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(Repost) Problems Smart People Have...

Photo Credit: Lauren Mancke via Unsplash

I'm a smart person. No, really, I am.

Want to know how smart I am? I am so smart that most often I get in my own way.

So, I read various books, blogs, and emails and also listen to the occasional podcast that remind me to get out of my own way.

Today, Ramit Sethi reminded me to get out of my own way. Just in case you don't know who Ramit is, he's a guy that will teach you to be rich.

You might be wondering what this has to do with accounting, bookkeeping, and your business. The answer is, a lot. It starts with your mindset.

I couldn't keep this to myself. As an aside, I don't earn an income or get bonus points for sharing his post. However, I do believe that we all need to share in order to grow together. Therefore, I hope his message helps you in the way you need. Happy reading!


Originally posted on GrowthLab

Written by Ramit Sethi

Let’s talk about the psychological oddities of smart people.

I love them…

…but sometimes I want to slap them.

They might be really good at their jobs and have gotten great grades, but being smart also leaves people with odd problems in different areas of life.

Thanks to my exposure to classmates at Stanford and some of my CEO friends, I’ve spent a lot of time around smart people…and today, like a freaking zoological study, I get to share their weird psychological curiosities with you.

This is gonna be fun.

So without further ado…let’s talk about SMART PEOPLE PROBLEMS.


Every so often, I speak to the military through a great organization called American Dream U.

A while back, they took us to Fort Bragg to fire M4s, ride around in a tank, and jump out of a 34-foot building (the one they use to train paratroopers).

I don’t love heights, but I thought I’d be fine. 34 feet isn’t that high, right?

As soon as I got to the top and looked over, everything in my body started screaming DON’T JUMP, RAMIT. Why? Oh, I don’t know, maybe it was the thought of being instantly crippled when I landed on the BARBED WIRE…maybe.

But of course I couldn’t say this out loud. I’m a big bad CEO, right?

So I started talking. A LOT. I started saying the procedures out loud to the guy.

“OK, first, fold my arms…neck down…NECK DOWN…keep the arms close…don’t twist…”

The guy looked at me, rolled his eyes, and sighed. As I kept talking, I could just imagine what he was thinking. ‘This goddamn civilian wasting my time when I could be sleeping, goddammit why did I get voluntold to lead these idiots around…’

I was still talking, btw.

Finally he looked at me and screamed “ENOUGH TALKING. TIME TO GO.” And out I went.

Smart people tend to over intellectualize things, sometimes to the point of analysis paralysis. Since they can see lots of angles — in fact, they’ve been rewarded for seeing multiple angles — they often can’t accept what’s in front of them. How could they? They were trained to see beyond the obvious.

This can be ideal when they’re considering complex strategies or life decisions. But when it comes to jumping out of a building, they should just shut up and jump.


Welcome to Ramit’s Lesson #593 on Losers:

No/low standards = loser High standards = awesome Perfectionism = loser

It’s an odd backwards-bending curve, isn’t it?

No/low standards, and you take anything you can get. Think of the people you know in this category, people who have no boundaries or standards. Ugh.

On the other hand, high standards show you have selectivity and options. This is someone who sets boundaries, knows who they are, and is unapologetic about it.


…you have perfectionists.

Perfectionism can be crippling.

I’ve come to realize that it’s the smart person’s version of Fear of Failure.

When you’re surrounded by superstars who achieve amazing things, you don’t want to put crap out into the world. And you definitely don’t want to get a B (nor should you — take the hard class and get a fucking A).

I’ve seen this a lot from people who have highly successful careers. For example, a friend who works at Google earns over $220,000/year. They mentioned they’ve been thinking about starting a business, but:

“If it’s not going to earn 6 figures, why even bother?”

It’s kind of rational, when you think about it. If you make $220K+/year and have very limited time, earning a couple thousand dollars isn’t very compelling. It’s actually a drag on the limited time you have.

Yet you still have to do it.


When I was trying to teach personal finance at Stanford, everyone seemed excited…until it came time to attend the class. (Which was free.)

Click here to read the Smart People Problem #3 and #4. Also sign up to receive updates from Ramit!

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