10 Reasons Smart People Make Stupid Decisions
Marion D. Aldridge
1) Impatience/Impulsiveness—Some sad souls functionally deplete their IQ by impulsiveness. They speak too quickly, without thought. Unwilling to take time to think, they act abruptly, compelled to do something right now. Immediately. Behavior not considered reasonably or thoughtfully is, by definition, ill advised, rash and reckless. Counting to ten was a good idea when we were teenagers and it’s a good idea as we get older. Sleep on it. Think about it. Talk to someone you trust. Slow down.
2) Alcohol and Drugs—The Internet is crowded with sometimes comical, but sometimes awful, “FAIL” sites. After watching a series of YouTube fiascos involving golf carts, ask yourself, “You reckon alcohol was involved?” It might be funny on video, but people make idiotic decisions every day (“Hey, watch this!”) because of diminished faculties due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs. Sometimes it’s witty. Sometimes it’s dangerous and deadly. Substance abusers may have native intelligence, but they are no longer as smart as they think they are.
3) Raging Hormones—Teenagers, of course, don’t always think straight. Their hormones are out of control. Some fully-grown men and women continue to make bad decision after bad decision because they think with body parts other than their brains. This might be called bone-headed.
4) Prejudice—Prejudging a situation or a person before you have factual information is unwise. It’s irrational. Not trusting black people or white people or women or men or doctors or lawyers is a self-limiting choice. A prudent person keeps options open. Always agreeing with a political party or religious dogma or even your best friend is not the path to smart decision-making. If you are open only to half the choices available, then you are a half-wit.
5) Physical (and/or Mental) Laziness—“I don’t want to change. I’m comfortable here on the couch.” The man who would have been the best general in the history of the world may be alive and well in Nebraska, but he never joined the army, so no one knows of his military genius. The woman who would have been the greatest artist ever may have had good intentions, but she never picked up a paintbrush. The individual who might have found the cure for cancer decided not to do her homework in college, and dropped out. Being incapacitated because of a birth defect is far more understandable than being mindless or dull due to lethargy.
6) Peer Pressure—Not limited to childhood and adolescence, bullying continues throughout our lives. When we lack courage, acquiescing and going along with a bad idea because of another’s strong personality, we haven’t used our brains as we should have. Some intelligent individuals have proven to be morally defective by dumbing down their own honest opinions when an obnoxious know-it-all intimidates them. We might as well be ignorant if we lack courage and live as cowards.
7) Addictions—Any activity that causes us to function thoughtlessly and reactively deprives us of our full capacity to think, reason, analyze, and make good decisions. Collecting anything from sports memorabilia to silver teapots can tempt shopaholics to spend money they can’t afford. Incurring such debt is dumb. Devoting time to an addiction, whether it’s obsessive cell phone use or gambling at bingo five nights a week, can take you away from more constructive activities.
8) Anger—Think of the terms used to describe an enraged person: She is beside herself; she lost her head; he bit my head off; he was ready to eat someone alive; he gave someone a piece of his mind (and he didn’t have any to spare); she jumped down her friend’s throat. None of those describe someone who is happily functioning at full capacity. An individual who has lost control and lost reasoning power is, at least temporarily, senseless.
9) Chaos—Disorganization is an enemy of clear thinking. That doesn’t mean smart people can’t have a cluttered desk, or misplace their car keys, but the more energy an individual spends in clutter reduction, the less energy they invest on a needed focus. It’s simple arithmetic. If I have an hour’s worth of math problems to solve, and I spend 15 of those minutes looking for my pencil, paper, or textbook, then I won’t get but 45 minutes worth of the work done. That’s only a 75% success rate before I even begin the project. Not so smart. Muddle-headed.
10) Unwilling to Listen—Getting stuck on an opinion is forfeiting part of your IQ and detrimental to the successful pursuit of knowledge. In fact, when a prideful person is mentally, emotionally or spiritually unmovable, obstinate, there is no pursuit of knowledge. They are limited to only one tool which may not be the one needed. Discounting or filtering out other valid options is distorted thinking. A position is grabbed, held onto, and all other points of view are stubbornly ignored. Thick-skulled. The individual may be smart, but has unnecessary limitations. Nonsense.