Julien Smith 5 min read

How To Recognize Your Inner Idiot

Random + Awesome books idiots

How to Recognize an Idiot
How to Recognize an Idiot

Do you have a New Year’s resolution you wish more people would make? I do.

I wish we would stop acting like we know what we’re talking about, even when we don’t.

We’re all so proud of our ignorance in this world that it baffles me. So can we all just do each other a favour and make our resolution to stop acting like we know something when we obviously don’t have a clue!?

Our inner idiots pop up everywhere, so I figured I’d give you a primer on how to spot it real quick.

Example 1. Politics.

Oh man, these people are amazing.

Listen, I don’t care what your political leaning is, I seriously don’t. You can believe that trees are people for all I care, as long as you actually do your research, you feel me?

My favourite is when people spout some kind of half-baked political ideology and you can literally tell what news segment they heard it on. It’s like these dudes are channeling MSNBC, Fox, or the 9/11 Truth Movement, because they trust the horse’s mouth so much that they feel everything they say is sacrosanct. Seriously, all they need is a Ouija board.

I have an idea, instead of watching the news, why don’t you research the issue and come out with a nuanced conclusion of your own!!!???

Solution: Begin posting radically false things about their heroes on their Facebook wall and get put on limited profile faster than Keith Olbermann can say “HOW DARE YOU SIR” or Glenn Beck can start crying. OH YEAH.

Example 2. Social media experts.

Right off the top of my head right now I can name like 5 social media experts whose advice basically sound like Mad Libs. In fact, you know what? I’m going to register SocialMadLibs.com just for this very occasion. There, done. Have fun.

But social media experts are just one branch of idiots which I should really call “(fashionable technology) experts.” They’ll move into the next thing so fast you won’t even remember what their old Twitter bio was. Karen McGrane called it in Iceland when she said that social media experts are now “content strategists.” Yet these somehow, these people have not had any of their own content actually get popular. It’s insane.

Repeat after me: “And how will that help me sell more?” There we go, it’s like crosses and garlic on a vampire. Too easy.

Example 3. Life/career advice.

Otherwise known as morons on the internet telling me about the world like they know better. God, these people are unbelievable.

So I’m sending out a photo of a new tattoo I just got the other day. Arno at Imago here in Montreal (great shop) did it and it’s epic. I tweet it out.

Some douche responds: “There goes your chance at a real job.”

Uh, dude? You are a real estate agent. How the fuck would you know how to do my job?

The problem with these people is that they seriously believe that the world they live in is the only world that exists. In this guy’s world, if you have tattoos, you are a loser. In my world, a tattoo does not stop you from hitting the New York Times bestseller list! So go fuck yourself.

Read this: The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck!

But this isn’t the only example I can find in this category. Let’s not forget retired in-laws that give you outdated, stupid career advice, or fashion advice from people who dress like they’re homeless!@#$%

I’ll tell you what, once you take your head out of your ass, I will listen to your advice.

Example 4. Wine.

Protip: Stop swishing it in your mouth like a fucking buffoon.

What’s great is that these fools are so predictable that restaurants actually design their wine lists around them.

Nobody wants to look cheap in front of a date or the waiter. This means everyone order the 2nd cheapest wine instead– and restaurnts use this to their advantage by making it the worst deal on the menu. Fake wine experts fall for this every time because they’re afraid of looking stupid or asking questions.

Wine guys exist in every environment. They’re afraid of not knowing about a certain band so they nod in agreement during a conversation, or they don’t know about the newest movie so they just stay quiet and let people assume. Hint! People know you’re faking it! The waiter does, and your date does too.

So stop it.

Example 5. Science.

I’m having a conversation with an acquaintance about food and, after ridiculing alternative methods of eating, he says: “I think everyone should just eat a balanced diet.”

This shit is my absolute favourite.

First of all, how the hell would you know what’s balanced and what isn’t? Have you read any science, or are you just reading Men’s Health and/or Cosmo and then defending it by saying you “heard that” something is true?

In fitness, there is a word for this. It’s called broscience, and it’s not based in reality at all.

Thanks to Martin Berkhan for the pic.

The same thing applies, on both sides, to people arguing global warming, evolution, and many other fields, and you know it.

We are convinced by these people because they themselves sound convinced, not because what they’re saying is real. They’re demagogues who appeal to emotion and intimidation in order to make you feel like you have to agree.

People like this use words like “balanced” all the time. Why? It’s one of those words that sounds positive, but generic enough that you can’t disagree with it. What’s the opposite of balanced? Unbalanced, I guess. And nobody wants that! That sounds bad!

I have an idea! How about you read the science, dumbass???

Wipe out these generic words from your vocabulary. To people that know better, they label you as a fucking idiot.

Look, here it is right here. Everyone needs to get better at the following phrase. Repeat it out loud with me now and use it 5 times today.

“I don’t know.”

“I haven’t really informed myself.”

“I wish I knew more about that.”

You see how you’re not stupider, smarter, or anything after using that? You see how no one ridicules you? Get used to that phrase, people, because it’s true about almost everything.

We need to do ourselves, our peers, and everyone in our lives a favour and stop being proud of our own ignorance. Maybe read a book, even. Learn a thing or two before we open our mouths.

The world would be a better place.

Thank you. Please share this out if you like this post. Cheers.

Julien Smith is the CEO of Breather.

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