On a February evening in 1953, two gentlemen named James Watson and Francis Crick have entered the bar and declared “ladies and gentlemen we have found the secret to life”.
They weren’t exactly exaggerating, because on that day they have cracked the code to a small finding.
And by small finding I mean one of the most important discovery since electricity: Our DNA Structure.
When being interviewed years later on their success, they told us why they were the ones who found it first. What they said was no short of amazing, but the final point they made was the one that shocked the world. They claimed that the major major reason they were the ones who found it before others were because they were NOT the smartest people in the room.
They claimed that the smartest scientist at the time was Rosalind Franklin, he too was looking to decode the DNA structure.
Rosalind was so intelligent that she rarely sought advice. And if you are the brightest person in the room, then you are in trouble.
Watson’s comment perfectly describe the problem we face today, a lot of us are so indulged in our own “smartness” and “wisdom” that we often blind ourselves from the solution by refusing to accept or seek advice from others. There are two dangers of being the best in the room:
1. You may neglect the fact that despite you being better at EVERYTHING, EVERYONE has his/her own strength. To get better results it’s often better to let 5 people do what they are best at compared to 1 really smart person doing everything.
2. You have hit the comfort zone and may stop growing because now you just compare yourself to others who aren’t as accomplished and feel good about it.
My mentor has always say that “if you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room”.
So my question to you is, are you the smartest person in the room right now? Have you stopped growing and challenging yourself because you are so indulged in your comfort zone? Is it time you seek a new room and challenge yourself?
Don’t ever stop growing!