One of the easiest ways to get incredibly smart really fast is this – seek out people that are experts on a subject and ask them to explain what they know to you – if they start explaining it in really big words and technical terms stop them and ask, “Can you do me a favor and dumb that down for me?” What you’ll find is that the people who truly are experts are able to take all the complex knowledge they have gained over the years and simplify it down to something easy enough for anyone to digest. That’s how you’ll be able to know they really are an expert.
If you ask an expert to dumb something down for you and they can’t, chances are they aren’t as expert as you may have believed..that’s why their description seems so complex. As Albert Einstein said:
“You don’t really understand something unless you can explain it to your Grandmother.”
What’s awesome about that is that in being the one to ask others to dumb it down for you is that you’re going to get the benefit of all that persons expertise that likely took them years to learn, in just a matter of hours or even minutes. You’ll get smarter brilliantly fast! The other thing that’s nice about asking someone to dumb it down for you is that what you are really doing in asking that way is paying tribute to them by telling them you recognize how intelligent they are, which makes them feel important, and the more important they feel the more apt they are to share what they know more freely.
Now if you happen to be the expert people are coming to, if in your responses you find yourself using a lot of three plus syllable words that people need a dictionary to define, that’s a pretty good indicator that you may be struggling to grasp the subject matter yourself and it may be time for you to approach an expert and ask “Can you do me a favor and dumb this down for me?”
Does asking someone to dumb it down indicate that you are dumb? No! It makes you a GENIUS! Because you get to be incredibly smart really fast 🙂 … and nothings more genius than that!
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )