My father’s key to success: Don’t be too smart

Recently I’ve been recounting some very wise words my father shared with me when I asked him how to be successful. I left this comment on a friend’s (protected) blog entry, but I want to repeat it here for others to read:

Oh, K___ … in a sense, you’re lucky you’re only feeling this way now. I went through the “epiphany of stupidity” when I was a young teenager–realizing that I was smart but lazy and when the smart wears off, you start feeling really dumb and incapable.

The beauty and strength of this situation is that you are actually still very smart but now your goals lie outside the bounds of your natural laziness. Being lazy isn’t necessarily bad: it’s what drives really smart people to innovate.

My father, who didn’t complete a formal education, is one of the more successful people I know. One day, I asked him the secret to success and his answer was:

“Don’t be too smart. Be just stupid enough to not realize you’re failing. Then, just keep doing something until you succeed.”

Wiser words were never spoken.

You are fortunate in that you were and still are an exceptionally bright person. The upside here is that you now have the wisdom of your ignorance: you can now see the dirty spots that need cleaning that you couldn’t see before. Set your mind on a goal and be tenacious and persistent until success comes to you. Your ability to achieve is truly without limit.

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  1. And, conversely, people absolutely convinced of their own brilliance can go really, really far down the wrong path.

  2. Mike Paahana says

    my father was not 2 smart 2 but i smart than him so my mother said i better than him

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