How To Destupify Yourself In 10 Hard Steps
1. Embrace Your Limits
There is a long list of people who are veritable titans of their industry, who –at the first glance- didn’t stand a chance of amounting to anything.
And then they decided to embrace their limitations and became legends.
Everybody talks about Louis Armstrong’s trumpet playing prowess. The man invented the High C. But what about his singing?
There isn’t a vocal coach in the world that would encourage the ol’ Satchmo to try and make a living as a singer. And yet, there is no one with a more distinct sounding voice.
Here is another example:
Some people have youth, some have beauty. I have menace. ~Edward G. Robinson
Mr. Robinson turned his lack of youth and beauty into a prolific career playing a gangster in a series of movie roles on the big screen.
2. If You’re Only Half Smart, Be Half Smart Twice
You may not be great at one thing, but you might be good at a couple of things. And as disparate as those things may seem at first, why not try putting them together.
I know my limitations. I could never make it as a writer, and I could never make it as a fine artist. Thus the world of cartooning was waiting for me to come along. I have plenty of partial ability. ~Said the Pulitzer Prize-winning American cartoonist Berke Breathed in his Interview with Time Magazine.
3. Make Faster Mistakes
Everybody fails. Since the day we’re born and try to learn to walk, we fail. Somehow, when we’re adult, we start to take our failures personally.
We didn’t get mad at gravity for falling when we were 2, why get down about it now?
Failures, like successes, happen to us all. You shouldn’t be taking either of them personally.
4. Work Outside of Time
We rush around by the minute, charge by the hour, rely on nanosecond technology, as if that timing was truly important to a life intelligently lived. ~Bob Fenster
To be smart is to create. And to create we must stare into space, not stare into time.
The importance of time has been invented sometime in the 17th century when the minute hand was added to a clock. Until then, the hour hand was all that was needed.
Before a watch was even invented, meeting someone at dusk was specific enough.
The minute hand is used to keep us busy so that we wouldn’t notice that we have nothing to do.
5. If You’re Not Smart Enough To Create, Steal.
One of the best selling books of all time is Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People (Amazon Affiliate Link)
I’ve talked to people who claimed that this book changed their life. If you haven’t read it, I warmly recommend it.
The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. ~ Dale Carnegie
6. Ask Too Many Questions
Not only of others, but also of yourself.
Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as concise evidence that you are wonderful. ~ Ann Landers
7. Seek Out and Embrace Your Critics
The online world is filled with “me too”, “great post”, and “I agree”, sycophants.
I’m not suggesting we become a giant asshole, nor do I suggest that we belittle or disrespect anyone. What I am suggesting is that you seek out and embrace your critics.
They are the only ones not blowing smoke up your ass.
8. Break Your TV
Sometimes I write things I hope to do. This is one of those things.
TV teaches the dismissal of focus, disengagement from the thinking process, and a reliance on easy answers to misstated questions. Glen Beck anyone?
Our brain doesn’t distinguish between what happens on TV and what happens to us in real life. TV works because our brain places us into the center of the action as if the storylines are happening to us.
Because we grew up with TV, we’ve conditioned ourselves to make a superficial distinction between what goes-on on the screen and real life. But when first movies were shown in theaters across US, people would hide under the seats when the locomotive would approach on screen.
9.You Only Have To Be Smarter Than Your Enemies
Florida State Troopers put up a sign on a highway frequented by drug runners that said “Narcotics Inspection Ahead.” Then they hid near the sign and waited.
Any time a car made a sudden U-turn immediately after the sign, State Troopers would swoop in, pull the car over and search it for drugs.
The campaign was a smashing success.
10. Learn Plumbing
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. ~ John W. Gardner former secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Stop when you run out of things to learn.
This post was loosely based on a very funny and thought-provoking book The Stupid History of The Human Race (Amazon Affiliate Link) by Bob Fenster
I hope that some day, instead of saying good afternoon, people will say “so…what are you learning today?”