“The smartest man in the room surrounds himself, in that same room, with people, who are smarter than he.” Attributed to Henry Ford
The largest egos can be at times associated with the smallest capacity to learn from others.
I love being in a room of very smart people.
Regardless of their socio-economic position.
Because…I want what they have.
Their knowledge…their understanding…their wisdom.
I read a lot of books on varied subjects.
I enjoy talking to people from all types of backgrounds.
I am smart enough to realize that I will never be an “expert” in any one field.
I also use the word “I” more than I should.
Because I know, when I am learning, that experience is…
I have resigned myself to be a sponge of information gained from various sources.
One of my favorite ways to open a conversation is, “Hi, I’m John. Tell me something I do not know.”
The defensive barriers go down.
The other person now knows I do not consider myself superior in any way.
They also know, that I know, they have a “contributable value”, that I consider important and worth obtaining.
And quite frankly, I learn so much with that simple introduction.
People are willing to share what they have spent a lifetime discovering.
You may be the highest ranking executive within your organization.
But, if you will set all ego aside, go seek out seemingly the lowest ranking employee within your organization, and say…
“Tell me something I do not know.”
You will be amazed at the results.
You will learn something, which is always a plus.
The other person will realize you are willing to reach outside of your sphere of influence to learn something from the masses.
By the way, the masses have the best information to learn from.
The larger the mass of people, the more that can be learned.
Accept the challenge.
Surround yourself with people smarter than you.
If they are smart enough, they will do the same.
Go find the employee, or the person on the street, that knows something you do not know.
Forbes Magazine, and it’s Publishers, who know a little bit about smart people, has the following quote in the opening pages, and has for years.
“In all thy getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7
Go find the room where you are not the smartest person…and soak it all in.