Stupidity vs. Intelligence

Let’s start with a couple of definitions from the dictionary. First is the meaning of intelligence. Intelligence is “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.”  Anyone can have intelligence. Everyone can acquire and apply knowledge. Whether you are college-educated or a graduate of the College of the Streets, we have knowledge that we can utilize to improve our personal and professional lives.

Our next word is stupidity. According to the dictionary, stupidity is “the opposite of intelligence.” Thus, stupidity is a behavior that shows a lack of good sense or judgment. Stupidity is responsible for many acts that follow the words, “Hey, watch this!”

Ok, now let’s put all this into context. If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or executive, are you running your business stupidly or with intelligence?

It’s a simple question and one that takes some intelligence to answer honestly.

Why do you think over 90% of businesses started today will be broke in five years or less? I’ve seen countless people, without a lick of business experience, proclaim they were entrepreneurs, take their life savings (or borrow money from family) and decide to start a business. In most cases, they’ve done little research into their chosen industry. They don’t have a written, clear and concise business plan. They have no financial projections, and they don’t know how to sell.

That, to me, is a formula for disaster. And, that kind of thinking is just stupid.

The intelligent approach would be to do lots and lots of research on the concept and the industry. Then, find out why others have failed or are successful. Learn what skills are required to make the business idea work, and then be honest and identify what skills you have and, more importantly, don’t have. Then aggressively learn the skills you need and the skills you need to hone. Read everything you can; interview successful entrepreneurs in the same industry; watch videos, hire a business coach and build your plan. Then, you must have the guts to go to work and implement your plan. The foundational rules of business now apply. Work hard; prioritize your time; have a clear vision; have a possibility mindset; protect your money; have metrics in place to know precisely if a strategy is working or not. Then be quick to drop the strategy or build on it.

The business and personal development legend, Brian Tracy, told me once that one of the keys to ensure business success was simple. Research your intended industry and find the most successful people in that industry. Find out what they do to be successful and then copy it. Do it exactly as they have done. Learn from others’ mistakes and successes.

That’s intelligent.

Stumbling around with no plan or vision, not committing your heart and soul to your vision and goals, wasting time and money trying to figure it out on your own…

That’s just stupid.

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