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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.

      More by this author

      Djordje Todorovic

      Blogger, Gamer Extraordinaire

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      Last Updated on July 17, 2019

      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

      What happens in our heads when we set goals?

      Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

      Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

      According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

      Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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      Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

      Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

      The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

      Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

      So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

      Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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      One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

      Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

      Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

      The Neurology of Ownership

      Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

      In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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      But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

      This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

      Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

      The Upshot for Goal-Setters

      So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

      On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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      It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

      On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

      But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

      More About Goals Setting

      Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

      Reference

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