Episode 151 - The Right Room
The Thursday Thesis – 16/5/2019
One of my mentors once told me "...always aim to be the dumbest and poorest person in the room."
A few days later, at a property investment conference some dear friends had taken me to, I was doing exactly what my mentor had told me to.
Looking around the room I could see at a few dozen millionaire entrepreneurs and property investors, five best-selling authors, and scores of people already on the road to financial independence and their own personal version of success.
And there's me, dragging around a ton of negative baggage from a difficult childhood in the rough end of town: I knew - and I suspected everyone else in that room knew - that I was by far the dumbest and poorest person in the room.
So, I was certain that this was the right room for me.
I stayed put, listened hard and took good notes...
And last week I knew, beyond the faintest shadow of doubt, I was in the wrong room. Within a few minutes I began to suspect I was in the wrong room and after ten minutes I was getting itchy to leave. Finally, after listening to the presenters waffle on for 45 minutes they began to fumble embarrassingly with their equipment. I picked up my notebook and walked out.
Why do we stay too long in the wrong rooms?
Part of us wants things to get better; we want to be polite and not “rudely” vote with our feet, and it is human nature to want things to stay the same.
Everybody moves into and out of a variety of “rooms” every day – work, meetings, shops, bars, restaurants, sports halls, and so on. Because humans are social chameleons, we subtly begin to adopt the mannerisms, language and behaviours of the other people in the room: we become like the people we associate with, don’t we?
Doesn’t it make sense to hang around with people who are better than us in the aspects of our lives we’d like to improve?
If you want to become expert at something (I will naturally suggest that this might be playing the guitar) get in a room with an expert teacher who can break the learning process down for you and reduce the amount of time it will take you to get where you want to go.
Suppose you wanted to write a book - how cool would it be to spend time around successful authors, talking about the craft of writing? Imagine them describing their processes for generating characters, bolting plot elements together, making characters speak with an individual voice, and discovering your authorial voice...
And that’s my point: we all drift in and out of different “rooms” throughout our day – usually without giving it a single thought – osmotically absorbing the norms and behaviours of the other people in each room. So how useful might it be to weigh-up if we are in the right room as we move through our days?
© Neil Cowmeadow 2019
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