Why Stupid People Succeed More Often Than You
A friend of mine says the same thing when confronted with people enjoying success: “Why do so many stupid people get ahead in this world?”
It’s the latest pop sensation chewing bubblegum. The new loudmouthed sales rep who’s landed a big deal, or the CEO who doesn’t even know when to use “your” and “you’re”.
Upon closer inspection though, he doesn’t really think they are stupid. They just seem like that to him. They’re loud, unrestrained and have no problem laughing at themselves.
To people who consider themselves smart, it’s easier to call someone too direct and outgoing “simple-minded”. Surely, the smartest men are composed, calm and weigh every word before they speak.
Well, no. And even if they were, for the sake of argument — so what?
It’s a Defense Mechanism, Stupid
I bet you think you’re smart. Most of us do. I bet you’ve seen someone you feel much smarter than, yet this moron has hordes of followers, a seven-figure income and an Instagram account full of pools and beautiful people. Annoying, isn’t it?
No wonder we like calling them stupid. They got lucky. How else would someone who doesn’t even read get so far ahead in life?
“We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like.” — Jean Cocteau
They don’t let fear hold them back. They don’t second guess themselves every waking second. They don’t like awake all night losing sleep over that one silly thing they said earlier. Fear or regret is not going to stop them from going after what they crave.
And if they fail? They try something different next time.
Achieving something involves some risk. If you dwell upon every aspect of every possible outcome (because you’re so “smart”), you won’t risk it. The successful ones are the ones who failed until one time, they didn’t.
Don’t be a Dick
If you see yourself as smart and self-aware, it might be one of the things that keep you from going where you want to be. Being too self-aware makes you less likeable, but you might also happen to overthink everything.
Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has several times admitted he doesn’t read books. He acts on his ideas instead of pondering too long on his next move. Often he fails, but that’s OK because he loves to lose as well.
This makes him an easy target for high brow intellectuals who laugh at such attitudes.
“Smart” in this context only means you think yourself smarter than you are. Which kind of makes you a dick.
The stupid people are better than others at a few things. They’re usually better at social interactions because they’re not scared of looking stupid. Self-irony is a likeable trait, and this also makes them better at self-promotion.
Not worrying about making a flawless impression, they often also find it easier to ask for help. “Hey, you’re better than me at this — could you give me a hand?”.
Being likeable, fearless and getting people on your team is a great recipe for achieving your goals.
Stupid people aren’t letting fear control them. Stupid people ship. Are these “stupid people” stupid at all?
Join the Stupids
So many are filled with ambition but ruled by fear.
Their inner voice is telling them they’re going to fail and that they’ll make a fool of themselves. The “stupids” either don’t hear this voice or choose to ignore it. They act, and either fail or succeed. You envy the ones that don’t fail, and you mock the ones who do. Unlike you, both categories have actually done something. So you tell yourself the successful ones got lucky and the “failures” — well, they prove your point, don’t they.
Getting somewhere has little to do with being smart. It has to do with making something instead of making plans. It has to do with seeing failure as an opportunity to learn.
I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have
Stupid people and stupid fears
So, someone successful said something stupid and now you can mock them.
No one should get a free pass for making thick-witted statements. We should point out falsehoods and errors, that’s an important job we all have. And I’m not saying being fearless alone will grant you success. You need a whole basket of other skills to go with that. But that basket is useless if fear is blocking all its potential.
So many are filled with ambition but ruled by fear.
So get your facts straight. Prepare, practice and improve. Be so good they can’t ignore you. But don’t let fear get in your way of going after what you want. If you let your inner voice hold you back, at least don’t blame it on this “unfair world” for rewarding stupidity.
The Man in the Mirror
I’m taking a long, hard look in the mirror. You may have noticed in this article I’ve used the word “they” when referring to the so-called stupids. Meaning I’m one of the others, who have found it easier to call it luck and assume the world rewards stupidity.
The friend I mentioned in the introduction? That used to be me.
I don’t like Gary Vaynerchuk because he’s loud, says things that aren’t correct and keeps interrupting his guests. It’s annoying. He’s got a narrow-minded view on the absolute power of social media. He believed “emotional intelligence” to be the same as intuition. But he’s not stupid — he’s different from me.
I’ve harbored these thoughts for so many years I’ve accepted them as truths. I’m writing this because I had a rude awakening.
I need to become stupider. I need to quiet the voices in my brain telling me not to publish this article. To avoid sharing my ideas with the rest of the world. They might be… judged. This is part of the reason this The Neural Grind exists, as a platform for me to grow. To put something out there for someone to criticize.
Consequently, I ask you to leave a stupid comment below showing everyone you’re not afraid to tell it like it is. Think I’m stupid for having been too ignorant to accept others success as hard work and persistence? Are too many imbeciles rewarded for producing nothing of value? Do all the millions of dollars spent on air-headed pop stars singing meaningless lyrics prove the old me was right? Think this whole post is stupid? Shoot.
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