Try Not To Be “Doubly Dumb”

Filed in Living by on March 9, 2017 0 Comments

untrained electrocuted man plugging cable suffering electrical accident

I think about someone as being “doubly dumb” if they have a problem and are both not sufficiently knowledgeable about it to remedy it, and also are not willing to seek out and consider good advice. They are being “not smart” twice, or “doubly dumb.”

Of course, all of us are not knowledgeable in many areas of our lives. We are likely an expert in our chosen occupation, and maybe a few areas of interest, but that still leaves huge gaps in our knowledge. As an example, a medical doctor will likely know very little about the law, finance, business, the construction trades, etc.

Yet if you don’t know something, best to ask, right? And if you ask, then why not at least consider good advice?

I will provide an example. Let’s say I hurt my shoulder exercising, and it has been bothering me for a couple of weeks. Not being an expert in the physiology of how shoulders work or fail to work, I am sort of “dumb” about it and don’t know what to do. I am not calling myself dumb in a pejorative way, it’s just a fact. I don’t know what I don’t know—that doesn’t make me an idiot or a bad person. But then if I don’t go and see a doctor, or if I go and completely ignore what she says, then I am being doubly dumb. I am uninformed about the issue in question, and not smart enough to consider helpful advice.

Now I’m not saying you should blindly follow the advice of all so-called “experts.” Many are poorly trained, not very knowledgeable about your particular problem, or worse. Often you need to seek out more than one opinion to get anywhere near the “truth.” But to ignore their advice completely is hubris, and a mistake.

I have to admit that this issue hits kind of close to home for me. There are some areas I am very knowledgeable about, and it irks me when someone asks my advice and then completely disregards it for some poorly considered reason. Here is an example.

I am an expert in finance. Many people have come to me for financial advice, which I readily provide to them. Most will recognize me as an expert and give my suggestions careful thought, and possibly even some action. But some people just scoff, and dismiss me with either a simple saying they’ve overheard (“Only losers settle for average, I’m going to beat the stock market!”) or for some other ill-informed reason.

I can’t help but think: too dumb to know better, and too dumb to heed good advice. Doubly dumb.

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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