We all know certain people who are incredibly smart. These are folks who seem to know a lot and stand out in a conversation. Some of us may even seek their opinions and thoughts on a certain matter. But have you ever looked at some of these folks and thought to yourselves that they could be doing so much more? Sure, some of them are satisfied with where they are and that’s fine. We’re not talking about them.
There’s a large set of people who want to do a lot but just aren’t. They don’t seem to be cracking the code. They’re doing okay, but not in the way you’d imagine.
Or maybe we’re talking about you. Let’s just talk about ‘them’ instead. That’s easier, isn’t it?
Here’s why some smart people don’t always make the cut:
1. They’re paralysed
In the mind, we mean. Remember the age-old term ‘analysis-paralysis’? Smart people think too much. They look at every detail and logical aspect that goes with the direction they’d like to take. Sadly, logic goes against the grain of great work. Achievers have a bias for action; over-analysis can come in the way of that.
2. They can be rigid
Smart people, particularly those who know they’re smart, can be extremely set in their ways. Unfortunately, growth doesn’t work that way. Their opinions of right and wrong, the world as a whole and about you and me can work against them. An unwillingness to change met with strong opinions can be the end of a growth path.
3. They work on facts
Facts. Statistics. What is ‘possible. Too much importance given to research can also work against you. The only thing that matters is what one would like to see for themselves or others. The rest, really, is about finding a way to shape that into reality. Every invention we see today probably didn’t meet the parameters of reality at some point. The stats of how many people have ‘failed’ at something have no relevance.
4. They have the Big E
Guessed that one? Ego, of course. It can be very helpful but can also be detrimental. It could even be a learning impediment. To know you’re smart can be great for your confidence but has its own share of repercussions. People with unhealthy egos don’t ask for help often either.
5. They are easily distracted
Intellectual discussions. Incessant knowledgeable arguments over politics, the world and the way things are. Giving an importance to ‘knowledge’ with no ‘pursuit’. There’s nothing wrong with any of this, but have you noticed how some people make these elements their life? Social media has made it worse. Smart people can hold their own. Sadly, the real question is the impact it creates.
6. They are fantastic at justifying everything
If you’re smart, you’ll probably have a way to counter every point that’s been written here. The summary is that smart people can get away with anything. At least in conversation.
So how do smart people avoid this trap?
The biggest mistake we make is to assume that the folks who make it are smart. Yes, they are. There’s no question that intellect gives you an edge. But it’s overrated, and how. So how do you break out of this?
Have a calling. Find out what you want. Potential is worthless without Passion.
That’s it. The people who made it? They knew exactly what they wanted. Ratan Tata wanted to make a very affordable car. Steve Jobs wanted to make some of the best tech products in the world. Those goals aren’t about logic. There is no room for justification or getting distracted. Well, some of these folks still suffered from rigidity, but the passion for what they wanted to create or do never changed. Their intellect was directed at what mattered for themselves.
You think you’re smart? Good for you. Who cares, even?
How you put it to use is a far greater pursuit.