7 Reasons Smart People Do Stupid Things
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re not.
Don’t be smarter than Socrates who said, “I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.”
7 reasons smart people do stupid things:
- Success promotes stupidity. You don’t learn if the things you’re doing already work. It’s easier to learn from failure than success.
- Changing other people is easier than changing yourself. Every leader who thinks more about what others should do than what they should do stumbles toward self-justifying disappointment.
- New ideas destabilize established patterns. Instability and uncertainty terrify system builders.
- Unlearning is harder than learning.
- Self-confidence turns to arrogance when defending ideas is more important than pursuing the best ideas.
- Reacting is easier than focusing. Constant reacting makes leaders feel necessary and important, but it means they’ve lost sight of long-term goals.
- Knowing blocks learning. You need enough confidence to believe you know and enough humility to believe you could be wrong.
Even stupid people can do smart things.
7 Smart things any leader can do today:
- Ask, “What are we learning?” Go on a what-are-we-learning walkabout.
- Identify and clarify your role. What is your job, really?
- Try stuff. Run a pilot project and evaluate results.
- Identify and ignore distractions. Use time and energy to achieve mission critical goals.
- Hunger to learn after you succeed. The first step after complacency is stupidity. Intelligence is futile when being right is the goal.
- Do your most important work when you’re at your best. Shuffle papers in the afternoon if you perform best in the morning.
- Realize that learning something often invalidates something old. If you can’t unlearn, you can’t learn.
Tip: Practice humility. My Disappointing Adventure with Humility | Leadership Freak
Learning is easy for humility and impossible for arrogance.
Why do smart leaders do stupid things?
What’s something smart that any leader could do today?