Lesson 30: You are not as smart as you think you are

Don’t you hate it when someone talks to you in a way, about anything, and it is clear that they are not as knowledgeable about the subject as they seem to think they are?  You are not the only one.  I would be willing to bet that this is something you are probably guilty of as well.  It is ok to admit it.  I know I am.  Guess what!  No matter how smart you think you are, there is always room to learn more.  Just because you think you are the smartest person in the room, doesn’t make it the truth.  In fact, if you claim to be or act like you are the smartest person in the room, you have already proven you are not.  

The trick is, even if you are the smartest person in the room, the smartest move is to keep it to yourself.  I am not suggesting that you remain silent or keep your opinions to yourself.  I am of the opinion that the more you know about others, the better your chances are of creating a positive relationship with them.  All you have to do is listen and respond accordingly.  Believe it or not, the more you listen, the smarter people will likely think you are anyways.  It is doubly effective.  You learn more while simultaneously letting people know that you are smart enough to listen to what others have to say.    

There was a time when I thought I knew everything I needed to know, and then some.  I was fueled with confidence and was convinced that I had everything in life figured out.  I considered all of my life experiences, time spent with my nose in books, how many years I spent with my butt planted in classrooms listening to professors, and I would think about how no one could possibly know all the things that I know.  My experience in the military also played a factor in feeding the belief that my experiences out in the real world and outside the United States made me more knowledgeable about world affairs than most people wandering college campuses or working in offices.  In some ways, I was right, but that didn’t make me smart.  It most certainly didn’t make me the smartest person in the room.

In fact, when you think you are smart enough to the point where you have nothing left to learn from anyone, you just proved that you are as stupid as can be.  Everyone, no matter what position they occupy, has something they could teach us.  I don’t care if you are a triple Ph.D. recipient or an elementary school dropout.  There are always lessons to be learned.  A closed mind is a dumb mind.  There is always room for improvement.  The smartest thing you can do is let others take the helm in conversations.  You already know everything that you know.  Never pass up the opportunity to learn what others know.  Whether they are wrong or right, you are going to learn something valuable each and every time.

In relationships, confidence is attractive.  Any relationship.  Friends like to have confident people around them and so do significant others.  Overconfidence, on the other hand, not so much.  It is ok to not have all the answers.  It is the biggest part of the adventure that is life.  The journey to discovery.  I have yet to meet someone that was pleased to be by a know-it-all.  The vulnerability that accompanies not having all the answers lets people know that you are human.  The ability to admit you don’t know makes you more trustworthy.  Open your mind.  Open your heart.  Let the new information flow and absorb as much as you can.

It is important that you learn the difference between being confident and being cocky.  I get it.  Sometimes cocky people can be funny or amusing.  What is life with a few good laughs here and there.  Like all good things, it needs to be kept in check.  Moderation.  Too much of a good thing can truly be a bad thing.  To someone who is confident, it is not important how much schooling you have or even how smart you actually are.  It is about having the faith that you know you won’t always be right but there are few new experiences or information on Earth that are not of some value.


  1. Never assume you’re the smartest person in the room.
  2. The smartest person spends more time listening than talking.
  3. Life experiences for everyone differ.
  4. Learn the difference between being cocky and being confident.
  5. You already know everything you know.  Learn from others.


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