No one has ever delivered this insult about me in my hearing, but I have to think people have said it behind my back for years. Yet is it only half true. Sometimes I am the smartest guy in the room, but I never think I'm the only one with good information. Anyone jumping in, if they have something valuable, I am all in. Setting myself up as the arbitrator of what is valuable or not? Okay, that's where I likely step all over people.
Yet there is a deeper reason why this just isn't correct. Whenever I am the smartest guy in the room, I go looking for another room. I draw good information out of people who didn't know they had it, and I have assembled some very good rooms in my day. This site is an example. The average IQ here is Mensa level, maybe better. Trust me on this. And that is what has happened to me all my life. I have even made it happen at work in terms of the teams I have been part of. It was always deeply satisfying to have a visitor or covering shrink or a student say at the end "This has been a tremendous experience. I have never worked with a more stimulating team" and feel good that it it hasn't been me, but I have been a part of all this coming together. I don't consciously map it out, trying to eliminate Schuyler and inveigling Constance, but over time, I find I am just surrounded by exceptional people. Some are brilliant, some are wise, some are clever, some are experienced, but given enough time, I am not the smartest person in the room.
It is likely not a virtue, just another version of one of the ants wanting to make sure there is a continuing supply of mash, as I mentioned a few posts ago. Information in and information out is a physical need.