IDEAS FOR LEADERS: Smart People don’t think others are Stupid

An original post from Derek Sivers

The woman seemed to be making some pretty good points, until she stopped with, “Ugh! Those (people she disagrees with) are just so stupid!!”

She could have said Southerners, Northerners, Republicans, Democrats, Indians, or Americans. It doesn’t matter. She had just proven that she wasn’t being smart.

There are no smart people or stupid people, just people being smart or being stupid.

(And things are often not as they seem, so people who seem to be doing something smart or stupid, may not be. There’s always more information, more context, and more to the story.)

Being smart means thinking things through - trying to find the real answer, not the first answer.

Being stupid means avoiding thinking by jumping to conclusions.

Jumping to a conclusion is like quitting a game : you lose by default.
That’s why saying “I don’t know” is usually smart, because it’s refusing to jump to a conclusion.

So when someone says “They are so stupid!” - it means they’ve stopped thinking. They say it to feel finished with that subject, because there’s nothing they can do about that. It’s appealing and satisfying to jump to that conclusion.

So if you decide someone is stupid, it means you’re not thinking, which is not being smart.

Therefore: smart people don’t think others are stupid.
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This post sends an appropriate message for leaders when interacting with staff and all others. This often gets reflected in the culture of an enterprise when an Organization Optimizer is undertaken.