10 Reasons Why Smart People Do Dumb Things
I have compiled a Top 10 list of why I think smart people do dumb things. In no particular order…
1. Poor Perspective or Lack of Objectivity: Didn’t see the forest for the trees. Need to step back and get a view from 20,000 feet so to speak. Been there!
2. Pressure to Perform: It is usually from within ourselves or outside pressure from supervisor or company. Often happens when we feel the pressure to fix a problem, or get back on schedule. Been there!
3. Interruptions and Distractions: Things are often on our mind other than the task at hand. Not paying attention. Resuming work when going on/coming from vacation, or even lunch. Reminds me of Eastern flight 401 being distracted by a burned out light bulb. Been there!
4. Poor Situational Awareness: Where I think I am vs. where I actually am. We fight to be right, so we rationalize away hints and clues that keep trying to tell us, “Hey Dummy, you’re a smart person doing something dumb.” Been there!
5. Making Assumptions: We know what happens when we “ASS-U-ME”. When we make decisions based on one or a series of assumptions, the decision to act in a certain manner may seem perfectly logical. BUT, if the assumptions are wrong, the results of our actions may be disastrous. Been there!
6. Ego-Ability Exceeds Capability: Overconfidence in our ability to perform an action. It is usually prefaced with “Watch this” or “I’ll be careful”. Reminds me of the Bud Holland B-52 crash, or being a teenager again. Been there!
7. Snap Decisions: Are usually driven by panic or pure emotions. Acting without processing logical or rational thoughts. Slow down! Take a breath. Think. Communicate with others… then proceed. Been there!
8. Complacency: “The Silent Killer” has many facets, yet it has tagged many smart people. Reminds me of the Thunderbird accident. “Ho-hum” routine jobs hurt smart people every day. Pay attention. Been there!
9. Lack Of A Moral Compass: Bernie Madoff and Enron are examples of smart people or entities who did dumb things. I don’t steal from people, but I need to keep adjusting my moral compass when I run a yellow light… or speed… or “text and drive”… or… Been there!
10. Drugs & Alcohol: This certainly impairs ones ability to think or act smartly. Dumb acts have been committed by many smart people due to impaired thinking/ability. Been there, and, thank goodness, I don’t go there anymore!
What is interesting about each of these is… When a smart person is doing something dumb, they either do not realize it OR they don’t think they will get caught / hurt / killed!