‘If You’re The Best One In The Room, You’re In The Wrong Room’

‘If You’re The Best One In The Room, You’re In The Wrong Room’
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It feels good to be the best. You get recognition, a sense of accomplishment, and hopefully compensation. If you’re the best person in the room, though, you’re probably not getting challenged anymore.

Photo by Heisenberg Media

Personal finance blogger Emma Lincoln explains that if you feel like the worst in the room at what you’re doing — whether it’s your job or just working out at the gym — that means you’re surrounded by people you can learn from. Or, at the very least, people who can give you the rough lessons you need to get better:

Yes, it feels good to be good at something. To be the teacher’s pet. To dance at the front of your Zumba class. To hang out with people who admire you. To be the most responsible person at a party, or the most well-adjusted couple in your social circle. It feels good. But it won’t kick your arse. And an arse-kicking produces results faster than an ego-stroke.

Being the worst person in the room gives you motivation to get better so you’re not on the bottom anymore. However, being the top of your class probably means it’s time to move on to another class. No matter where you are, as long as you’re not afraid to challenge yourself, you can continue to improve and make yourself more valuable to the room.

Are You the Worst? [Emma Lincoln via Rockstar Finance]


  • I could not agree more!

    The couple times I was the top geek at an organisation, my skills all but stagnated because there was no one to learn from. And once you know what you’re teaching quite well, further teaching opportunities don’t enhance those tech skills, either.

    I *much* prefer being on the lower end of the totem pole. You get that chance to make quick improvement and wow people in your first 6-12 months, which in turn gets you fast-tracked with opportunities to work more with the people who really know what’s going on, and you just keep moving forward from there. Being willing to look stupid for the first few months is a small price to pay for the win that comes if you know how to learn and are willing to put in the work to do so.

  • Being the worst person in the room gives you motivation to get better so you’re not on the bottom anymore.

    Unless you’re an arsehole who’s happy to slack off while getting paid the same as the people doing the work.

  • This whole “If you’re the smartest/best/prettiest/whatever person in the room, you’re in the wrong room” mantra is the biggest load of crap. There will ALWAYS be a smartest person in the room, and guess what, if it’s you and you leave, the next smartest person will be the smartest person in the room and so on.

    And if you go into another room and are the dumbest, just wait five minutes because if everyone is following this stupid advice they’ll all leave eventually and then you will once again be the smartest person in the room. If we all followed this advice we would spend our lives constantly walking in and out of rooms.

    Here’s a thought, if you’re the smartest person in the room, pass some of that knowledge on before you leave.

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