Are You Too Smart for Your Own Good?
Are you sometimes too smart for your own good? Most of us
are at times. We're so smart that we can easily explain why we
can't do certain things or accomplish this or that goal. For
example, a man might have a fully developed and logical argument
for why he can't make a living as an author. A woman may have
virtual certainty about why she can't be a high-paid stock market
analyst. This happens even when--or especially when--people want
the things they say they can't have or do.
When we explain why we can't do something, we could be right.
But we could also just be afraid to take action; afraid to do
what needs to be done to accomplish a goal. Failure is possible
too--it always is--and we might not want to face that possibility.
But any of the things we say cannot be done have probably been
done by people with less intelligence and fewer skills.
How do we know when it is our fears doing the "reasoning"
which explains what can't be done? In other words, how do we
know when we are being too smart for our own good?
Here's an interesting experiment you might try. Pick something
that you have said or felt you can't do, but which you might
secretly like to do "if it was possible." Now, imagine
for a moment that a crazy wealthy man came to you and asked about
your impossible goal. After hearing what you have to say, he
makes you an offer. He says he will give you a million dollars
to spend a week developing a plan for achieving that goal that
can't be achieved. He makes it clear that you will not have to
do a thing toward the goal other than lay out a feasible plan
for its achievement on paper.
Could you do that? Probably. In fact, I suspect that almost
everyone with a "can't be done" goal would suddenly
find the reasons why it actually is possible and the ways it
might be done. For a million dollars most would write that paper
and make it convincing, don't you think?
I also suspect that one's entire view of what is possible
(or at least the view one presents to others) would probably
change as the result of this exercise. You might want to see
if my suspicion is true. You might want to spend some time writing
a plan for how to do that thing you say you can't do--even though
you'll have to do it "for free."
So, are you correct in all your "can't do" reasoning?
Or are you too smart for your own good? I leave you with four
1. What have you claimed you could not do that you might actually
like to do if you saw a clear path to the goal?
2. Could you imagine a plan to get there (and write it down)
if you had to?
3. If you "turn around" people's "can't do"
claims by asking how they would if they could, will that alter
their view enough to alter their actions?
4. If you could do that impossible thing, how would you do