Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

10 Simple Truths Smart People Forget

Some of the smartest people I know continuously struggle to get ahead   because they forget to address a few simple truths that collectively  govern our  potential to make progress. So here’s a quick reminder:

1. Education and intelligence accomplish nothing without action. It doesn’t matter if you have a genius IQ and a PhD in Quantum Physics, you can’t change anything or make any sort of real-world  progress  without taking action. There’s a huge difference between  knowing how to do  something and actually doing it. Knowledge and  intelligence are both useless  without action. It’s as simple as that.  For some practical guidance on taking  action, I highly recommend The Now Habit.

2. Happiness and success are two different things. I know  an extremely savvy businesswoman who made almost a  million dollars online last  year. Every entrepreneur I know considers  her to be wildly successful. But  guess what? A few days ago, out of the  blue, she told me that she’s depressed.  Why? “I’m burnt out and lonely. I  just haven’t taken enough time for myself  lately,” she said. “Wow!” I  thought. “One of the most successful people I know  isn’t happy.”

I also know a surfer who surfs almost all day, every day on the beach in  front of our condo  complex in San Diego. He’s one of the most lighthearted,  optimistic guys  I’ve ever met—always smiling from ear to ear. But he sleeps in  a van he  co-owns with another surfer and they both frequently panhandle  tourists  for money. So while I can’t deny that this man seems happy, I wouldn’t  classify his life as a success story.

“What will make me happy?” and “What will make me successful?”  are two of  the most important questions you can ask yourself. But they  are two different  questions.

3. Everyone runs their own business. No matter how you  make a living or whom you think you work for,  you only work for one  person—yourself. The big question is: What are you  selling, and to whom? Even  when you have a full-time, salaried,  Corporate America position, you are still  running your own business. You  are selling one unit of your existence (an hour  of your life) at a set  price (the associated fraction of your salary) to a  customer (your  employer).

So how can you simultaneously save your time and increase your  profit? The  answer is slightly different for everyone. But it’s an  answer you should be  seeking. The 4-Hour Workweek is a good read on this topic.

4. Having too many choices interferes with decision making. Here in the twenty-first century where information moves at the  speed  of light and opportunities for innovation seem endless, we have an  abundant  array of choices when it comes to designing our lives and  careers. But sadly,  an abundance of choice often leads to indecision,  confusion and inaction.

Several business and marketing studies have shown that the more  product  choices a consumer is faced with, the less products they  typically buy. After  all, narrowing down the best product from a pool of  three choices is certainly  a lot easier than narrowing down the best  product from a pool of three hundred  choices. If the purchasing decision  is tough to make, most people will just  give up.

So if you’re selling a product line, keep it simple. And if  you’re trying to  make a decision about something in your life, don’t  waste all your time  evaluating every last detail of every possible  option. Choose something that  you think will work and give it a shot. If  it doesn’t work out, choose  something else and keep pressing forward.

5. All people possess dimensions of success and dimensions of  failure. This point is somewhat related to point number two on  happiness and success, but it stands strong on its own as well …

Trying to be perfect is a waste of time and energy. Perfection is an  illusion.

All people, even our idols, are multidimensional. Powerful  businessmen,  polished musicians, bestselling authors, and even our own parents all have  dimensions of success and dimensions of failure present in their lives.

Our successful dimensions usually encompass the things we spend  the most  time doing. We are successful in these dimensions because of  our prolonged  commitment to them. This is the part of our lives we want  others to see—the  successful part that holds our life’s work. It’s the  notion of putting our best  foot forward. It’s the public persona we  envision as our personal legacy: “The  Successful ABC” or “The Award  Winning XYZ.”

But behind whichever polished storyline we publically promote,  there lies a  multi-dimensional human being with a long list of  unprofessed failures.  Sometimes this person is a bad husband or wife.  Sometimes this person laughs at  the expense of others. And sometimes  this person merely takes their eyes off  the road and rear-ends the car  in front of them.

6. Every mistake you make is progress. Mistakes teach you  important lessons. Every time you make one,  you’re one step closer to your  goal. The only mistake that can truly  hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply  because you’re too scared to  make a mistake.

So don’t hesitate—don’t doubt yourself. In life, it’s rarely  about getting a  chance; it’s about taking a chance. You’ll never be 100  percent sure it will  work, but you can always be 100 percent sure doing  nothing won’t work. Most of  the time you just have to go for it!

And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it  should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something. Win-Win.  Remember, if you never act,  you will never know for sure, and you will  be left standing in the same spot  forever.

7. People can be great at doing things they don’t like to do. Although I’m not suggesting that you choose a career or trade  you  dislike, I’ve heard way too many smart people say something like,  “In order to  be great at what you do, you have to like what you do.”  This just isn’t  true.

A good friend of mine is a public accountant. He has told me on  numerous  occasions that he dislikes his job—“that it bores him to  death.” But he  frequently gets raises and promotions. At the age of  twenty-eight, out of  nearly a thousand Jr. Accountants in his division,  he’s one of only two who  were promoted to be Sr. Accountants this past  year. Why? Because even though he  doesn’t like doing it, he’s good at  what he does.

I could come up with dozens of other examples just like this, but  I’ll spare  you the details. Just realize that if someone dedicates  enough time and  attention to perfecting a skill or trade, they can be  insanely good at doing  something they don’t like to do. For an  insightful read in this department, I  highly recommend The Talent Code.

8. The problems we have with others are typically more about us. Quite often, the problems we have with others—our spouse,  parents,  siblings, etc.—don’t really have much to do with them at all.  Because many of  the problems we think we have with them we  subconsciously created in our own  mind. Maybe they did something in the  past that touched on one of our fears or  insecurities. Or maybe they  didn’t do something that we expected them to do. In  either case,  problems like these are not about the other person, they’re about  us.

And that’s okay. It simply means these little predicaments will  be easier to  solve.  We are, after all, in charge of our own decisions.  We get to  decide whether we want to keep our head cluttered with events  from the past, or  instead open our minds to the positive realities  unfolding in front of us.

All we need is the willingness to look at things a little—letting  go of what  was and what should have been, and instead focusing our  energy on what is and  what could be possible.

9. Emotional decisions are rarely good decisions. Decisions driven by heavy emotion are typically misguided  reactions  rather than educated judgments. These reactions are the  byproduct of minimal  amounts of conscious thought and primarily based on  momentary ‘feelings’ instead of mindful awareness.

The best advice here is simple: Don’t let your emotions trump  your  intelligence. Slow down and think things through before you make  any  life-changing decisions.

10. You will never feel 100 percent ready when an opportunity  arises. The number one thing I persistently see holding smart people  back is their own reluctance to accept an opportunity simply because  they  don’t think they’re ready. In other words, they believe they  require additional  knowledge, skill, experience, etc. before they can  aptly partake in the  opportunity. Sadly, this is the kind of thinking  that stifles personal  growth.

The truth is nobody ever feels 100 percent ready when an  opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to  grow emotionally and  intellectually. They force us to stretch ourselves  and our comfort zones, which  means we won’t feel totally comfortable at  first. And when we don’t feel  comfortable, we don’t feel ready.

Just remember that significant moments of opportunity for  personal growth  and development will come and go throughout your  lifetime. If you are looking  to make positive changes in your life you  will need to embrace these moments of  opportunity even though you will  never feel 100 percent ready for them.

By Marc and Angel Hack Life, DivineCaroline

At, women come  together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and  culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing  and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women  publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all  facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy  living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at


Comments on: "10 Simple Truths Smart People Forget" (1)

  1. Wonderful title and great reminders.

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