5 Things Smart People Don’t Do

Hi Psych2Go-ers, welcome back to our channel. Do you consider yourself a “smart person”? Contrary to what many people think, being smart is not just about having a high IQ or good grades. On a literal level, the dictionary defines “smart” as “having or showing a high degree of mental ability.” But is that all? 

Psychreg, a psychology information website, has pointed out that a high IQ is not necessarily a “certificate” to show a person’s smartness. Being smart is simply knowing what should or should not do in specific situations. In a world where people talk to prove who they are, highly intelligent people are the opposite. So here are 5 things that smart people don’t do

woman covering her face with book

Number 1, They don’t act irresponsibly.

Being responsible with your life is easier said than done. We have all been irresponsible many times in our lifetime. Maybe it’s that time when you forgot to pick your little brother up after school or the other time when you had a little too many drinks and messed up your job. Doctor Deborah J. Cohan, a professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, has pointed out that when you’re immersed in spontaneous and reckless activity, the part of your brain that is in charge of assessing emotions is turned on. Which makes being irresponsible feel like “turning your brain off,” and is always easier than doing the right thing.

We are not perfect; we make mistakes all the time. But the important thing is that intelligent people take ownership of their lives. They think thoroughly before taking action and fixing their error, so it doesn’t happen again going forward. They are not better than any of us. Smart people make mistakes as well. But the difference is that they know how to take responsibility, learn from their experience and grow.

Number 2, They don’t allow their past to hold them back.

Have you ever overthought a trauma that happened long ago in the past? Maybe it was an unpleasant trip to the beach that deterred you from going nowhere near the sea again. Perhaps a horrible boyfriend made you never want to fall in love the second time. The past cannot be erased, nor the traumatic experience it leaves in our memory. 

But if there is nothing useful to be recovered from the past experience, intelligent people simply close those doors and let it go. Healing from trauma doesn’t mean forgetting your experience or not feeling any emotional pain when reminded of the event. It means having more confidence in your ability to cope as time goes on. While it’s easier said than done, you can start gradually by taking small steps every day out of your comfort zone. Smart people understand that their past is nothing to be ashamed of, and it should not be a reason why they cannot enjoy life to the fullest. 

Number 3, They don’t criticize someone’s looks. 

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The good old quote that we learned years ago still applies perfectly nowadays. Yes, it might be a little tempting to see flaws in others rather than their beauty. Leopold Bellak, a psychotherapist, has pointed out that judging and criticizing others is actually an automatic response and an unconscious bias in most humans. That’s simply how our body reacts to something we are not fully consciously aware of, and it can be life-threatening.

However, research shows that criticizing occurs more when shallow people criticize others to validate their insecurities and reaffirm their negative perception of themselves. While on the other hand, intelligent people understand the importance of diversity. They cherish the differences and see more in others than just their appearance. Great minds discuss ideas, small minds discuss people.

Number 4, They don’t give up. 

Life is harsh, and sometimes things don’t happen as you want them to. Knowing when to give up and start anew is a good thing, but sometimes, the best thing only comes to those who are stubborn enough. Everyone struggles with staying motivated and reaching their goals. Just look at how many people go on diets, lose weight, and then regain it. Steve Job once says, “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” Wise people don’t turn away from their dreams just because others don’t agree with them. The power lies with our mindset, and the only way to ignite your power within is to keep moving forward.

Number 5, They don’t allow their pride to get in the way. 

And lastly, smart people know their worth but don’t let their pride stop them. There’s a massive difference between self-awareness and pride. Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection. While prideful people feel and believe value is added to themselves because of their status or accomplishments. Our self or ego is basically who we are as a person. It’s not good or bad; it’s just what makes us, us. Smart people know their self, value and, most importantly, their flaws. 

Whenever you feel yourself becoming stubborn, argumentative, or defensive, ask yourself this one question: “Will this help me become better at my job, move up in my life and help others?” If it’s a no or even not an immediate yes, then you know you have pride to contend with and let go.

woman in black sleeveless top

In the end, being smart has no specific definition; it is all about having confidence in yourself and empathy towards others. We all have different paths and it’s never too late to start the journey of self-improvement. As long as you try to improve yourself every day, you are already smart enough to want to be better. But if you find yourself a little bit unmotivated at the moment, it’s okay. 

We hope you enjoy this video, and we will see you in another video from Psych2Go.


Todorovic, D. (2022, Apr 26). 20 Things Smart People Don’t Do (And What They Do Instead). Life Hack. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/20-things-smart-people-dont.html   

Hirschlag, A. (2021, Jul 19). How to Be Irresponsible Responsibly. Shondaland https://www.shondaland.com/live/a37040193/how-to-be-irresponsible-responsibly/  

Phoenix Australia. (2021). There is a lot you can do after a traumatic experience. https://www.phoenixaustralia.org/recovery/helping-yourself/#:~:text=Look%20after%20yourself%20by%20getting,%2C%20soft%20drink%2C%20and%20cigarettes.  

Drake, S. (2017, Dec 6). 6 Ways to Overcome Your Pride. LeadChange.  https://leadchangegroup.com/6-ways-overcome-pride/  

Buckley, M. (2019, Jan 10). What Does It Mean to Be Smart?. Psychreg. https://www.psychreg.org/what-does-it-mean-smart/#:~:text=On%20a%20literal%20level%2C%20the,and%20apply%20knowledge%20and%20skills‘. 

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