Smart people don’t think others are stupid.
And I thought, uh… yes they do. Everyone does. So I tweeted:
Smart people don’t think others are stupid. They know.
OK, I know, lame, not funny. But still, at one time or another, everyone thinks that at least a few other people are stupid, or at least their actions are, or their ignorance about something is. That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone thinks they are better than everyone else, that the human population is made up of arrogant snobs.
However, I would say that a smart person is nice and polite to everyone. Just listen to those Leo Laporte calls in my last blog post. He’s talking to people who obviously don’t have much of a clue about certain things. In the privacy of my home, I can laugh my head off. Are those people stupid? Or is that way too harsh, and we should try to understand where they’re coming from? After all, not all people have nearly the same level of experience with computers… and if Leo Laporte, who’s making money off of people’s ignorance (you don’t call in to have a question answered if you’re not ignorant about something, and we’re all ignorant about somethings), started laughing or belittling his more-ignorant-than-usual callers, people might fear calling him and he wouldn’t be in business for very long.
In other words, it’s just good manners to not treat other people as if you think they are stupid, even if that’s what you think, and everyone is bound to think it now and then.
Also tweeted by Derek Sivers was this article: Are you capable of being ruthless to get ahead?
Go ahead and read the article, it’s a pretty quick and easy read.
OK, are you done? What took you so long? You must be stupi… uh… I mean… very good.
There’s nothing really innovative about a person like Saul. There have been people like him since the beginning of mankind. There are probably monkeys like him. And while I envy their power of success, I ask myself: could I do something like that?
Well, if I wanted to, I don’t think I have the social skills. I don’t think I have what it takes to pretend to be interested in what someone else is interested in to get ahead. I’m just not sure I could make up something interesting to say about any topic on the spot. I could pretend to be interested in some people, if such an act is mainly comprised of asking people questions about themselves. (Some people feel honored and important when others ask a lot of questions about them, others can get annoyed and suspicious.) But I couldn’t keep up the act that I’m interested in, say, fishing, or NASCAR, or gospel music. Perhaps trying to research those things to get myself ahead would simply be too much of a sacrifice of my time.
But I also just think it’s wrong. I mean, isn’t that using people? As much as I might joke about thinking other people are stupid, I could never in good conscience become someone’s friend for only the sake of business.
And I know that that might be how a lot of businesses work, especially when there’s a lot of power and money involved. Perhaps in Hollywood, where rich producers and celebrities can never know the difference between true fans and the people who just want to kiss their… you know.
So maybe not playing that social game is bad for business and won’t do you any favors in terms of getting ahead.
But, come on, wouldn’t businesses everywhere be better if no one was being “ruthless,” if no one was playing some social game, if people were pursuing their true interests and not trying to climb some power ladder?
And I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that agree with me, and those are the people I’d rather work with.
But only if they’re interested in Mozart.