You might be incredibly smart, with the IQ score and the degrees to prove it. You might have scored impressive grade point averages all through school. You might hold a very high-level job or make a huge amount of money – both indications of smartness. Smart is as smart does, though. Smart people tend to forget simple things that aren’t about being smart but are extremely important to a happy and successful life.
Here are seven simple things that smart people often forget:
1. Make time for people important to you
Our society values success – on the job and monetary success. Sure, we value family and social success too, but it doesn’t bring bragging rights like the first two.
If you don’t put friends and family first, they might slip to second, third or even last place. At the end of your life, it’s going to be the people who matter more than any success on the job or in your bank account. It’s one of the most important simple things smart people often forget.
2. Success doesn’t necessarily equal happiness
It is very common to expect things that make us successful in making us happy. You might have a high-level job with many people reporting to you or a big corner office. If your favorite activity is hiking, though, the corner office may not be enough to make you happy.
3. Keep a sense of proportion
The world has its ups and downs. Sure, the economy is pretty good right now. Five years ago, not so much. And eight years ago? The economy threw many people out of work or even into foreclosure of their homes. The economic picture changes. Too much focus on whether times are good or bad can affect your mental equilibrium.
Plus, it’s just a waste of energy. Whatever is going on now, it’s going to change. Learn to ride the ups and downs happily.
4. Everyone makes mistakes
If you’re very smart, it could be you don’t make many mistakes. It could be that you don’t think you’re supposed to make any. As a result, you make life very hard for yourself and the people around you. Why? Because everyone makes mistakes. It’s not possible to get through life without them.
A really smart way to think about mistakes is like a window. They open you to more learning and more experience. They make you better, not worse.
5. A college education is not the same as being smart
Think to complete college successfully is necessary for being a smart person? We have four words for you. Bill Gates. Steve Jobs.
Neither of these entrepreneurs– arguably two of the smartest guys in recent history – finished college. It didn’t stop them from being thoughtful, innovative and smart.
One of the related takeaways from this observation? Take the time to be nice to everyone. The secretaries at work. The folks who fix your furnace. They are just as smart and just as important as you are.
6. Envying what other people have is a waste of time
Life has challenges. Every life. The person you envy for effortlessly making small talk, for example, may envy your ability to rack up six-figure sales. The person whose Audi you envy may secretly want a Jeep or a mountain bike just like yours. Don’t throw time away envying what other people have. It’s a true waste of time and energy.
7. Habits can be changed – even harmful ones
Successful people often fuel their success with good habits. Nearly half of life is following habitual routes. At times, though, habits – like addiction to alcohol, drugs or food – are harmful. What happens then?
Here’s the thing. You can use the same energy that went into establishing a habit to change it. The addiction cycle is three-part. First, there is a cue or trigger, whether behavior or a situation you want to escape. Second, you reward yourself with a substance that makes you feel better (a drink or a cookie) or an activity that perks you up (shopping). Third, that substance or behavioral becomes habitual. You can’t stop.
It doesn’t take a high IQ to get yourself out of an addictive pattern or to understand and rid yourself of habits that may be complicating your life. It takes recognizing your pattern and working to change it. You need to think about what your triggers are.
Bring them into consciousness by writing them down. Then, think about a behavior that would satisfy you but does not involve an addictive activity.
To change that cycle, you can modify the substance or activity. Chew carrots instead of a cookie if eating relieves stress. Run or walk instead of shop compulsively.
Smart people often overlook simple things. You might equate success with happiness, or ignore those closest to you, thinking they’ll always be there. You might focus on current situations or on other people’s goodies and not your own. You might think destructive habits can never be broken. Don’t overlook the simple things that can make your life much better.
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