Why You Are Never the Most Important Person in the Room

Success isn't about YOU.

I tend to believe that a sprinkle of arrogance is a good thing.

I’m not talking about acting like a prick or an a-hole…

But rather the shoulders back, confident, collected, look you straight in the eyes sprinkle of arrogance that effortlessly radiates from someone who truly believes in themselves.

That’s a sprinkle of arrogance and it’s sexy and I’m into it.

Walking the Line

But there is a very fine line with kind of thing.

Embracing your confidence can lead to Drinking Your Own Kool-Aid.  If you drink your own Kool-Aid a little too often you just become a jerk.

And no one really wants to be a jerk.

Self-awareness is very important.

Remember it’s a sprinkle of arrogance… Nothing more or less than:

“I’ve been here before and know how to handle my business.”

When talking about success and especially success online it’s easy to get caught up in ME.

Success isn’t about YOU it’s a derivative of being all about everyone else.

Let me say that line again for effect…

Success isn’t about YOU it’s a derivative of being all about everyone else.

That means your customers, your friends, your family, your business partners and the clerks at your local gas station…

You’re Never The Most Important Person

This leads me to the actual point of this blog post…

You’re never the most important person in the room because you only know what YOU know.

Let me be less cryptic…

No matter how confident you are in what you know or what you can do or what you’re past accomplishments say about your ability to be successful in the future there is always someone in the room…

…that knows something you don’t.

…that has mastered a skill you have not.

…that has experience in an area you do not.

…who’s been featured in one more magazine article than you have.

…who’s booked one more speaking engagement than you have.

…that has one more hour of family time than you do.

The most important person in any room is the person you can learn from.

How does this transition to success online?

  • Read every comment left on your blog
  • Give fresh voices a chance to Guest Post on your blog
  • Respond to social media messages
  • Start and encourage discussion in social media spaces
  • Encourage the use of community tools like Google Hangout
These are just a few of the ways Online tools can help you learn from the TRUE Most Important Person in the Room.

The Rub

Confident people (think sprinkle of arrogance) have a certain way of walking into a room.  Truly confident, successful people don’t even realize they do this.

It’s almost as if they float in… Allowing relationships to happen naturally by seeking out those individuals they can learn from and asking questions.

But this doesn’t just take place in physical settings.

You learn from Most Important Person in social spaces as well.

And I encourage you do so.

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

SPEAK YOUR MIND:  How do you utilize Online tools to become a more confident version of yourself?

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  • http://patalexander.com Pat Alexander

    Stepped on a lot of toes, but they won’t notice. Great post.

  • http://www.internetentrepreneurconnection.com Hector Avellaneda

    Totally agree with you here ryan. I am on of those people (I think most self-starters are) that believes a little bit of arrogance is a healthy thing. Like you siad, the important thing is being able to find abalance or a ‘line’ sothat you dont come off as someone who is condescending or a ‘know it all’.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      If you don’t have confidence in yourself… Who will?

      Thanks Hector… Always appreciate you thoughts!

  • http://www.reallygoodwriting.co.uk Mike Garner

    Listen, listen, listen. The quickest way to marketing success.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      No doubt Mike!

  • http://www.petersandeen.com/ Peter Sandeen

    Hi Ryan,

    So true in business and so true in life. It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do; there’s always someone who can do something else better. And when you can aknowledge that (which – I know – isn’t always easy), you’re on your way to something greater :)

    Thanks for a really valuable business/life post.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Peter!!

      I’ve really been focused on the idea of Awareness lately. I think you can learn so much about yourself if you take time and do a self assessment.

      Ryan H.

  • http://www.allmarketingsolutions.co.uk Rana Shahbaz

    I am sure you have figured out the big secret of a successful business.

    If you can assure your customers that it’s not about us, it’s all about you (customers / tribe / community) then you are in luck :-)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Rana… I couldn’t agree with you more buddy!!


  • http://ryzeonline.com Jason “J-Ryze” Fonceca

    “Success isn’t about YOU it’s a derivative of being all about everyone else.”

    Ah, Ryan – home run bro.

    Confidently written :)

    Want some discussion?

    Just reading this post may encourage people to try and “nail that line” of confidence/arrogance… but is it really a line you can walk? The successful people do it naturally you said — doesn’t sound like something they practiced.

    Did they?

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      You make a very good point… I guess it comes back to two things…

      First awareness of self. Where are you? Over confident? Are you the prick?

      And this is the idea that I really wanted people to get… It’s OK to allow yourself to be Confident. That may sound strange but I think many people are very “Nice” and don’t want to offend or rub someone the wrong way. And they don’t allow their confidence to shine through.

      Does that make sense?

      • http://ryzeonline.com Jason “J-Ryze” Fonceca

        I think we’ve got to the heart of it. Society teaches that “nice” is being nice to society, but true “niceness” is being confident, taking a stand, and being true to YOU.

        Also, it sounds a lot like my 5 Stages Of Badass, which was created to help people’s self-awareness. http://ryzeonline.com/the-5-stages-of-badass

        Great chats on your blog, always 😀

        • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

          Being true to yourself is an amazingly complex and important issue… And I’m glad you attack that issue often!

          Thanks Bro!!

  • http://www.stevebaines.biz Steve Baines


    The truth was literally jumping off the screen at me! I loved loved loved your stuff here Ryan. You are absolutely 100000% correct. Confidence is not Arrogance. You can be confident, without being arrogant. The “best” people in the world (however you define that) are confident and humble. They know there is ALWAYS something to learn from EVERYONE you encounter.

    Thank you for writing such an inspiring post!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Steve!

      I’m so glad you connected with this!! An open mind to learning is one of the signs of true greatness. Being confident enough in yourself to understand that you can always learn from else is an amazing quality.

      As always appreciate you stopping by bro!!

      Ryan H.

  • http://outcareyourcompetition.com Jordan J. Caron


    Preach it brother!

    We can take this advice and apply it to everyone we talk to. We can learn from our customers and potential prospects and we can learn from our superiors.

    You must have an open mind to do so and you’ve given us plenty of reason!


    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks Jordan.

      Always Be Learning bro… The path to greatness.

      Have a great weekend!!

  • Meagan

    Super post Ryan! As far as utilizing online tools goes, I mainly try to use things that either help me to be more productive or help me organize. We are bombarded by information anytime we log-in online and more often than not, it leads to being overwhelmed. I try to use tools that help me to store information in an organized way so that I can come back to it anytime I need to learn something. For me, this helps me to continually increase my knowledge base and continue to learn and be more confident.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      It’s definitely hard to consume all the great information you come across exactly when you come across it… Having a place to collect it and come back helps your personal growth!


      Ryan H.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

    Thanks Jack! I appreciate that.

  • http://www.geekywriter.com Romy Singh

    Hello Ryan,

    Awesome post man. I really like the quote, “The Most Important Person In Any Room Is The Person That You Can Learn From.” And i would like to extend this thought a little bit more, The most important person in your life is person who brings improvement in you, makes you perfect. And you can find those person easily because you feel kind of jealous to all those type of persons. So next time when you feel jealous to anybody then think it like other way. You’re getting jealous because he is one step ahead to you and living the life that you always desire. So don’t waste your time in jealousy, invest your time in learning what step you should take to beat him.

    Thanks man, for such awesome post.. :)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Very much appreciate the feedback dude! I completely agree that you should not waste you time in jealousy…


      Ryan H.

  • http://allthingspondered.com david

    Words of wisdom Ryan. Another danger to having ‘more than a sprinkle’ is that people may want to take you down a few notches and ‘show’ you that there are things you just don’t know.

    I agree that more than a sprinkle is not good in a variety of ways. Self Awareness, as you said is critically important.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Self awareness is a gift and curse… But much more a gift!


  • Anton Koekemoer

    I do agree with you – There a proverb that states: “You are only as smart as the people you surround yourself with”. If you’re in conversation with someone and they’ve got years of proven experience more than you , you’re obviously not going to feel pretty smart – But when surrounding yourself with people who has a lot of inexperience then yes – you will not only feel but most likely be the smartest of them all.

    Arrogance is a good thing when you have the experience to back it up with – and in Business this a trademark one needs to be careful of overexposing – Because as you’ve said , You’re not always the smartest person in the room…

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Fantastic thoughts my man… And that proverb couldn’t fit anymore perfect with this article.

      Thanks for sharing!!

      Ryan H.

  • http://daily42.com Sylvia

    Hi Ryan,
    After reading your post, one person I know comes to mind, my cousin. He’s exactly what you have described here – he’s confident with a sprinkle of arrogance, yet he does not realize it himself and he bases his success with the people all around him. He even asks us questions regarding things he doesn’t truly understand, and he’s not ashamed to ask even the silliest and simplest of questions :)
    For those who don’t really know him that much, they think that he’s a jerk and so overly confident.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      That’s an important comment. If you aren’t careful you can rub people the wrong way. But I’d always rather have some affect on a person than No affect.


      Ryan H.

  • http://guideandnews.com Ehsan

    Great post Ryan, You are one of those person I learn from.
    Thanks for the post.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks for stopping by Ehsan!!

  • http://www.brentmkelly.com Brent Kelly

    Great title to a great post. I would love to have you guest post on my site. I learn from you and others every day. Kudos.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      That would be my pleasure! Shoot me an email…

  • http://mightywisemedia.com Eric T. Wagner

    Nailed it Ryan…

    And I would take it one step further — the most important person in the room is the person standing right in front of you!

    Drives me crazy. Fully engaged with someone. Dead in front of them in conversation. Yet their eyes are floating all around the room and they’re saying “hi” to every soul walking by.

    Zero understanding of the impact it is having on our conversation and relationship. Like to ring ’em around the neck, and not because I feel slighted. But because they are doing it wrong! Sheesh…

    Okay, I’m calm now.

    Thanks for sharing Ryan… and yes, thanks for letting me vent a little here… :-)


    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Thanks for your thoughts and this is the perfect venue to vent in so it’s much appreciated!!

      Ryan H.

  • http://www.ordersciencebooks.com Pete Goumas

    We could learn a lot from Social spaces and I am also trying to cozy with Google hangout. Thanks for explaining the fine line between a confident and a jerk :)

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

    Thanks Wade… Let me know how it works!!

  • http://www.vitalchats.co.za/ Wade Balsdon

    Great post. I think online and offline,it is easy to become intimidated by people whom we perceive to be superior to us by virtue of their experience, success or knowledge. This sprinkling of arrogance sounds like a good place to start.

    • http://benchmarkme.com Nicodemus

      yes indeed, the people with much and more experience, seems quietly often being arrogance. but i think it’s fine…:D