Many think that you should strive to be the smartest person in the room, but Steve Davis, CEO of the real estate investment coaching platform Total Wealth Academy, believes this is a myth. “I want to be the dumbest person in the room, not the guy who knows everything they’re discussing,” says Davis. “If you know more than everyone else you’re around, what is there for you to learn?”
In his years of experience, Davis has noticed that the real estate industry is governed by money, but having money means nothing about your capacity for self-education or personal growth. “You may have been born into money, or fall into money suddenly and not know what to do with it,” he explains. “I’ve seen people with $100 million in the bank that don’t really know how to run a business.” Indeed, it seems the days of “it takes money to make money” being the leading philosophy are over.
Letting go of your ego
Davis says that one of the most important things anyone can do to achieve success is to let go of their ego. Perseverance is one thing, but thinking that you are infallible is another entirely. “The most successful people can look at what they are doing and know if they are not getting the results they want,” says Davis. “You have to keep an open mind and understand that there may be a more effective way to do things.
The difference that even just putting yourself among successful people can make on your own success is significant. Seeing like-minded people pursuing the same goals as yourself — and having done so successfully — can inspire you in your own quest to achieve similar results. Furthermore, you can learn things from those who are smarter than you, helping to further push you along down the path towards success.
One major caveat about success is that many people don’t realize that everyone defines it differently. If you decide that you are a failure by comparing yourself to someone else’s standard of success, you may be undermining yourself. It’s all about results, and if you are getting the results you want, why are you defining yourself as a failure based on someone else’s goals and experiences?
Davis argues that the most “successful” people are not the wealthiest or those who meet whatever arbitrary criteria society has deemed as “success.” Instead, they are the ones most willing to learn new things. It’s not about comparing yourself to someone else — it’s about reaching your own goals and realizing your potential.
“If you hit a point where you know more than everyone around you, find somewhere else to be,” Davis asserts. “There is always someone, somewhere, that you can learn something from, and that process of constantly learning is what will push you towards success. If you have nowhere to learn, you have nowhere to go — and you always want to go up.”
As Davis explains, when you find yourself reaching this plateau, you must continue learning and setting higher and higher goals for yourself. If not, you will begin to coast. This only leads you to move downhill towards stagnation and complacency. It might be easier to settle into this rhythm where you stay at the same level, but in order to continue learning and growing, you have to continue challenging yourself.
Challenging yourself means embracing other leaders who are thinking differently than you. Once you stop defining success by the amount of money someone has, you begin to realize that anyone can be more successful than you, and that you can always learn something from them. True success is taking this knowledge to heart and using it to help you achieve your own goals.
In their search for success, today’s leaders need to recognize that the responsibility is on them to set their own standards and goals they hope to achieve. Success is not about comparing yourself to other people and their accomplishments, but instead making strides towards achieving the results you are looking for. Becoming the dumbest person you know doesn’t mean not accomplishing your goals — it’s placing yourself amongst other people who are achieving their goals, and whom you can learn from. Taking such steps will better help you achieve your own success.