Don’t be the smartest person in the room
Something I learned from a smart mentor, don’t be the smartest person in the room.
- It means you will always be expected to have the answer. If you don’t have the answer then people don’t understand why you don’t know the answer.
- It makes people jealous of you. They don’t like feeling dumb, and if you make them feel smarter than you, they like that.
- It doesn’t help accomplish your goals. If your goal is to get something done, you have to find reasons that the decision maker thinks are important. Anything else is just vanity and a waste of time.
- It gets in the way of character. Plenty of smart people do terrible things. It is more important to be a good person and/or be funny so people can relate to you.
- When you are smart, you distance yourself from others. Other smart people are few and far between.
So even though I have glasses and sometimes perceived as smart, I don’t encourage this idea. As long as you are capable of handling problems, making people feel dumb doesn’t help anyone. I think the easy thing that smart people fall into is getting an ego from their ability. It is better to not deny that ability, but to use it instead to do socially useful things with it.
This is not a humblebrag. People have thought I was smart because my name Brian is very close to Brain. In school substitute teachers often said my name wrong, and the nickname stuck. So its not something that I wanted. I just wanted to be accepted and/or funny and kind. Plus if you have glasses people think you are smart. I think for these reasons people perceive me as smart sometimes.
You can’t control what people think of you, but you can be grateful and not hurt others with your abilities.
- Letting other people shine
- Stories from my Past: Sitting with the smart kids
- Does doing the Humblebrag cause resentment?
- Being fired is sometimes the best thing that can happen
- Dealing with difficult transitions