Dumbest smart person in the room

in philosophy •  last month

Were you the smartest person in the room today with people hanging off your every word hoping to find one gold nugget, that pearl of wisdom, that will change their lives irrevocably? I ask rhetorically of course, a point I should not have to make clear, although in this hubris-loaded egotistical world in which we live I feel the need to do so. Anyway, the smartest person in the room…I’m not it. Well, I figure it depends who is in the room although even should the room be full of people less intelligent, savvy or switched on as myself I still would never represent myself as the smartest person there. It wouldn’t feel comfortable and has no real benefit.

I know people who would though, people who have a feeling of greater importance, exude it, in some imperious and pretentious manner, to those around them as if to hammer the point home, put others in their place and generally increase their better than thou feeling even further. They feed their own ego’s and narcissistic requirements, and often fuel other people's scornful thoughts towards them in the process.

I understand that there are people out there who really are more knowledgeable than the others in the room…Say, a University Professor when compared to a year one class, an instructor with new recruits or a tradesman teaching a group of apprentices however there’s a difference…Those people are not there to lord it over the room generally, just impart their knowledge in a training environment.

Those I refer to are different. The person you meet at the sales conference who looks down on others in the room, the person at the networking event who talks the most, and loudest, ensuring everyone knows of their achievements or accolades they have gathered; Their magnificence. They don’t listen to other people, accept their opinions or thoughts and talk over them. They fail to entertain any ideals but their own or show no patience towards others. They preach rather than discuss and debate and are never wrong. (At least in their own estimation anyway).

I met one such person yesterday at a work event and it left me feeling both annoyed and fortunate. Annoyed because I had to waste my time with this person; I was cornered and due to my work-function (purpose for being there) I didn’t have the ability to extricate myself. Fortunate because I am never that person…And that I eventually managed to palm him off to someone else and seek better company.

Someone once told me that ”if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” It makes a little sense right?. If I wanted to progress, learn and develop it makes sense to be surrounded by those who may assist in that endeavour rather than be the smartest person in a room (situation) that inhibits my progression...But makes me feel comfortable. Change rooms though, and the possibilities change with it. When I say rooms here I mean surroundings…Influences and influencers, not physical rooms. Also, it doesn't mean I don't have time for other's and their development, I refer to mine in this case though, or that of someone seeking to improve upon themselves.

The importance of surrounding oneself with the right influences, (situations, activities and events that influence positively), and the right influencers, (people that influence positively), cannot be overstated. Reap what you sow I guess…That old chestnut.

For those who want to feed their ego, rather than their development, portraying oneself as the smartest in the room may have some short-term value but, in the long-term, progression can only be stunted. For those who want to progress and develop the journey needs to be somewhat different. It’s like most things in life…Decisions need to be made and acted upon and if a person has the discipline to hold their ego and hubris in check they’ll be more open to hearing and assimilating information from outside sources. That person will be more widely accepted also, I’m certain.

Is that person in the room really the smartest? Whilst they are talking, self-promoting and self-celebrating are they learning, endearing themselves to those around and developing positively? Hmm, maybe it’s those listening and observing doing the actual learning; ...Learning what not to do, who not to be. OK I get it, maybe that person doesn’t want to learn or develop any further…Sure, that could be legit…But is there really anything to gain in lording over others in that way? Please enlighten me if there is people. I mean other than self-satisfaction and a little fuel to feed the ego-fire.

We see this sort of behaviour daily. It’s in real life at our workplaces, social gatherings, within family units, sporting clubs…It’s also on Steemit. It’s easy to deal with on the platform though. Simply unfollow or mute. In real life it can be a little more difficult as we are often thrust into situations we can’t get out of and as a result get cornered by these so-called smarter people.

I’ve always gained better value by applying a little humility, patience and understanding to my business dealings rather than present myself as a know-it-all. I’ve found it builds layers of value, trust and respect and from that position my message carries more weight, my product more value and relevance or my own personal-worth/value become's more attractive to others. It also feels good inside.

An example of this may be a person (person A) at a party talking to another. Imagine if he was arrogant and brusque, didn’t allow the person to speak, talked only about himself and his own opinions or deeds, ignoring the other person’s and showing no interest at all…Do you think that other person would leave thinking how nice person A was and that he may be worth meeting again? Hmm…Maybe, but probably not. He'd probably think, "what an asshat."

On the other hand the same person A is courteous, shows interest and listens, asks follow-up questions and shows, through body language, that he is genuinely interested and engaged. He discusses or debates rather than preaches and tells and doesn’t feel the need to be right all the time, or to show off. I think there could be a distinct difference in the result.

So…That person I met yesterday, A typical "person A"… I flipped their business card in the bin on the way out and hope never to run into them again although in my role it’s likely I will. The lesson? Well, don’t get cornered by people like this I guess! Seriously though, I think the take-away is that being confident, but humble and personable, is preferable to being arrogant and egotistical. There’s nothing wrong with being smart, knowledgeable, wise or even in being right…It’s how one packages and delivers that to other’s that really matters.

Think about it here on the platform. A user could have some really interesting and valuable information to share but if it’s shared in the wrong manner its value becomes diminished and, of course, so does the respect that person may enjoy from other users. Wouldn’t it be better to show one’s intelligence, or make one’s point, in a manner that maintains integrity and respect? I think so anyway. I think every Steemit user who has been around for a while can find an example on the platform where this ethos could apply.

Anyway, that’s my few-cents worth today. Someone may find some value, or not.

Design and create your ideal life, don't live it by default - @galenkp

P.s. If anyone wants to hit me up on Discord: @galenkp#9209

Im srce

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Arrogance comes from a place of very low confidence. Like the guy who takes out a huge loan he can't afford to buy a Ferrari to look rich. Discerning whether somebody is arrogant or confident; pretending to be wealthy or actually wealthy; just means looking at the way he treats others. If he's building other people up, its confidence; if he's tearing them down its arrogance.


Nicely summarised. I completely agree.

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Sorry, I just blanked out after the first few lines. I mean, duh, of course I was.

I have very little tolerance for people who behave like this and if I ever find myself in their company, I take great pleasure in proving they're wrong. I mean, really, arrogance on anyone else but me is just ridiculous, don't you think? ;)

I think you can always learn from someone. Even from people you consider dumber. However, I don't think it's a healthy mentality to keep comparing yourself to others. You'll always find you are not the best and if you live by those comparisons, it will get ya down...

That's how I imagine it would be, at least. Not that I'd know, of course.


Everyone does things differently I guess and most receive a harvest commensurate to what they previously sowed.

Re: Comparing oneself against others? The only person a person should measure themselves against is their own best version .

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It take patience to deal with these types and often have to given their “place” but I can definitely say that listening and knowing how to filter the information is a great ability to have in these cases. It could save plenty of time and money!

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Information from all sources can be valuable depending on how it's brought on board...Even if it's learning behaviour to avoid.

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