There is a fantastic situation you can sometimes find yourself in quite by accident, and that is being the person who barely knows anything about a topic in a room full of people who know literally nothing about it. You can also engineer this situation pretty easily – just find a subject that no one around you knows anything about and learn about it a little.

Why is this such a great scenario? Because the knowledge gains you can make in a short period of time are incredible in this circumstance.

Let’s say you and 9 friends go on a fishing trip. You know a tiny bit about fishing, and everyone else has never caught a fish in their life. You all decide you want to give it a shot and have some fun anyway, though, so you’re off to the lake! Now here’s what will happen – despite the fact that you know next to nothing about fishing, your friends all know literally nothing about fishing, so to them you’re still the expert. So they’ll ask you a million questions every time they come up against something they don’t know. And you’ll be slightly better-equipped to figure out the answers than they will be. So assuming you aren’t a jerk, you’ll be solving problems left and right – far faster than if you were limited to only the problems you encounter yourself.

It’s like practice by proxy.

You will get good, and you will get good fast.

I’ve seen this happen a lot in a business environment. I remember once taking a sales team I was managing and giving them all iPads for the first time as a sales tool. Out of my dozen or so team members, all but one had never held an iPad before, and one guy had used one maybe twice. But by the end of the day, he could practically work at the Apple Genius Bar, because he’d fielded every single question everyone had about setting up their device, etc. and in so doing had learned an enormous amount.

It’s easy to dismiss. It’s easy to say “look, I don’t really know any more than you, so go find an actual expert to ask.” But honestly, these will be level-one questions, nothing so difficult you couldn’t figure it out. And if you let your tiny amount of experience give you the confidence to stand up, lead, and tackle those problems, you’ll hit knowledge at a far higher level before you know it.

In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king.

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