Maybe it Doesn't Take Brains to be Smart

Geoff Smith Portrait

BY Geoff Smith


I'm always impressed that most people have thought seriously about what it takes to be successful, in business and in life. It’s terrific that there are has so many individuals who look in the mirror and …… think.

Everyone has their own list, and one criterion is usually present: In order to be really successful, you have to be pretty smart. That is, it’s hard to be a huge success if you are, you know, dumb.

Now I’m thinking that notion itself might be dumb. I see really smart people do stupid things all the time. It dumbfounds me. I’m going to suggest they do these things for one reason: They lack the courage of their beliefs, the guts to stand up. They don’t want to stand alone. They know what they think and believe, but their friendships and their status, and their desire to avoid confrontation, matter more.

I have reading and thinking about people who have inspired me. If you are a ‘boomer’, you might agree that Pierre Trudeau was really smart, but mostly he was principled and fearless. Also that Ronald Reagan wasn’t perhaps so brilliant, but was clearly both principled and courageous. Both had detractors and supporters, both were giants.

Perhaps it doesn’t take brains to be really smart. Perhaps it takes guts, the simple determination to stand up for what you believe is right, to make the tough call. Regardless of what anyone else thinks; or the short term stress.

Just a thought.