What if we stopped labeling people as smart or dumb?

i so smartDo you ever feel like this dog?  Maybe you want the treat that life seems to have for you, but you don’t feel smart enough. Or worthy enough?  So, you put on some glasses.  Someone love me already!  Someone approve of me!

Consider this permission to never feel like that again.

Here is the thing…

People have a tendency to label themselves and others smart or dumb to make themselves feel better and to have certainty about how we stack up.  Simply put, our minds gravitate towards certainty.  We constantly have to fight against this.

Last night I had dinner with a good friend of mine.  She is amazingly accomplished, yet told me she has always feels like she isn’t smart enough.  I wasn’t surprised by this.  Why not?  After all, she has a great job, and has done amazing things.  It’s the rare bird who ever feels smart enough.  

So, I remembered this quote from Albert Einstein and I asked myself this.  What would this world be like if everyone believed this?

albert einstein fish quote genius


It would be amazing.

Want to know a secret you never learned in school?

Intelligence is a function of what you are doing.  

Truthfully, sooner or later we all must come to this conclusion about intelligence.  The sooner the better.

Labels often cause people to work harder to not feel dumb. Or, people will continue to work on something wrong if it makes them feel smart.  This is a trap people fall into instead of switching gears and doing what they are good at and / or passionate about.

Can you imagine what the world is missing out on?  The great counselors, teachers, and inventors?

Can an engineer do this?  

We recently wrote about Tim Degroot, a guy who is transforming the lives of inner city children through art at Bright Futures of Atlanta.  Now, he will be the first to admit that if you have a math problem, he is not your guy.  In fact, his dyslexia prevented him from excelling in grade school where people probably “labeled” him.

But can a math guy help inspire kids with no art background to produce art like this?

It’s a good thing he shook off the labels right?

Always remember that society is not a good judge of value. Otherwise, great teachers would be paid more.

Today, please remember that you are infinitely valuable and a genius in your own way.  It’s up to you to find that way.  Are you going to be a genius parent?  A genius engineer?  A genius counselor or teacher?  A genius public speaker?  A genius friend?

Don’t just remember this for yourself.  Remember this for the kid who has gotten a lousy label. Your kind words could make the difference.

There are a million ways to be successful in this world, all of which are off limits if you don’t believe in yourself enough to try.

Be Awesomer smiley face





One thought on “What if we stopped labeling people as smart or dumb?

  1. Pingback: 10 tools to help you come to terms with ADD as an adult | Living Life Upside Down10 tools to help you come to terms with ADD as an adult - Living Life Upside Down

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