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Last Updated on May 4, 2018

20 Things Smart People Don’t Do (And What They Do Instead)

20 Things Smart People Don’t Do (And What They Do Instead)

The first question that merits an answer is what makes an individual smart:

Is it the abundance of facts that one can memorize? Is it the above average, or exceptional, IQ? Perhaps, it is the wisdom to make a sound decision at the crucial moment, or knowing how to make the best out of the bad situation? Maybe it is the ability to take as many aspects as possible into consideration before deciding on the future course of action?

It is probably a good combination of all the previously mentioned traits.

Of course, if someone is smart and successful, it is hard to pinpoint what exactly is responsible for that person’s success and wellbeing. Truth be told, it is far easier to notice what these smart people don’t do, and arrive to a conclusion as to what is to be avoided. As long as we circumvent these negative things, the rest will come naturally.

1. They don’t overlook the possibility to save money.

Prudence is a virtue, not to be mistaken with greed or stinginess. Being able to handle your finances and save by avoiding unnecessary expenses is an admirable quality.

In fact, it is surprising how many small details there are, warranting closer scrutiny. These seemingly meaningless expenses can be easily avoided, and the amount of money you can save can amount to something rather significant.

What they do instead:

For starters, buying a tap filter can reduce the money spent on bottled water. Opting to refill a printer cartridge, rather than buying a new one is another judicious investment. Replacing light bulbs inside your home with those that conserve energy is yet another wise choice. Utilizing apps to reduce credit card processing fees, or choosing a big bank as your provider instead of your local town bank, is also a good decision.

The internet has an unfathomable amount of quality content, both educational and entertaining. Paying for a cable or entertainment magazine subscription is undeniably meaningless. Almost anything you are after can be found online at cheaper price, either as a streaming service or as an online news article.

The point is learn how to fully realize the things you are already paying for or have at your disposal – that’s what being smart is all about.

Learn more about how to manage money from here: 20 Tips To Help Your Better ManageYour Money

2. They don’t heavily rely on others.

There is nothing wrong with having friends, family members or coworkers you can trust and rely on. Everyone should have someone they can count on when things go tough.

Heavily relying on someone, however, only portrays you as powerless. As a smart individual, you should never indulge such a commodity.

What they do instead:

You can have a brilliant mind, outstanding intelligence, etc. but if you do not put those traits to good use, you will only come off as incompetent. When you are in need of assistance, pay close attention to see if your problem was truly difficult. In a great number of cases, it is our fear and insecurity that prevent us from acting.

There is always a thought “What if I only make things worse?” The thought is perfectly justified. The unwillingness to overcome such a fear on the other hand isn’t.

Learn to be more confident in yourself from here: How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

3. They don’t act irresponsibly.

Do not mistake this statement as “Smart people don’t have fun” or “Smart people are boring.” You can have fun, you can have a drink or have a good laugh. Irresponsibility does not equal uninteresting, it only means you like to have an organized lifestyle.

Superior organization leads to greater efficiency, whether you are a student, an employee, a business owner, an artist or a celebrity.

What they do instead:

We all have certain responsibilities and they are not always imposed by someone else. Putting them off for no valid reason is simply packing to travel into a more stressful future. Almost everyone experiences how being irresponsible tends to backfire, but smart people practice what they learn from such inconveniences.

Here are 5 Tips on How to be a More Responsible Person

4. They don’t feel defeated when they need to reevaluate their convictions.

Our environment, our parents, our education and our past are all responsible for forging our convictions and our perception of the world. It leads to a creation of what is referred to as “umwelt” which roughly translates as “self-centered world”. Umwelt is more connected to how we create the image of the world surrounding us by using our sense, but it can be extended to our point of view on philosophical matters.

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The convictions we acquire throughout life are not wrong per se, but are very likely to be proven incompatible when exposed to an entirely new experience or more difficult questions that need answering.

Also, if you move out and change the environment, you are likely to witness different patterns of behavior. Education or lack of education in some areas resulted in the blooming of other human qualities. Sooner or later, our convictions are challenged. Sometimes they will triumph, sometimes they will be trumped.

What they do instead:

Smart people constantly challenge their convictions; they do not discard them. They reshape them and they allow them to grow proportionally with their new experience.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to broaden your mind-set! You are not defeated if you gained something valuable.

5. They don’t dwell on their errors.

To clarify, this refers to great companies can manufacture a bad product, or good movie directors can make bad movies, etc.

It is not uncommon to come up with an idea for something that appears like a true masterwork for us, but once it’s realized, the general public may not be that impressed. It can feel humiliating and really unpleasant, however it happens, whether we like it or not.

What they do instead:

When you are making something intended to be appealing to the masses but in the end fails, start over again from scratch.

If you want to impress, listen to your audience. Don’t try to patch up the product or make sequels in an attempt to prove your vision was brilliant. This kind of behavior will only cost you your credibility. Even when you manage to come up with something good, people might not even bother to give it a try.

It won’t make you neither weak nor foolish if you know when to give up. It will only give you more time to work on your comeback.

6. They don’t permit their past to hold them back.

The past cannot be erased, and it does not come back to haunt us, it simply never leaves. We need to learn how to cope with it and not allow it to interfere with our future achievements.

If there is nothing useful to be recovered from the past experience, simply close those doors and let it go:

Elsa-the-Snow-Queen-image-elsa-the-snow-queen-36269709-1920-800

    Past experiences shape who we are today, and our previous struggles can build a strong character, but people tend to use their past to justify their mistakes or behaviour. Perhaps we use these excuses to gain understanding from others, or to make it easier to forgive ourselves.

    What they do instead:

    If you acknowledge your flaws but refuse to do something about them just because you have an excuse, then you have chosen an easy way out and that’s not what smart people do.

    It may be a little tough to let go of the past, here’s a guide to help you: 10 Simple Steps To Let Go Of The Past

    7. They don’t rely on good luck to solve their problems.

    “Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.” A good quote to be guided by when you invest your time and efforts into something. Hope for the best possible scenario is what motivates us, whereas preparing for the worst prevents us from falling apart. On the other hand, simply hoping for the things to work themselves out is no different from being lazy.

    Luck should only take credit for a fragment of your success, considering that relying on it too frequently will only suffocate your ambition.

    What they do instead:

    Smart people would never permit luck to take glory for all their hard work. When you pour your heart and soul into achieving your goal, it would be disappointing to give good fortune the title of “major contributor”.

    Create your own opportunities and learn how to make yourself luckier.

    8. They don’t neglect important aspects of their business.

    One of the key factors that contributes to success is attention to details or just paying good attention in general.

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    When one is trying to be a smart business owner, he or she is generally governed by the idea that with a quality product, success is guaranteed.

    The logic is not entirely flawless since even if you can offer a top quality product at a better price than your competition, you are still a far cry from a lucrative business.

    What they do instead:

    The absolute necessity for a successful selling period is credibility, meaning you will need to have a good advertising tactic. This implies striving towards omnipresence and professional appearance, which brings us to the most efficient tool for spreading this kind of brand awareness — and that is your website.

    The impact of the website should never be underestimated; people will judge you as a professional based on your website design, its responsiveness, authority and its content. There are numerous people who offer an amazing type of service or products in person, but simply look like amateurs online.

    Start off by finding a good web hosting service, to ensure your sites responsiveness proceed with quality design, and finally, eloquently describe your product or service.

    Clearly, this is a single example of an important aspect, there are others as well. like providing a good customer service and creating efficient incentive plans etc. But the point is never to push in one direction. Always work on numerous fronts.

    9. They don’t hesitate to learn from their mistakes.

    Mistakes are inevitable. Sooner or later something goes wrong, and an unaccounted for variable emerges and places a grave dent in our previously well-laid schemes. You can’t always have everything under your control, and we do not have the degree of awareness necessary to view every possible angle.

    Mistakes are there to remind us of our flaws and force us to mitigate the impact they have on our lives. Mistakes can teach us a lot about our lives and ourselves, but only if we let them.

    What they do instead:

    Learn from your mistakes means finding what is worth salvaging from your unfortunate experience, realizing what went wrong and finding a way to avert it in the future.

    Smart people use this input to work on themselves and change the things they have the power to change.

    Arrogant people look for excuses and choose to blindly believe in their judgement without any retrospect. Not only does this kind of behaviour hinder your future success, it also drives people and allies away from you.

    10. They don’t give up on their ideas just because others don’t agree with them.

    I know that it was stated how knowing when to give up and start anew is a good thing, and how being too stubborn or pushy will ultimately yield bad results. But a wise person knows when he or she should push the envelope and stand firm when the situation takes a turn for the worst.

    Steve Jobs said it best:

      There is a difference between when someone gives your idea a chance and did not like it in the end, and someone not giving your idea a chance at all. We are all entitled to constructive feedback on why our ideas or products are not satisfactory.

      What they do instead:

      If someone wants to discard your effort based on a hunch, do not let them. Fight for your chance to shine, or try finding someone else who will hear you out and appreciate your idea.

      There is always a possibility that someone is intimidated by your expertise; thus that person wants to hinder your development. If you want to publish or launch something, look for more than one opinion. Even if the first one is flattering, look for more.

      Constructive criticism can be used as a precious insight for the future. When you learn to embrace constructive criticism, you will grow: When I Learn To Embrace Criticism, These 10 Amazing Things Happened

      11. They don’t make strong remarks that can make them look weak in the future.

      Actions speak louder than words. Don’t feel overconfident and use words of grandeur to describe your future actions. It only makes you look like an attention seeker who will inevitably lose his or her credibility.

      Credibility is of the utmost importance for one’s future and well being. The loss of credibility had a strong impact on the outcome of the situation.

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      What they do instead:

      If you want to be taken seriously and to be respected, don’t talk big without a means to back it up. Simply let your hard work tell your tale: How To Be More Action-Oriented: Obstacles And Tips

      12. They don’t lose the opportunity to broaden their experience.

      This is closely connected to the previously mentioned convictions, like Friedrich Nietzsche said,

      “There are no eternal facts as there are no absolute truths.”

      You can never become a complete being, and you should never set such goals for yourself. However, making ongoing endeavors towards progression in various areas is indeed what a smart person would do.

      Science constantly expands our understanding of the world; it constantly tests theories and comes up with new ones. Even old or proven findings are never left alone, they are re-examined, redefined, and updated. They are constantly after progress, investigating what is most likely the truth, not what they want to believe the truth is.

      What they do instead:

      It is a good way to expand your database. After all, scientist are usually those who have the qualities, or are perceived to have qualities of smart people. The majority of smart celebrities were and are scientists.

      Learn more about the importance of ever-learning in this article: If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

      13. They don’t back off from a good cause.

      Much like with the good idea, wise people do not back off from a cause worth fighting for. Revolutions were led and achieved thanks to these individuals. Luckily, our society is still flawed and can provide us with many causes worth fighting for.

      We are often criticized by our parents, superiors or teachers about our tastes, our interests and our hobbies. They can be right from time to time but throughout the course history, a fix has emerged. Older generations tend to scold things they do not fully understand and are too self-absorbed to even give them a chance.

      What they do instead:

      Be open-minded and curious all the time. Understand that there are something to learn from a new idea.

      Imagine just how many art forms, in terms of music, books and film genres would not be here today if people didn’t regard them as good ideas. Today, video games are struggling with the same issue. They are held responsible for violent and troublesome behavior in youth, and people do not consider them a medium capable of delivering deeper moral values.

      14. They don’t waste the potentials of their gadgets.

      Lacking knowledge related to a certain field or lacking the necessary skill to accomplish a particular task does not automatically make someone incompetent. Smart people have a good way of overcoming these obstacles; they can find solutions to compensate for their shortcomings.

      What they do instead:

      Using your gadgets to their full extent can prove to be rather beneficial in a variety of scenarios.

      Obviously, smartphones and tablets have internet connection and access to Google, thus all you need to do is know how to utilize these browsers efficiently. Almost anything you want to know has a recorded or a written tutorial online, meaning as long as you are connected to the World Wide Web, you will have the means to solve tricky problems.

      App stores have an applications galore and a great number of them are really remarkable. Sure, there are those which are utter nonsense, but every smartphone and tablet device should have a few useful apps installed.

      For example, you should have apps that boost your productivity, making your job significantly easier. Apps that can help you navigate when you are on unfamiliar terrain, thus boosting your level of security. Apps that can help you find good restaurants while in a foreign country, like Yelp. Additionally, language boundaries are significantly mitigated by the use of translating apps, and even though they are not one hundred percent accurate, they can still aid you a great deal.

      15. They don’t overestimate their abilities

      Shelly’s Frankenstein and Goethe’s Faust tell a wonderful cautionary tale about how even the brightest among us can suffer a tragic downfall, simply because they overreached past their limitations. Ambition and hard work are healthy and nothing to be ashamed of, but without moderation, these qualities can be dangerous.

      You are likely to exhaust yourself continually, which can be indeed stressful and it can have a negative impact on your health. The insatiable desire for advancement in a particular field can cloud your perspective, and make you lose grip on other important aspects of life. Ultimately, you can end up being alienated from your peers, and it can be sad to have no one you can share your success with.

      What they do instead:

      Your mind has its limits, and very often actively thinking about the problem doesn’t get us anywhere. You need to know when you are stuck and to take a break. In other words, we need to allow our subconscious to grab the reins, and see what happens.

      You’d be surprised just how frequently certain answers simply dawn on you. Moreover, even when the answers appear obvious, it is better to examine them again in the morning, perhaps they won’t seem as ideal as they did the day before.

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      16. They don’t make redundant enemies.

      Regardless of your status, whether you are a rising star entrepreneur or an employee in a small firm, you are likely to encounter enemies, nemeses, competition, whatever you want to label particular individuals.

      These people are not malefic in nature. Your convictions, ideologies or points of view are only incompatible. The problem is that you can never know what they may do if they feel provoked, and they are probably perceiving you in the same manner, which results in unnerving animosity.

      It is important to define a difference between enemies created by circumstances, and enemies created by our actions. We have already established how our competition can induce minor paranoia, so it is better not to incite any redundant conflicts.

      What they do instead:

      When you socialize with stubborn and hot headed individuals, rest assured that you are not the only one who notices their traits. Trying to prove a point and creating an argument with these people will get you nowhere. A smart thing to do is just nod, or say you do not agree, and end the discussion. Here’s an advanced guide on how to deal with stubborn people: 12 Ways To Deal With Stubborn People And Convince Them To Listen

      When entering partnerships, do a thorough check on your potential allies, see if they are not prone to deceive you, but also make sure you don’t accidentally do something that can be viewed as treacherous.

      Furthermore, if you are going through a divorce, see to it that you do not separate on completely bad terms since creating a relationship based on acts of spite won’t do anyone any good.

      17. They don’t allow their pride to get in the way.

      This is a quote from one of my favorite manga artists, Tite Kubo:

      “If it rusts, it can never be trusted. If its owner fails to control it, it will cut him. Yes, pride is like a blade.”

      Spiritual teachings usually label pride as a bad characteristic, but reality tends to tell a different story. Having pride is completely acceptable, but being consumed by it is quite inconvenient.

      What they do instead:

      It is not rare that once you become so brilliant, you tend to automatically castigate the opinion of everyone around you. Not only that, but you may often find yourself rejecting a good proposal or initiative simply because you are not the one who thought of it.

      Smart people rely on their reasoning and if too much pride interferes with it, it is a feature not worth nurturing.

      18. They don’t put all the eggs in one basket.

      This is an important investment rule, but this is also something we can apply in our daily lives. Never fully invest yourself for the sake of realizing a single idea.

      What they do instead:

      Always have backup plans, alternatives and contingencies etc. It was already established that people may not be impressed with your design, or that something can go wrong if we don’t account for all the variables.

      This doesn’t imply that you should be discouraged and back off when things don’t go as planned, but this matter will be addressed later on.

      19. They don’t lie to themselves that everything will be easy.

      Bright and intelligent people know how to pick themselves up and make a comeback. They work on their confidence and don’t expect things to get easier.

      Smart people love challenges and the thrill that comes from overcoming an obstacle. Having some downtime is refreshing, but confronting and tackling new problems is what they live for.

      What they do instead:

      Don’t live in the illusion that life will be easy. Your efforts may be thwarted on more than one occasion.

      Even when things appear to be easy, don’t drop your guard – it’s always quiet before the storm.

      20. They don’t take unnecessary risks

      We all found ourselves, at some point in life, when we could have taken a risk in exchange for a greater gain. In the event you are an adrenalin junkie, a motto like “high risk, high reward” is not a bad thing to live by.

      Being smart and calculated very often contradicts with this approach, since it is not implied that you won’t face risks, but it limits you to only those that are necessary.

      What they do instead:

      Even small risks with significant gain, like lottery, are a poor choice; if you have some extra cash, save it and wait for it to accumulate. Do not depend on people who are more or less strangers or wildcards, and stay away from the fluctuating stock markets.

      Work hard to achieve success – don’t be tantalized by the possibility to change your life overnight.

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      Djordje Todorovic

      Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

      20 Things Smart People Don’t Do (And What They Do Instead) 5 Tips on How to be a More Responsible Person 7 Essential Tools Every Serious Startup Needs 7 Common Struggles of Minimalist Beginners and How to Overcome Them 4 Shortcuts to Self Improvement for Tech Junkies and Nerds

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      Last Updated on September 17, 2018

      How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

      How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

      Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

      Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

      All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

      Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

      How bad really is multitasking?

      It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

      Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

      This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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      We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

      So what to do about it?

      Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

      Now, forget about how to multitask!

      Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

      1. Get enough rest

      When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

      This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

      When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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      2. Plan your day

      When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

      When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

      Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

      3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

      I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

      I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

      Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

      4. When at your desk, do work

      We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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      Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

      5. Learn to say no

      Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

      Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

      By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

      6. Turn off notifications on your computer

      For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

      Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

      7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

      Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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      You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

      The bottom line

      Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

      Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

      Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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