How To Get Ahead Of Your Colleagues By Acting Stupid

That’s right, acting stupid. I know every employer looks out for the best and brightest, but truth be told, there’s actually a lot to be gained from playing the idiot. In fact, in the communication or business world they call it call “strategic stupidity.” Strategic stupidity is where a person or group acts dumber than they actually are in order to achieve what they want.

Before anyone gets miffed, let me be clear: I am not trying to suggest that you go around pretending you have not got enough brain cells to function, no, this article is simply showing you that there is more than one way to make the most of your ‘seemingly superior’ brain, and it might just be pretending you don’t have it.

So, let me tell you how acting stupid can get you ahead of your colleagues

Always ask Questions

Now I’d like you to do a quick flash back to your school days. Remember that really smart classmate yours? Remember how his/her hand was always the first up to answer a question, but wasn’t so quick to respond when the question was “any questions”? I can bet that the best of us spent our school years jealous of how quickly they learnt things, but the irony is that they were actually suffering in their own way: they had done such a good job at building up their brilliance that if on any occasion, they didn’t understand something in class, they had hoped that someone else (read: you) would asked the questions for them. If you didn’t, then they had a long night of homework ahead of them.

ask question

Well, that hasn’t changed in the workplace. It will be a cold day in hell before that smug know-it-all will ask any question and admit they’re confused; they’d prefer to go back to their desk, do tons of research, probably get it wrong the first time and maybe get a private reprimand from their manager later. Now, that’s where you, ‘the office idiot’, comes in; no one will raise an eyebrow if you start asking questions, which in turn means you don’t have any reason to be embarrassed about asking them. By doing this, not only do you help yourself by getting full clarification and all but you are also helping everyone else by getting the answers they never dared to ask for. Ask the right questions and you might even find yourself on the receiving end of some praise.

Act Gullible

Often times, two astute people entering into negotiations ends in a deadlock; but a smart person faced with another smart person pretending to be a gullible idiot creates an actual situation of negotiation.
Being able to play the stupid card correctly has a way of disarming the ‘clever’ party making them drop their guard to the point where they make a crazy offer they would never normally make… at which point you can let them know just how much you really understand and accept their generous offer. This strategy gets you ahead of the game by making you look good in front of the boss, especially since your smarter colleagues couldn’t have pulled it off; the catch here is that, you’ll have to pretend it was a stroke of luck if you want to keep your idiot status.

it is easier

Job Security

I may be wrong, but I think in every organization, the idiot is not seen as a threat. So while those “superior minds” are fighting it out about things they think are far over your head, you’re happily doing your own work and avoiding any form of office politics or backstabbing. If they continue cat-fighting long enough, their productivity will gradually come to a halt and they won’t even notice that you’re edging ahead of them to actually become the hardest worker.


In any office, there are always going to be smart people mixed in with stupid people and everyone having to find ways to coexist. The smart ones will sometimes find themselves jealous of the peace the idiot gets; depending on the idiot, they will either be glad they’re not continually pestered or the smallest bit jealous that no one ever thinks they have anything to say.
Have you ever experienced being the smartest or dimmest one in the office? Which do you think it’s best to be like? Let us know in the comments section below!

About Stellamaris Obomanu

Loves to read, loves to write, loves to laugh, loves life and yeah, she's as real as they come.

One Comment

  1. ola@last says:

    Actually, he that ask the road will never missed the right road. Thanks for this great eye opening information.

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