9 things smart people never do (and what they do instead)

What makes a smart person smart?

Is it the ability to make sound decisions? To make the lives of others better? Or to be better than everyone else? 

There have been debates over the centuries about what exactly makes a person smart, but I think that we can all agree that there’s definitely a couple of things that a smart person will never be guilty of doing. 

Want to know what these are? Read on to learn about the 10 things smart people never do (and what they do instead)!

1) Act impulsively

We’ve all been guilty of acting impulsively at least once.

Whether it’s buying something you hadn’t planned to get, crossing the street without looking for oncoming cars, or starting a project in the dead of night when you can’t sleep, you name it—we’ve probably all done it. 

Although some impulsive actions might be a tiny bit risky, you can’t deny that these are all completely human. 

It’s not that smart people are completely devoid of these temptations. What makes them different is that these behaviors manifest less often and are definitely not behavioral. 

What they do instead: They think their decisions through

A smart person will try to weigh the pros and cons of a decision before finally making one. To do this, they never forget to do their due diligence. 

For example, when making an important purchase, they do the necessary research and compare prices to make sure they’re not getting scammed or ripped off. They might even consult the right people for advice in order to make a sound decision. 

On a similar note, they also know to ask for help whenever necessary. 

2) Refuse help

A lot of people have a fear of asking for help because they’re afraid they might look needy. This is completely normal, because asking for help entails showing vulnerability

Not to mention that there’s the possibility that you might get rejected, and let’s face it: rejection always hurts. It can sometimes even be mortifying.

This causes us to refuse to ask for help, even when we absolutely need it. 

However, smart people are smart enough to know to ask for help when necessary. 

What they do instead: they get help when necessary

Smart people know when to ask for help. It is scary, yes, but instead of worrying about getting no for an answer, they focus on the possibility of getting a yes. 

This is because they know that with more and, perhaps, better resources, they’d be better able to achieve their goal or solve their problem, especially when they’ve hit a wall.

Of course, getting help means they also never fail to show appreciation for the help they got.

3) Splurge money

In a world full of big spenders, being thrifty and wanting to save money can sometimes be mistaken for being cheap. And smart people are often incorrectly deemed as such, because they always try to save their money when they can.

With the emergence of online shopping and banking, it’s easier than ever to spend money than save it. Like any other person, smart people sometimes get tempted to spend more than they need. 

The difference? They have better self-control

What they do instead: they save for the rainy days

Saving money is definitely easier said than done. Smart people know this. But they still try to save money, nonetheless, and they know that as with anything else, you can always get better at saving money with practice.

Instead of buying things they don’t need, they save up. They try not to get tempted by fake discounts and “good deals,” especially when they know they don’t need to buy it, anyway.

What helps them save money is the fact that it doesn’t just give them a higher balance in their bank account—it also helps them live a sustainable lifestyle. It’s for the environment!

For example, if the person is not known to collect shoes, they will probably not buy new ones until their current shoes are broken or unusable. This prevents them from throwing away a good pair, which helps them save money and save the environment as well. 

4) Refuse to accept their mistakes

A lot of us find it hard to accept when we’re wrong, which is completely understandable. Being wrong hurts our pride, and having our mistakes pointed out can sometimes feel like personal attacks. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Smart people know this, which is why they know better than to let their pride affect their behavior when they’re wrong. 

What they do instead: they acknowledge their mistakes.

Smart people always try to accept when they’re wrong. They don’t displace the blame on others or point fingers—they simply admit that they were mistaken. 

When this happens, they apologize accordingly to the people they’ve wronged. They know to welcome the lessons they’ve learned for the mistakes, grateful that they know better now.

Accepting such mistakes doesn’t mean they dwell on them, however. 

5) Dwell on past mistakes

It is perfectly natural and completely human to make mistakes. Everyone is capable of making mistakes, even smart people. 

However, they know that there’s no use dwelling over such past errors. As my favorite saying goes, there’s no use crying over spilled milk, and smart people are not ones to waste their tears.

What they do instead: they learn the lesson and apply in the future

A smart person knows that they can’t control the past, that what’s come and gone is done and can’t be changed. 

Needless to say, this doesn’t mean they just ignore their mistakes altogether and pretend it never happened. That’s not learning, that’s just plain ignorance. 

Rather than beating themselves up for what they did wrong and what they could’ve done better, smart people know to extract the lesson from their past mistakes and apply it in future situations. 

6) Rely on luck

Smart people believe that, “when you fail to plan you plan to fail.” 

This is because while it is sometimes important to take risks and chances, statistically, smart people know that there’s a very small chance that you will succeed if you rely on luck alone. 

Because of this, they are always hatching plans to set themselves up for success

What they do instead: plan out their actions

To aspire for success, smart people always make careful plans to achieve their goals. They try to predict what could go wrong, make plan B and C (maybe even plan D), and prepare for the worst possible scenarios, should they come. 

This is so they know what to do in case things go wrong, which makes them prepared for any and all possible scenarios—which is the complete opposite of relying on luck!

7) Blame others to evade responsibility

It can be very painful to an egoistic person to accept when they’re wrong. This is why they would rather point fingers than own up to their mistakes, because it’s hard for them to admit when they’re wrong.

While some smart people can be egoistic, not all of them are. A lot of intelligent people know that when they make mistakes, they must take responsibility

Like we previously talked about, it’s completely human to commit mistakes. What sets apart the good apples from the bad ones is that the former knows when to admit it and take accountability for it, and most smart people are good apples.

What they do instead: they take responsibility

Taking accountability is probably one of the best things you could do when you make a mistake, and smart people know this. 

Even if you’re the smartest person in the world, you’re still a person, which means you’re completely capable of making a mistake.

This is why they always try to acknowledge what they’ve done wrong and use it to do better in the future. They make the proper reparations, and apologize to the people they might have hurt. 

8) Lie about their skills/knowledge

A lot of people feel ashamed when they don’t know something. 

This is because not knowing things can make you unrelatable or stupid, which means it can feel absolutely embarrassing, causing them to lie about knowing it and usually end up looking even more stupid. 

Contrary to popular belief, smart people don’t actually know everything, and they know this. This means they also know when to admit they don’t know something or are not capable of doing something.

What they do instead: they’re honest and exhibit self-awareness

Smart people are self-aware enough to recognize the limits of their intelligence. They don’t pretend to know something they don’t just to be relatable or just to look smart

This is because they have an accurate gauge of their own capabilities. Even if they know they’re smarter than average, they don’t brag about it: they stay humble instead. 

And rather than avoiding people who are smarter than them, they actually try to seek them out.

A Diligent Male Student Reading a Book

9) Avoid others who are smarter than them

The world is plagued by pseudo-intellectuals—those who believe they’re smart, but are actually not that smart—who gallop up on their high horse and judge everyone they deem to be inferior. 

And a lot of these pseudo-intellectuals avoid others who are smarter than them because they’d be exposed for being frauds.

Actual, smart people are not afraid of people who are smarter than them. Even if they feel a little bit of fear and intimidation, the curiosity to learn new things usually overcomes this fear.

This curiosity is what makes them naturally gravitate towards other smart people.

What they do instead: they make friends with other smart people

Smart people naturally make friends with other smart people because they have a desire to know perspectives and life convictions outside of their own. 

They know that there is a danger to believing that yours is the absolute truth, which is why they seek out those of others. 

That’s not to mention that smart people like a good challenge, and who can challenge them better than people who are smarter than them? 

Did you relate to these traits? Let us know in the comments below!

Also read: 9 signs someone is highly educated but not very intelligent



Picture of Joyce Ann Isidro

Joyce Ann Isidro

Joyce is a writer who believes in the power of storytelling and changing lives by writing stories about love, relationships, and spirituality. A bookworm and art enthusiast, she considers herself a creative-at-heart who likes to satisfy her childish wonder through new hobbies and experiences.

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