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10 Things Smart People Don’t Do

10 Things Smart People Don’t Do

What do you think of when you hear that someone is “smart?” You probably conjure up an image of an intelligent person. But being “smart” is so much more than being able to answer trivia questions and scoring highly on tests. Smart people are also compassionate, imaginative, humble, and appreciative. They view themselves as a small piece of a vast world, and they know that they have the ability to do great things.

And smart people definitely do not do these 10 things.

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They don’t let past stumbles dictate their present state.

Smart people know that failure is an essential part of growth. Too many people allow past events to stop them from achieving greatness, but not smart people. They put the past behind them, because they know what’s done is done. They look at stumbles as opportunities to grow and get better.

They don’t focus on the negative.

Smart people know that they are in control of their thoughts. And they choose to focus those thoughts on the positive. Smart people believe wholeheartedly that what the mind can conceive, it can also achieve. They know that life becomes easier and more enjoyable when they harness their ability to dream, wonder, create, build, transform, and love.

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They don’t run from their problems.

We all have problems (even Jay-Z has 99 of them). Whether it’s our jobs, money, family, health, etc., smart people face these problems head-on. They search for creative solutions to their issues. And when smart people stumble, they get up and keep right on walking. They have the courage to face their fears, and treat every problem as an opportunity to improve.

They don’t worry about what other people think about them.

Smart people don’t let the negative opinions of others deter them from living a life filled with happiness and purpose. The world has no shortage of doubters, haters, and cynics. But smart people brush the naysayers aside. They surround themselves with other smart people who share their values and passions.

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They don’t waste time.

Author Doug Larsen had this to say about time: “For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.” Smart people make the most of their time. They form productive habits that allow them to work smarter, not harder. They don’t waste their time on meaningless tasks. And they also recognize the need to balance purposeful work with mental decompression.

They don’t expect instant gratification.

Smart people understand that good things come to those who wait. We live in a society of instant gratification. In other words, we expect everything to happen quickly and easily. Most people aren’t willing to bust their tail and put in some good old fashioned hard work. Smart people, on the other hand, don’t forget that there is something greater than getting things handed to them on a silver platter—the satisfaction that comes from the every day journey of working toward something they care about.

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They don’t focus on things that are out of their control.

We encounter things on a daily basis that we can’t control. Traffic, rude people, bad breaks, and dismay. But smart people take these things in stride. They focus on what they can control, which is how they respond to unfortunate circumstances. They know that calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom, and they make the most of that gift.

They don’t spend time with people who bring them down.

Smart people surround themselves with other smart people. They make time for family, friends, and acquaintances who share their values and appreciation for life. But they also recognize that they need to limit the time they spend with negative people. So they choose to spend most of their time with positive, intelligent, uplifting people.

They don’t display arrogance.

You’ll never hear a smart person tell you they’re smart. That’s because smart people are also humble. They take pride in their humility. They don’t boast about themselves and their accolades.

They don’t go a day without giving thanks.

This is perhaps the most important thing you can do if you want to be “smart.” Smart people know that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They believe in the power of the greater good and know that a simple selfless act as small as a smile to a random stranger may just change someone’s life‒and their own.

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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