Dear Smart Person,
Sometimes you might just be too smart to succeed.
Let me explain.
I’m not trying to toot my horn or anything, but I’ve always been considered ‘smart’.
School came easy to me. Yes, I studied hard but overall, it was easy.
My teachers loved me, and my parents were proud of me.
When it came to academics, I was the shit.
But at anything else, I was shit.
I used to comfort myself with the thought of my big brain, but a while back, I realized that I wasn’t dumb enough to succeed.
So I started to dumb down a bit. And succeed a little more.
So to my fellow ‘smart’ people, here’s how being ‘smart’ is holding you back:
#1. Smart people are too smart to take risks.
We all know the whole “go to school, get a degree, get a job” model of succes.
One that has been passed down from one generation to the other like those stories in that TV Show “Tales by Moonlight”.
[Yes, don’t deny it. If you were a kid in Naija in the 90s, you definitely watched it.]
There was a time when that model was the awesome way to mind-blasting success.
Sadly, times have changed (unless you define success the old way- graduate, get married, settle down, etcetera shmetcetera).
But ‘smart’ people refuse to change.
They stick with old methods that have worked in the past, touting the good old “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” line.
Forgetting that we live in a new era that operates under different rules.
And that if it never breaks, and you never fix it, eventually time will take its toll and make it obsolete.
Remember how Henry Ford and his Model T car made horses obsolete?
He came out with this at a time when most ‘smart’ people probably thought that was a stupid thing to do.
“If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”
– Henry Ford
But because he was too dumb to listen to those smart people, Ford is a name known worldwide when it comes to cars today.
#2. Smart people are good at over-complicating things.
Speaking from experience, smart people can take something as simple as A,B, C and make it complicated.
Ever read one of those 6 or 7 step manuals that leaves you just as confused as you were when you started reading the manual?
Yeah, probably written by a ‘smart’ person.
Also when a ‘smart’ person wants to do something, the smartness holds them back.
They are good at identifying all the reasons why something won’t work, and in most cases, use these reasons to hold themselves back.
Instead of just taking action, they embrace inaction and use their excuses as their first line of defense when you ask them why.
#3. Smart people dislike failure.
This is a big one.
Part of being ‘smart’ leads to succeeding at some things, and developing a reputation for being successful.
Then they get attached to that reputation. And because of that, they avoid failure, and anything that would make them look like a failure.
However, failure is a normal route that leads to success.
By trying to avoid failure, smart people fail at succeeding.
There are other reasons but you get my point.
‘Smart’ people use their ‘smartness’ to hold themselves back, and because of that, they succeed at holding themselves back and therefore fail.
So what do you do instead?
Well, I’m no psychologist or anything, so I can’t give you a perfect answer. What I can tell you though is what I’ve done.
First of all, when you decide on a goal, don’t overthink it.
Save your smartness for figuring out the steps to take to make it happen.
Next, you need to embrace the fact that on the road to success, you are going to fail.
That doesn’t make you a failure, it’s just the natural progression.
It’s just what happens when you’re trying to succeed at something. You fail, and fail, over and over, till you fail your way to success.
Every single person who is successful, from Dr. Dre to Mark Zuckerberg, has failed and failed several times till they succeeded.
I think there’s a quote that says something like:
“The master has failed more times than the beginner has tried.”
Failure is a natural progression to success.
The next thing you need to do is take action and make your goals happen.
NO excuses. NO “reasons”. Just do it.
Dear Smart Person, it’s your beautiful mind. YOUR beautiful mind. Don’t let it hold you back from succeeding.
Instead, use it to help you succeed.
That’s all I’m doing.
Keeping it 500,
Author: Tomi Joshua
Tomi is a case.
A bit brash, at first blush. But ultimately, he means well. There are very few things he won’t say or do in the presence of tolerant company (especially when it could make for a good story later).
Tomi is a Doctor, writer, certified inbound marketer (Shout Out to HubSpot), Digital Hustler, and online business addict.
He is most likely to be found dancing to the beat of his own drum, even in accapella.