Stupidity makes everything in society harder.
Go into an office building and notice the hundreds of warning signs. Everything from “watch your step” to “don’t bang your head on this wall.”
Funny observation: at the last office I worked in there was a sign that said “if you’re frustrated, bang head here” with a target.
No one knew who put it there or whether it was serious. The sign survived 5+ years without being removed.
Stupid people make life exhausting. Here’s what the ones I’ve met do (avoid).
Consistent outrage at every damn thing
As a writer I’m exposed to social media more than the average person. There’s one thing I’ve noticed: stupid people are consistently outraged at everything.
“I can’t believe the president said that. How dare they?”
“Elon Musk is going to do what? Ahhhh…society is so broken!”
“Kim Kardashian did it again. Who’s she to give me life advice!”
Everything these strange breed of writers publish is full of outrage. When they’re looking to slowly finish up their workday, they head to twitter for some micro-outrage.
You look at their replies and they’ve literally sat at their desk for an hour while eating potato chips, spewing outrage on everybody who dares tweet anything. Oddly, they find a way to add politics to every discussion.
Stay clear of the outrage venom. Or you’ll get bitten by a hate snake.
Sustained outrage makes you stupid — Kevin Kelly
They send useless hate emails with a fake email address
I got a nice one today (thankfully it’s rare). A reader named “H” sent me an email that began with “I f-ing hate you.”
Obviously I was thrilled to open such a delightful message.
They went on to call me a s*xpat (never heard the term) because my wife is asian. She ended the message with “from an asian woman.”
I thought I’d reply to the hate with a little kindness — that’s the best solution in these situations. I then realized her email address was fake: firstname.lastname@example.org
So they achieved nothing other than to start their day angry. The anger will now flow into the rest of their day, making them a human few want to be around. This is how incurable loneliness can happen.
They have parties and forget about the neighbors
My last apartment was close to a major university. Because of my thriftiness, I got a discount for being surrounded by college kids.
One neighbor took me by surprise.
She planned to have a big party to celebrate the end of exams. She left a note in the public elevator to let all the neighbors know.
We’ll try not to be noisy and every guest will take of their shoes in the hallway. We aim to be done by 9 pm. If the noise gets too annoying please knock on my door so I can ask the guests to be quieter. Sorry for the inconvenience. Hope you understand. Your loving neighbor Lilly.
Her IQ went up tenfold in the minds of all the neighbors. She showed a high amount of selflessness. Contrasts that with yesterday…
The father next door had a wild party.
He hired marquees and set them up in the backyard. The sun was barely out and he was already drinking huge amounts of alcohol in front of his two kids, both under five.
Our estate is medium-density housing so we’re intimately close to every neighbor. He told no one about the party, and it went until well past midnight.
He chose to crank up her home theatre system complete with two large subwoofers. Because all the townhouses touch each other, the walls shook all day from the sound of her bass.
He didn’t care.
One neighbor knocked on the door to have a few words. His response was “Woooooo we’re having a party and don’t care!”
We all have to let our hair down so it’s hard to be angry with him. You just try to pretend the walls aren’t shaking while you sleep.
Selfishness is a sign of stupidity. Drunkenness takes stupidity to the next level.
They drive a vehicle with a loud exhaust
Every country has a street where fast cars do laps.
In Australia it’s called Chapel Street. When I visited America it was Rodeo Drive, LA. I would walk with my friend down the street. We’d be eating a delightful cup of gelato and talking about life, while butterflies flew by.
Then VROOOM VROM VROM V-V-V-V-VROMMMMM would approach. We wouldn’t be able to hear each other speak anymore. We’d place a bookmark in our conversation.
For the next few minutes the show pony in their fast car would rev their engine in bumper-to-bumper traffic. As soon as you could hear the birds chirping again, they’d thump the gas pedal to destroy the silence.
The exhaust sound translated (loosely) into “please give me attention, I’m desperate for it and my Instagram account got deleted.”
The worst is Harley Davidson motorcycles. They’re the one mode of transport that the EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) seems to conveniently not police the exhausts of.
I often joke with my wife that a loud exhaust owned by a man is an extension of his manhood (or lack of). She hates it when I say that.
Loud exhausts disturb the peace. That should be a criminal offense.
They lock their ideas up in a vault
As a banker I dealt with a lot of tech companies.
A tech bro would schedule a meeting with me and I’d sit down to listen. Once we got past the hello part, they’d slap an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) in front of my face.
“I can’t share my idea with you until you sign it. I need to be sure you won’t share it with anyone or steal it.”
I’d say “sorry our lawyers don’t less us sign these.” At this point I’d simply walk away. The tech bro would come chasing after me. Nine times out of ten they’d give up on the NDA.
What I found entertaining was most of these ideas were nothing more than ripoffs of existing ideas. It typically went like this: “Imagine boats. Boats everywhere. We’re going to be the Uber … but for boats.”
LOL. Genius, right?
Smart people don’t hoard ideas. They share them. Because execution is all that matters, not copycat ideas.
The smartest thinker will always lose to the dumbest Do-er — Lawrence King
They think they’re always right
One former direct-report of mine loved betting on the horses.
I used to try to convince him to put at least put some of his paycheck into proven investments like stocks and real estate.
He insisted on being right. I challenged him to try an experiment, and place equal amounts of money into both an index fund and his favorite horses.
He wouldn’t do it. He’d argue with me about how betting on sports is a way better approach, but you have to know what you’re doing.
What I found bizarre is we’d always hear about his massive wins. But he never spoke about any of the losses.
Always being right is a curse. Especially if you’re doing something dumb like betting, where the odds are purposely stacked against you to take your money slowly the more you play.
They value ‘experts’
If you’ve ever worked in corporate you would have had consultants join your team to do certain work. Your boss will call them ‘experts’ and tell you why you must help them.
Then the experts will ask you questions for the next few months to figure out how your business works. They don’t actually know anything. You end up doing the work and babysitting them, while they take the credit. Nice.
Experts are overrated.
Spend time with experimenters who become smarter through experience and data they collect.
Smart people understand the millions of ways they’re stupid. We all have our moments. What’s bizarre is the smartest people I’ve ever met train their minds to love being wrong.
Being wrong gives them a dopamine spike because they understand they’re closer to an aha moment. So the truth becomes addictive and makes them smarter.
Get addicted to being wrong.