Yesterday, I used a mixed metaphor. In jest, I said, “I’m not the brightest bulb in the drawer.” Proving my point, my wife Kathleen challenged my diction, suggesting that bulbs don’t go in drawers, but in sockets, chandeliers, and boxes. That got us off to a discussion of humorous insults to people’s intelligence. Some of my favorites were “He has to take turns using the family brain cell,” “There was too much chlorine in his gene pool,” “He’s as sharp as a marble,” and the old stand-by, “he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.”
Such indirect insults, softened by a little humor, don’t hurt as much as head-on insults. But the reality is, the indirectness doesn’t improve them much. People can be really hurt by such insults, even when they are used in jest. One of the first and most important principles that I learned in my doctoral studies in international development is that people are smart. All over the world, at all socio-economic levels, people are smart. They make the best decisions they can, based on the information they have. Unfortunately, when people believe information that is not true, it can really stunt their economic, social, emotional, and spiritual development.
When people believe things that aren’t true, it doesn’t matter how smart they are. Perfect reasoning from false premises results in skewed conclusions. In living out our deepest dreams, it is crucial that we reject false beliefs about ourselves. If we believe we are not intelligent, the most perfect reasoning process won’t lead the smartest people in the world to the fulfillment of their deepest dreams.
Has someone said—good-naturedly or with ill will—that you are not smart enough to be fulfilled by your deepest dreams? I challenge that! You ARE smart enough to be a fulfilled person, but you have to be sure to tell yourself the truth—every time, every day. No amount of intelligence can reason effectively from false premises. When you start with the truth about yourself, the IQ you were given turns out to be enough to lead you to fulfillment. Are you smart enough to believe me? If so, you are smart enough to fulfill your deepest dream.