it’s sometimes said:

“if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

it’s not often this occurs, so i hope you’re sitting down for this… i disagree with seth. he asks: what happens if we go to a school where we think everyone is smarter than we are?

actually, it’s not good.

research in social science shows that many of the brightest people—students who would otherwise be in the top third of their class in any other school—suffer crippling feelings of inferiority and drop out when they attend elite programs. it’s called relative deprivation theory. we evaluate ourselves based on our immediate surroundings rather than on our place in the world at large. when we don’t measure up, we settle and move on to other enterprises.

i do believe if you’re not being challenged enough, you should speak up and demand something more. but progression takes time; there’s a process to raising the average. if you’re the smartest person in the room, find a different room—of course.

just make sure it’s the right room.