Do you think of yourself as really smart?
Like you know a lot, went to a great school, got good grades, answer Jeopardy questions faster than Ken Jennings?
Maybe you have a high IQ … had a perfect score on your ACT’s.
Now you’re on fire ––– climbing the corporate ladder, racking up those personal achievements, one rung at a time.
Maybe you’re just not that smart. You know some things but not all that much. Seems like you have more questions than answers. You need a lot of help from others.
Really smart people come in two categories.
- The ones who know they’re smart
- And the ones who don’t know they’re smart but really are.
Smart Category #1: Smart But Stupid
You have to love really smart people who know it. They will never cease to amaze you with their arrogance and self-serving bullshit.
Like the person who’s always right. Always.
Or the one who has to be the smartest person in the room – which often comes at the expense of someone else’s stupidity.
The know-it-all who tells their boss’s boss – “that’s a dumb question.”
The person who has to have the last word, or who has to top your situation with a better one of their own.
But –– by far the best and most entertaining is the person that flat out says in every way, “Look how smart I am. Look what I’ve done. Look what I know.”
If you’re lucky, they may even let their IQ slip. Ah, how proud their parents must be.
Smart Category #2: Stupid But Smart
Then, you have the ones that don’t think they are smart but really are.
Like the person who asks really dumb questions at meetings – the questions that no one else is willing to ask. I think of this as the Colombo approach; the 1970’s TV detective (Peter Falk) who always solved the crime with “just one more (dumb) question.”
Or the person that asks you to explain something in more detail or provide examples because they truly want to understand your perspective––what you’re really saying. They don’t care how “dumb” they may look in order to understand you better.
Take the individual who comes to you for advice and counsel because you’re the expert and they don’t do your type of work and aren’t smart enough to pick it up on their own.
They go into situations and most importantly, many conversations with the mindset of not assuming they are smart. These individuals are okay not having the answer(s).
What’s their IQ? Don’t know, don’t care.
• • •
Smart people are a funny lot. The ones that think they’re really smart can act really stupid. And the ones that think they’re not so smart are willing to look and sound stupid to get smart.
You probably didn’t learn this from your family or at school or from your favorite teacher or your best boss.
It pays to be stupid to get smart.
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