Recently, a girl told me that she is “stupid”. She said so after making a mistake in English and “stupid” was her automatic reaction as to justify making this mistake. I would not have none of that. I told her:
1 – The world is too complex
There are only so many things we can do in life. We may want to learn to speak English, but English is just one of many languages out there. This is to say that we can never know it all, and even in areas of life that we want to achieve with certainty we will make mistakes. World is just too complex and perfect performance is never guaranteed.
2 – The easiest way to feel “stupid” is to do something new
We are constantly learning new skills. For example, I remember getting upset after missing a series of balls while playing snooker. Then, I realized that I don’t really know how to play snooker, meaning that my bad performance is natural and there is nothing to be upset about. In fact, we all look a bit “stupid” when we are doing something new, whereas we are not experts.
3 – “Natural gift” does not exist
There is a myth out there stating that we are as intelligent as out natural gift. For example, I speak 8 languages, which may lead some people to believe that I have a gift for languages. But, most people don’t realize how many years I spent studying and practicing these languages. Without that practice I doubt I could know all these languages today. In fact, I would bet that majority of people could speak 8 or more languages if they has the same practice as I had in these languages.
4 – All skills (aka intelligence) comes from repetition
Thus, technically speaking we can learn anything, if only we practice it enough. Want to be rich and famous? No problem. Just practice this specific skill enough and eventually you will be as reach as you want to be. Want to be happy, healthy, or social? Do the same process.
5 – Some very intelligent people do the most “stupid” things
Why? Because they are intelligent in some parts of life, but not in others. For example, they may be a great financial success, but have no friends, or have unhealthy bodies. But, even in their strength they can be stupid. This is because of already mentioned complexity, which often does not allow people to have the full information.
6 – “Stupid” on purpose
Sometimes we want to make mistakes in our lives, as without cracking some eggs we can’t make an omelet, so to say. Indeed, if we are to look at the most successful stories out there it is certain that they made many mistakes to reach to their success. Indeed, making mistakes is the only way to grow. Thus, if we want something of significance or to master a skill, we need to make mistakes and to look stupid. The sooner we make them, the faster we learn. As such, it can be advised to make mistakes on purpose as to increase learning speed and to approach “wisdom” faster.
7 – The danger of calling oneself “stupid”
It may sound innocent to call oneself “stupid”, as many people believe that they are saying it half-heartily or as a joke. But, in every joke there is part of reality, as deep inside a person may actually believe that they are so. Furthermore, just the mere fact that these world come out of our mouth, affect our internal sense of happiness and wellbeing. I explain this better in a different post, but for now it is important to understand that negative self-talk leads to a negative self-view, which affects our sense of confidence and general sense of happiness. This is to say that, ideally, we never want to speak any negative worlds, specially about our selves.
8 – What if someone else is calling us “stupid”
This has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with the other person. Even if we make a “mistake”, we already know that the world is too complex to act perfectly inside it. Other people may not know it, or may not care about it. It is simple to call someone a “stupid” rather than try to solve problems in a more mature way. Thus, when they call us stupid they are projecting their own insecurities, misinformation, and weak mind upon us. If we are to accept what they are saying that we become as insecure, misinformed, and weak minded as this other person. In fact, that other person may sound strong in their voice, look, and posture, but don’t be fooled by it. If they are saying negative words, they are actually weak and they are just putting on a façade that hides that weakness.
9 – “Stupid” motivation
I am a strong believer in fact that everyone is trying to teach us something. As such, if someone is calling us “stupid” they are trying to teach us something. Their message is ultimately flawed, because they are coming from a negative energy, but the intention is positive. Indeed, they may even believe that calling a person “stupid” will somehow motivate other person, as it does with some people. Some people will be motivated by this negativity and will want to do something positive about it. And while some people will get motivated by this approach, many other people will be discouraged by it. Thus, while we may call someone stupid in hopes that they will change, only few people will. Thus, we need to be “intelligent” to know when to use this tactic for motivation and when not to do so.
10 – Being “stupid” in your relationships
Often, I hear people tell me that they want a perfect partner. The problem is that no one is perfect. Everyone is flawed and in every relationship there are tensions and problems. Ironically, in the beginning of many relationships people often see only positives in their partners. This is because they are focusing on the positives and are closing their eyes on the negatives. However, after some time, they will eventually see these personal flaws and than many relationships break down. “I won’t make the same mistake twice” they say. But this is a mistake already, because perfection does not exist, and the only thing to do is to accept the imperfect nature of things, including in ourselves and in our partners.
11 – We are all trying to do our best
In principle, we are all trying to do our best to improve all areas of our lives, even if in the end we are doing the most destructive thing possible. Indeed, even if we are taking drugs we see a short-term value of that act, such as the amazing high it will give us, forgetting about long-term destructive consequences of doing drugs. As such, if someone is doing something “stupid”, the reason they are doing it is often because they are misinformed, or they hold wrong values. They are still trying to do their best, which should count for something, but they don’t achieve because something is holding them back.
12 – Behind every big failure there are many small failures
Building on previous point, a major “stupid” act, comes from a composition of small mistakes. A lazy person, for example, simply has many reasons for why they are lazy and why they don’t want to do something they are supposed to do. Thus, to change this person’s behavior we need to look at different reasons why they are lazy. Calling them “stupid” and calling it a day is just a wrong approach.
Lastly, this girl I mention in the beginning of this story is smart. We are all smart. In fact, she speaks 4 languages, in different level of proficiency, one of which was English. The only mistake she is doing is to use a wrong tactic to achieve what she wants. She may think that calling herself “stupid” will motivate her somehow to do better next time, but there are healthier tactics to achieve the same goal. She can, for example, practice English everyday, and take any setback as a motivation to learn more, which is a better way than negatively self-beating, which only leave scars.
There are two ways to learn a skill:
- To self-teach it – which comes from a years of accumulation of information, making mistakes, and being “stupid”, or
- By learning it from an expert – who already did the work this work and did his own share of being “stupid”.
This is a blog about Happiness where I share my knowledge and wisdom of what exactly it takes to be Happy. Thus, if Happiness is your goal, I hope you fill follow this blog and my social media, and see other on point material, like my book or other programs, which are ultimately designed as the most direct way achieve Happiness as soon as possible.