If you’re the smartest guy in the room – get out!

If you’re the smartest guy in the room – get out!

You too girl. Seriously.

I attended an event recently that was a ‘private gathering’ of some incredible people. Everybody spent about $10k to attend. Which was an interesting segmenting exercise to some degree. Anybody who can drop $10k on an event is in a special demographic- they make money. At least enough to attend this kind of event.

But what was really cool about this group wasn’t that they had some spare cash. It was that everybody there was intellectually gifted. I mean really gifted. And it reminded me of the old adage above. And reinforced the value of surrounding yourself with people who challenge you, confront you, and make you raise your game. (It also brought back the painful memory of my first ‘C’ at Stanford…when I discovered that I was no longer a big fish in my small pond…)

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You are. So look closely at those five people. And make a decision about whether they’re holding you back (easy to deal with- jettison them), pulling you down (same), or moving you forward (find more like them and keep raising the bar…)

It’s hard to let people go out of your life…especially if you don’t have any reference points. So- find a way to start expanding your horizons: SIG meet-ups, on-line forums, industry conferences (which often have tremendous student discounts,) are just a few ideas. Get uncomfortable and surround yourself with people who hold you accountable to what you say you’re going to do, who make you think about the other side of an argument, and who won’t blithely accept what you say as the ‘message from the mountain.’

If you’re a ‘C’ student- hang out with the ‘A’ students. It’ll change your view-point and probably change your GPA. It did mine.

If you want to change the world then you’re going to need a group around you who can help you make stuff happen in a big way. Start surrounding yourself with them now. Remember that if ‘one of your five’ isn’t actively moving your forward- they’re probably like carrying an extra 50 pounds on your trek up Kilimanjaro. You may not feel it at first…but you will… you will.

So- this event with Tim Ferris a couple of months ago – totally cool. Made a dozen new friends. All of them are smarter than me. And I really, really, like that.

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