Admit It: You Think You’re Smarter Than Me

Not just me, though; you think you’re smarter than everyone.

Things would be different if you didn’t.

  • You would actually do the exercises that book tells you to do, instead of just reading it through.
  • You would listen to good advice, even (especially if!) if it made you uncomfortable.
  • You would turn off email/Twitter instead of thinking you can handle it.
  • You would start today instead of making excuses about it not being the right time.
  • You would commit instead of waffle.
  • You would think about the future instead of submitting to the whims of the present.

Wouldn’t you?

So much success the world comes from realizing that in many ways, you are stupid.

But your strength will come from realizing the few ways in which you are smart.

Do you know which ways those are?





19 responses to “Admit It: You Think You’re Smarter Than Me”

  1. Rick Avatar

    The fact that I immediately thought of other people who needed to hear this probably means you’re talking about me. Thanks. Thanks alot. Psshtft.

    1. Rafael Avatar

      A response as good as the text itself.

  2. Rufus Avatar

    I’m with @rick on this 🙂 thanks for the dose of humility..

  3. Sally G. Avatar

    Quite the opposite actually. I’m engaged in, what so far is, a four and a half decade journey in search of ‘Someone I’m Smarter Than’. Having children worked for awhile ~ it was a temporary ‘I’m Smarter Than You’ at best. I enjoy your posts – and am quite proud that I was able to read from top to bottom without my eyeballs screaming in anguish. This comment box with its plain white background has appeased them. Whew.

  4. Sally G. Avatar

    Now I feel like a spaz – when I read this originally, the background was all grey/white pixels – now, it’s soothing. Of all the things I’ve ever lost, I miss my mind the most. Sorry about that!

  5. CT Moore Avatar

    The Oracle at Delphi proclaimed Socrates the wisest man in Greece because he knew that he knew nothing. Just sayin’…

  6. Betsy Talbot Avatar

    I wrote a blog post called “are you the smartest person you know” a few weeks ago and never published it. It basically talked about how you need to surround yourself with challenging ideas/people/situations instead of staying on the easy path where you are already a rockstar.

    Why didn’t I publish it? Because I didn’t think I was smart enough to tell other people how to be smarter. Funny, that.

    1. Julien Avatar

      @Betsy– hehehe, funny that. I’m just enough of a douche to do that, though. 😉

  7. John McLachlan Avatar

    My problem is, I don’t often realize that I’m smarter than I think. I just don’t trust myself sometimes. I make decisions sometimes that feel wrong at the time and at odds with what someone else who I think is “smart” makes, and then realize in hindsight that my decision was the best one.

    I do think I’m smarter than you in some things, but I also like to find ways to see how other people (you, for example) are smarter than me and then just maybe, learn something.

  8. Michelle Gillies Avatar

    I say it all the time. Every time I think I know something, I realize I know nothing! The things I did know once, I have forgotten.

  9. Bill Todd Avatar

    (Seriously, thanks for calling bullshit where you see it. I need to hear this daily. I am learning a new way of living. Old habits die hard. But they will die.)

  10. John Hewitt Avatar

    In agents I trust. You’ve been a big help to me and I appreciate it.

  11. Jamie Troia Avatar

    20 years ago I was sure I was one of the smartest people around, now I know 100x as much, yet often feel like that just ain’t good enough to compete.

    I’m a block of clay, and I’m hoping that “Trust Agents” is a good chisel to start with.

  12. Ray Maetin Avatar

    Hahahahahahahahah! So a few months ago I was having a really bad week and e-mailed Chris Brigan about it. He tells me I should read “Self Esteem” by Matthew McKay. I read most of it & found it helpful in many ways.

    Fast forward a couple months & I’m seeing a therapist who is making me do “mood logs”. I tell her that they remind me of that book which had exercises like this in it. “Did you do them?” she asks. “No, I reply.”

    I must have thought I was too smart!

    Thanks for this post. It made me laugh!

  13. Larry Avatar

    Talk about hitting the nail on the head. I’ve always admired people who are humble, and who will readily admit they don’t know it all.
    The funny thing is, our popular culture tends to bombard us with “celebrities” whose egos are way of whack with their capabilities. They simply cause me to shake my head in bewilderment (’cause they’re not worth much more thought than that).

  14. Ray Avatar

    Hm. Reading this post makes me wonder what “smart” means anymore…

    Because if you do the exercises the book tells you, are you replacing “smart” with “prudent”? Or possibly “thorough”? Maybe even “assiduous”? “Unimaginative” might come to mind in some cases…

    And if you listen to good advice, even (and especially!) uncomfortable good advice, aren’t you confusing “smart” with “wise”? “Patient” might apply. “Detached” works as well. “Resigned”, I suppose, might fit here too, depending on the situation.

    And turning off Twitter or email instead of thinking you can handle it, is that a question of equating “smarts” with “willpower”? It might be “sensible”, but how is turning off your Twitter or email “smart”? What if you have OCD? Would you be incapable of being smart in this situation?

    Starting today instead of making excuses… now “smart” begins to more closely resembles “intrepid”. Potentially it’s also looking closer to “shortsighted”, but your mileage may vary, as the often echoed saying goes. I suppose it depends on what you’re starting.

    Committing instead of waffling. Really? Sometimes delaying is a tactic. Especially when you’re being invited somewhere you don’t want to go, or when you’re going somewhere and don’t want someone inviting themselves along. Ah waffling, the little white social lie of ostracism.

    Of course, international negotiations and business courses tell us that many cultures feel that committing to specifics can show of lack of faith, and that relationships are built on unspoken agreements that appear on many levels to be waffling. Is this smart?

    And thinking about the future instead of submitting to the whims of the present… I guess that could be interpreted as saying kids aren’t particularly smart. Huh?

    But, gee, won’t thinking about the future lead to waffling? The future is a pretty fluid thing, all wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey and such.

    And if you’re too busy thinking about the future all the time instead of submitting to the whims of the present, you’ll just get accused of making excuses instead of starting today. Would moderation be “smart”er here?

    Oh sure, it’s other people’s advice, and you might not like hearing it, but you can resign yourself and listen to them in a detached manner.

    I think my favorite take on intelligence, was something by Isaac Asimov:

    That’s what taught me personally that other people are much smarter than I am ALL THE TIME.

    And the knowledge of that didn’t make me any smarter or even more humble, but it did make me more more aware of the consequences of my actions and more sensitive to the skills and opinions of others.

    And that kind of awareness has helped me when deciding on whether to do an exercise or just read the material, to listen to good advice, to detach the umbilical information cord once in a while, but when it’s more likely to do good than harm, to initiate, commit, and to look to the future, but with knowledge and awareness of what effect that will have in the shorter run.

    Hey, I never put in my $0.02 worth, so I figured I’d chime in just this once.

    Feel free to disregard this, it might not be smart advice anyway…

  15. Matthew Sawh Avatar
    Matthew Sawh

    Julien, I’m curious: how would you define smart?

    The web values empathy but, it also seems to value action over reflection and, in some fields (i.e. arts auditions, venture-capital) you can’t have a good decision-making process and, performance without waffling etc.

    Maybe I live in a different mindset [shrug]

  16. Ross Hudgens Avatar

    More goodness here, very true. Understanding we aren’t #1 is a true first step to actually getting there.

  17. Chris Avatar

    You had me at “waffles”.

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