How to be Smart in a World Full of Dumb People

Living a good life is pretty simple. Just don’t be a dumb ass.

Ayodeji Awosika
8 min readMay 31, 2020

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Now, when I say dumb, I don’t mean lacking intelligence. For the most part, humans can be very creative, intelligent, adaptable, resourceful, and resilient. But they also do a lot of dumb shit.

Your job is to avoid these common pitfalls. If you can simply do that, you’ll be miles ahead of the pack.

I’ll share some concrete examples soon, but when I say dumb, some of the things that fall under this category are:

  • Being overly focused on things that don’t matter
  • Making decisions that compound and get worse over time
  • Almost anything under the label of instant gratification
  • Blindly following … anything
  • Always thinking at a surface level about everything

The common person, you, likely squander much of your real intelligence by doing dumb shit. You are infinitely capable, yet you find yourself continuing to fall into these traps.

Once you learn to avoid these traps, though, you start to operate at a different level. You see the games being played around you.

As Robert Greene advises, “You think as you like, but behave like others.” You start to do most of your work in the background, building your empire and dream, while everyone else focuses on dumb shit all day long.

When I use the word “smart” I simply mean “be aware.” Smart people make observations about what seems to work well and what definitely doesn’t work well. That’s it.

Here’s how to play the game.

Dumb People Want to Be Right, Smart People Want to Get it Right

“The need to be right is a sign of a vulgar mind.” — Albert Camus

People often can’t get out of their way because they can’t accept what is or seems to be true over what they wish was true.

If you just look at our discourse, it’s obvious that few people actually want to find solutions to the problems that ail us. They just want to win. This is…

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Ayodeji Awosika

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