Five Ways to Be Smart about Being Dumb


by Kanysha Burton

Are you a smart person?  Do you find yourself watching TV or reading a book and saying things like, I could have written that? This is the kind of thing smart people say all the time.  Ten years from now they’ll be watching a different show, reading a different book and saying the same thing.  But they’ll never do it.  Why?  Because smart people over-think everything.  Instead of actually doing it, smart people will talk themselves right out of the opportunity that lies before them.  While smart people are sitting around not doing and not taking chances, even on the side, a dumb person with less talent and business sense is out there taking risks and trying something because dumb person doesn’t have their smarts to fall back on.

But dumb person has something smart person doesn’t have and that is a lack of commitment to the beaten path.  You see smart person, chances are even if you’re single, you’re married to the beaten path.  The beaten path has treated you well and gotten you this far in life.  You have a bunch of degrees and a successful cookie cutter job that only beaten path could have provided you. Beaten path has been good to you.  So why are you still dreaming?  The fact is that you want more than beaten path can offer you.  The two of you have grown apart, and if you stay, you will only build resentment for it.  Dumb person wrote that successful screenplay because they had no other choice.  They never had a good relationship with the beaten path that always catered to YOU smart person.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  You don’t have to spend the rest of your life being tortured by dumb person’s success.
The best part about being smart is that your intelligence is exactly what’s needed in a lot of these ventures you’re too risk averse to do.  The first thing you need to learn is how to prevent being smart from holding you back.  In other words, you need to learn how to make what works for dumb people work for you too.

1.  Do First, Think Second: You know why dumb people are always doing dumb things?  Because they’re not afraid.  Dumb people are like children, they either don’t have a lot of experience or they don’t learn from it so they do wild stuff and fail and do some more wild stuff and fail again. . .  until they succeed.  Being smart is really about experience.  Smart people have a lot of experiences to draw on from all the books they read and they draw on it so much that they begin to operate out of negativity and fear – two things that will prevent you from ever doing something.  Smart people should act more like dumb people and dive into something without harping on how hard it’s going to be and how few people succeed.  Stop thinking about it ALL the time and just DO IT.  Allow yourself the opportunity to do something as if you were going to have a 100% success rate.  Name one thing that has a 100% success rate!  Nothing!  You can’t do it smart person, and that’s why you have to be dumb sometimes, to trick your mind into giving you an opportunity.
2.  Do More, Prepare Less: Afraid of diving in?  Dumb people always dive into something head first without any preparation or planning and then have to learn the hard way things they could have known had they been more prepared.  Do you want to go in just a little bit prepared so that you don’t waste your time?  Of course you do, to not do so would be dumb, right smart person?  Well here’s the thing.  You’re smart, you want to research your opportunity first so DO IT.  Wait, this is a contradiction to number one right?  No! Number one is about giving yourself the chance to even start.  This is about not letting being smart prevent you from finishing.  So do your research, do your Google searches, interview people and give yourself a DEADLINE (oh yes smart person, no more delaying to ponder smart things, you are on a time schedule!).  By this date, all research must be done and even if not complete I will do it anyway.  Even if I haven’t found the perfect web designer, I will do.  Even if I haven’t read the holy grail of How To books on the subject yet, I will do.  The point is that you can give yourself the time to prep if the prepping doesn’t become another smart person crutch to avoid doing.
3.  Start Small, Progress Small: So the task seems grand, you want to open a restaurant, start a website, or your own clothing line.  Many dumb people start large undertakings, take on too much too soon and they fail miserably because of it.  So be smart about it!  Proceed in small steps. What’s the very first step you need to take?  Write it down.   Give yourself a deadline.  Take it.  What’s the next step you need to take?  Write that down, give yourself another deadline and cross it off the list.  Give yourself a small task to be accomplished every day, every week, or every month, depending on the size of your project.  Remember the smaller you make each task, the more likely you are to accomplish something every day, which means that every day you have a reason to be proud of yourself for working towards your dreams.
4.  Be Accountable:Sometimes dumb people make dumb decisions because they act as if they’re not accountable to anyone but themselves.  Being accountable only to oneself as a smart person doesn’t work because it’s YOU smart person talking yourself out of the opportunity in the first place.  So here’s a way to be both dumb and smart about accountability.  Find one person who understands your goal and tell them that you’re serious about accomplishing it and then be accountable to them and only them.  Forget about everybody else; don’t even feel obliged to tell other people what you’re doing unless it furthers your goals.  Protect your dream and use your newfound accountability to motivate and guide you to the finish line.

5.  Don’t Give up!: The thing about dumb people is that they are extremely persistent in their dumbness.  Well there is something very noble about persistence, so try it on for size smart person.  Instead of giving up at the first sign of a challenge, adjust course and forge ahead.  Remember dumb people do the SAME dumb thing the SAME dumb way.   You smart person, are allowed to keep at your goal.  Obstacles aren’t an indication that it isn’t meant for you, but maybe you need to get a different mentor/coach, a new website, a new business plan, etc.  Here’s where being smart really comes in handy.  If you’re having problems, follow this method – observe, analyze, adjust.  Figure out what’s wrong, figure out how to fix it, and fix it.  And most importantly, don’t give up!

Kanysha Burton is a bicoastal attorney and writer currently working on two major passion projects – her first novel and her second blog post.  She is in the process of radical mind conditioning by believing and acting on the idea that your dreams are attainable and worthy of your time and effort.

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