What makes an individual smart?
That is probably the first question that merits an answer.
Is smartness measured by the abundance of facts that one can memorize? Or is it about the above average, or exceptional, IQ? It could also pertain to wisdom; that ability to make a sound decision at the crucial moment, or knowing how to make the best out of the bad situation.
Perhaps it is the ability to take as many aspects as possible into consideration before deciding on the future course of action. It is probably a good combination of all the previously mentioned traits.
It is very challenging to pinpoint what exactly is responsible for that achievement and wellbeing of someone who is deemed as smart and successful. Truth be told, it is far easier to notice what these smart people don’t do, and arrive to a conclusion as to what is to be avoided.
As long as we avoid these negative things, the rest will come naturally.
They are not wasteful
Prudence as a virtue is not to be mistaken for greed or tightfistedness. Being able to handle your finances and save, by avoiding unnecessary expenses, is an admirable quality. In fact, it is surprising how many small details there are, warranting closer scrutiny.
There are meaningless expenses can be easily avoided, and the amount of money you can save can amount to something rather significant. Maximize the internet; don’t spend money and time on things of no value, learn to fully utilize the things you are paying for or have at your disposal – that’s what being smart is all about.
They don’t rely on good luck
The saying, “Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst” is apt when you are faced with the decision of what and what not to invest your time and efforts into something arises. Hope for the best possible scenario is what motivates us, whereas preparing for the worst prevents us from falling apart. On the other hand, simply hoping for the things to work themselves out is no different from being lazy.
Luck should not be the bedrock of your success; it should only take credit for a fragment of it.
Besides, I am yet to find that smart person who would permit luck to take glory for all their hard work. I mean, when you pour your heart and soul into achieving your goal, it would be disappointing to give ‘luck’ the title of “major contributor”.
They don’t depend heavily on others
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having friends, family members or colleagues you can trust and rely on. No man is an island; everyone should have someone they can count on when the going gets tough. But heavily relying on someone, however, only portrays you as weak and spineless. As a smart individual, you should never indulge such a commodity.
It is possible to have a brilliant mind, outstanding intelligence, great personality etc. but if you do not put those traits to good use, then you will only come off as incompetent. When you are in need of assistance, pay close attention, see if your problem was truly difficult. In a great number of cases, it is our fear and insecurity that prevent us from acting.
There is always a thought “What if I only make things worse?” The thought is perfectly justified. The unwillingness to overcome such a fear on the other hand, isn’t.
They don’t hesitate to learn from their mistakes
Mistakes are inevitable; they are a part of our lives. Sooner or later something is bound to go wrong, and shake the very foundation of our plans and well-laid schemes. You can’t always have everything under your control, and we do not have the degree of awareness necessary to view every possible angle.
Mistakes are there to constantly remind us of our flaws, and force us to mitigate the impact they have on our lives. Honestly, mistakes can teach us a lot about our lives, and ourselves, but only if we let them.
Learning from your mistakes simply involves finding what is worth salvaging from the experience, discovering what went wrong and finding a way to avert it in the future. Smart people use this input to work on themselves, and change the things they have the power to change.
They don’t give up on their ideas in the face of opposition
I know we have been taught know when to give up and start anew; and how being too stubborn or pushy will ultimately yield bad results. Well, a wise and smart person knows when he or she should push and take a stand firm even when the situation takes a turn for the worst.
There is a difference between when someone gives your idea a chance and did not like it in the end and someone not giving your idea a chance at all. We are all entitled to constructive feedback on why our ideas or products are not satisfactory.
If someone wants to discard our efforts based on a hunch, do not let them. Fight for your chance to shine, or try finding someone else who will hear you out and appreciate your idea.
There is always a possibility that someone is intimidated by your expertise; thus that person wants to hinder your development. If you want to publish or launch something, look for more than one opinion. Even if the first one is flattering, look for more.
Constructive criticism can be used as a precious insight for the future.
They don’t see themselves as super humans
Nothing drives home this point as much as the story of Shelly’s Frankenstein. The story tells a wonderful cautionary tale about how even the brightest among us can suffer a tragic downfall, simply because they overreached past their limitations. You see, ambition and hard work are healthy traits and nothing to be ashamed of, but without moderation, these qualities can be dangerous.
The insatiable desire for advancement in a particular field can cloud your perspective, and make you lose grip on other important aspects of life. Ultimately, we can end up being alienated from our peers, and it can be sad to have no one you can share your success with.
They don’t allow their pride to get in the way
At this point, I will quote one of my favorite manga artists, Tite Kubo: “If it rusts, it can never be trusted. If its owner fails to control it, it will cut him. Yes, pride is like a blade.” Spiritual teachings usually label pride as a bad characteristic, but reality tends to tell a different story. Having pride is completely acceptable, but being consumed by it is quite inconvenient.
It is common to find that when you become so brilliant, you tend to automatically look down and castigate the opinion of everyone around you. Not only that, but you may often find yourself rejecting a good proposal or initiative simply because you are not the one who thought of it. Smart people rely on their reasoning and if too much pride interferes with it, then it is a feature not worth nurturing.
They don’t put all the eggs in one basket
This one needs no explanation. Never fully invest yourself for the sake of realizing a single idea. Always have backup plans, alternatives, contingencies etc. It was already established that people may not be impressed with your design, or that something can go wrong if we don’t account for all the variables.
They don’t permit their past to hold them back
The past cannot be erased, and it does not come back to haunt us, it simply never leaves. We need to learn how to cope with it, and not allow it to interfere with our future achievements. If there is nothing useful to be recovered from the past experience, simply close those doors and let it go.
Past experiences shape who we are today, and our previous struggles can build a strong character, but people tend to use their past to justify their mistakes or behavior. Perhaps we use these excuses to gain understanding from others, or to make it easier to forgive ourselves.
Still, if you acknowledge your flaws but refuse to do something about them just because you have an excuse, then you have chosen an easy way out, and that’s not what smart people do.9 Things Smart People Don’t Do by Stellamaris Obomanu