this ignorance is the opportunity for me in any meeting to reveal that this is my modus operandi and explain that I have people far smarter than I, who will be able to make whatever I was just asked come to fruition.
With this one single formula, it has enabled The Illusion Factory to Conquer the unknown. Daily.
There is so much to know in life, no one could possibly have it in their mind. At best we all carry a tiny fraction whereas in the time of Leonardo da Vinci, he had aggregated a majority of knowledge and invented long beyond what anybody else had conceived.
And he was never allowed to go to school. Not even for one day because he was born out of wedlock. Knowledge is all around you, and it is so valuable, it is wonderful to learn how to harvest it efficiently. Happy Sunday🌞