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Smartest Person in the Room

These two. So much love. Earl on the left. Grey on the right. They're pretty certain they are smarter than me.
These two. So much love. Earl on the left. Grey on the right. They’re pretty certain they are smarter than me.

Do you ever get frustrated because you are so certain that if a company would just hear you out, you could rock their world? Make things better? Help them give customers what they wanted? (on and on)

One of the wondrous things that happened with social media was that it felt like normal people got a voice in what companies did. If enough normal people spoke, a company would cave in to their demands. Right?

Well, that’s kind of backfired on us, because social media soon became a weapon used by anyone who had an issue with anything and companies finally did what comes naturally – ignore the garbage.

Oh, if I could just get Amazon to pay attention to me, I could FIX a ton of things … you know, those things that I have an issue with. Seriously though, I have some recommendations here, folks. It wouldn’t take much. (LOL)

We each believe that, based on our needs and desires, we know what is best for everyone else. We are absolutely positive that we have everyone’s best interests in mind and could change the world for the better.

One evening years ago, a friend and I sat down and worked out an entire plan for excellence in government. We were absolutely sure that our way was the right way. The best way. The only way that our country could continue to grow and be healthy. Funny thing is, twenty-five years later, our plan was never put into place (duh) and while things aren’t perfect, our plan was a bit unnecessary. That was actually a good lesson for me … taking the long view now. What I continually discover is that the only room where I am the smartest person there, is the room where I am by myself (okay, maybe my cats, but even then, who knows?).

I fired off a heated letter to a company that had been deteriorating in its customer service and delivery. A company that I love and believe in. I took the time to print out and mail the letter. The things I wanted them to understand were bigger than just a heated email. I stand behind everything I said in that letter. But I ended the letter by admitting that what I was seeing was one person’s perspective – mine. It’s an important perspective to me, but not necessarily to them. I see one tree, they look at the entire forest. But it was important to me that they realized that tree was in trouble and might be part of an epidemic.

I’ve fallen in love with a new television series and when I went to their FB page this evening, I saw hundreds of self-important, smartest-people-in-the-room know-it-alls telling the FB page over and over how the series was dragging this season and the characters were boring. These people offered their ideas on how to fix things – to their satisfaction – from only their perspective.

And yes, there were plenty of others who hopped on the negative bandwagon. You know … that’s where the biggest party is. Every time. If there is negativity to be had, people drop in line pretty quickly. But that’s an entirely different line of thought.

One of the things I’ve learned is that the smartest people in the room are actually those who refuse to open their mouths in order to prove what they know to be right. Understanding that their perspective might actually not be the only perspective allows them to see a bigger picture. When the time comes, they are sought out for their wisdom and advice and it is sound, not reactionary.

Proverbs (both Biblical and secular) are filled with warnings about remaining silent. Fools speak quickly, wise men hold it in until the time is right.

These next few months are going to be filled with foolish speech. Our tendency is to react, knowing that we’re smarter than everyone else … when in truth, we only speak from our perspective. Recognize and accept that … and you will be smarter than most everyone else.


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