POST FEATURED FROM ngcareers.com Article written by: Stellamaris Obomanu
What makes an individual smart?
That is probably the first question that merits an answer.
Is smartness measured by the abundance of facts that one can
memorize? Or is it about the above average, or exceptional, IQ? It
could also pertain to wisdom; that ability to make a sound decision at
the crucial moment, or knowing how to make the best out of the bad
Perhaps 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.
It is very challenging to pinpoint what exactly is responsible for
that achievement and wellbeing of someone who is deemed as smart and
successful. 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 avoid these negative things, the rest will come naturally.
They are not wasteful
Prudence as a virtue is not to be mistaken for greed or
tightfistedness. 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.
There are meaningless expenses can be easily avoided, and the amount
of money you can save can amount to something rather significant.
Maximize the internet; don’t spend money and time on things of no value,
learn to fully utilize the things you are paying for or have at your
disposal – that’s what being smart is all about.
They don’t rely on good luck
The saying, “Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst” is apt
when you are faced with the decision of what and what not to invest your
time and efforts into something arises. 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 not be the bedrock of your success; it should only take credit for a fragment of it.
Besides, I am yet to find that smart person who would permit luck to
take glory for all their hard work. I mean, when you pour your heart and
soul into achieving your goal, it would be disappointing to give ‘luck’
the title of “major contributor”.
They don’t depend heavily on others
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having friends, family members
or colleagues you can trust and rely on. No man is an island; everyone
should have someone they can count on when the going gets tough. But
heavily relying on someone, however, only portrays you as weak and
spineless. As a smart individual, you should never indulge such a
It is possible to have a brilliant mind, outstanding intelligence,
great personality etc. but if you do not put those traits to good use,
then you will only come off as incompetent. When you are in need of
assistance, pay close attention, 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.
They don’t hesitate to learn from their mistakes
Mistakes are inevitable; they are a part of our lives. Sooner or
later something is bound to go wrong, and shake the very foundation of
our plans and 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 constantly remind us of our flaws, and force us
to mitigate the impact they have on our lives. Honestly, mistakes can
teach us a lot about our lives, and ourselves, but only if we let them.
Learning from your mistakes simply involves finding what is worth
salvaging from the experience, discovering 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.
They don’t give up on their ideas in the face of opposition
I know we have been taught know when to give up and start anew; and
how being too stubborn or pushy will ultimately yield bad results. Well,
a wise and smart person knows when he or she should push and take a
stand firm even when the situation takes a turn for the worst.
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.
If someone wants to discard our efforts 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.
They don’t see themselves as super humans
Nothing drives home this point as much as the story of Shelly’s Frankenstein.
The story tells a wonderful cautionary tale about how even the
brightest among us can suffer a tragic downfall, simply because they
overreached past their limitations. You see, ambition and hard work are
healthy traits and nothing to be ashamed of, but without moderation,
these qualities can be dangerous.
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, we can end up being alienated from our peers, and it
can be sad to have no one you can share your success with.
They don’t allow their pride to get in the way
At this point, I will quote 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.
It is common to find that when you become so brilliant, you tend to
automatically look down and 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, then it is a feature not worth nurturing.
They don’t put all the eggs in one basket
This one needs no explanation. Never fully invest yourself for the
sake of realizing a single idea. Always have backup plans, alternatives,
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.
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.
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 behavior. Perhaps we use these excuses to gain
understanding from others, or to make it easier to forgive ourselves.
Still, 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.
9 Things Smart People Don’t Do
by Stellamaris Obomanu