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Are you too smart for your own good?

Anything related to matters of the mind


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Dec 3, 2017
I’m sure we’ve all encountered a smart Alec before, you know, that know-it-all who brags about how intellectual he is, the one who goes around telling people how wrong they are and how right he is, the guy who never owns up to any mistakes, because “it happened due to other people’s stupidity, not my fault”.

Truth is, some of those smart Alecs are actually really deep, intelligent and talented. Their minds are sharp like a knife and their insights can be mind-blowing. But alas, when you look at them in general, you realize that many of them are not living their lives to the fullest potential. Their lives are in a mess – they’re not excelling in their work, or are consistently overlooked when it comes to promotion, their relationships are in shambles, and their outlooks on life are usually pessimistic.

How did that happen?

When you first meet him, you immediately noticed how distinctive he is, and what a breath of fresh air his thoughts can be. But overtime, as you get to know him better, you start to keep your distance because:

- he is not teachable and his attitude sucks

- his condescension irks people, spoils their mood and make them feel bad about themselves

- it’s a pain to work with him. He has no sense of teamwork and it’s always “my way or the highway”

In the event that there are problems that need fixing, he’ll probably be the very last person people go to, after ALL available options have been systematically exhausted. Because the previous experience was so harrowing, people rather waste time running around in circles first than to look for him.

And if God forbid, he finds himself in serious need of help, that’s when he finds out just how people really feel about him, and reality can be very cold and harsh.


“You always talked about how smart you are, settle it yourself!”

“Why should I help an a**hole like you?”

He might be shocked by the truth, wake up and change for the better. Or he might turn bitter, blame the society for being a big popularity contest, and slowly withdraw himself, throwing away his previous gifts and talents.

If you have been told that you are “too smart for your own good”, maybe it’s time to do some self-reflection. Get off your high horse, and take a humble pie for a change. It will take time, but people are generally forgiving. You’ll be doing yourself a huge favour by becoming a better person. Make that positive choice, with your talents, you can go to places.
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I used to be like that. Emotional intelligence and awareness are 80% of the battle.

You have it wrong though. People are not forgiving. The planet is forgiving, the soil is forgiving, the water and air are forgiving. People are conflict oriented. All of history is conflict and ego.

People forget at best.

If someone has the emotional audacity to say something so harsh to you then it's probably because of their own insecurities. Mirror.

The people who forgive just don't engage. They observe and let the person roam freely. They don't interfere with his actions. They secretly support him and savor every victory he has.

The situation you described is of egotistical people trying to hurt another egotistical person. It does illustrate how we must try to find the center.


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May 3, 2015
I'm known I'm smart but I try to be humble and learn from everyone.

My weakness is lack of effort due to things coming so easily when I was younger.

Through high school I put in 1/4 the effort of some of my peers and aced tests easily. This was so bad sometimes I just flat out would not do some homework assignments that I thought were a waste of time and I would take a zero. Then at test time I ace the test, and get a B in the class. I never applied myself fully.

Then in college I probabaly put in 1/2 the effort of some of my peers at times and still finished with a higher GPA than most in my major.

The I said to myself "well I know I'm capable so I'll go get a graduate degree and reach my full potential." I got a full ride to a top 10 public university graduate program in my major.

This was a wake up call because now the material was way more difficult and I had to work, but I hadn't developed the attitude or discipline of most of my peers and I struggled. My study groups saved me. I was humbled, and sometimes even a little envious of my peers discipline and focus.

So getting by on talent for half of my life has made me lazy and unfocused and not disciplined. I admire those I have witnessed with strong work ethics and focus.

I have seen many succeed with hard work and I try to look at it like "If they can do it I can do it."

I have invested a lot of time investigating and reading on behavioral science in an attempt to want to understand and modify my own behavior. Did it work? Yes and no. I know a lot about behavior now but discipline cannot be solved by knowledge alone.

I know I have the potential for more but discipline and proper habits are holding me back. Actually, I hold myself back with laziness.

Unscripted really resonated with me and reinforced the WHY principle. What's your WHY. This has been the hardest problem for me to solve and only I can solve it.

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