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10 Things Smart People Don’t Do

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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.

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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.

More by this author

Scott Christ

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

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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