You know that one time when you thought being smart was all you needed to conquer the world? Yeah, me too. I remember it like it was yesterday: A young, bright-eyed me, graduating top of the class, thinking that my raw intelligence was my golden ticket to a life of success and accomplishments. Well, here’s the jam: I was wrong, and I’m willing to bet you’ve been there, too.

Picture this: it’s my first “real” job, fresh out of college. I strut into the office, ready to wow everyone with my big brain and stellar ideas. I’m killing it on the work front, but when it comes to the, ahem, human side of things, let’s just say I was a little lacking. Turns out, all those years spent focusing on books and exams left me with the people skills of a potato. I watched as my less-brainy-but-more-socially-adept colleagues climbed the ladder, leaving me in the dust. Talk about a reality check.

It was in that moment that I realized: raw intelligence is undoubtedly a huge asset, but it isn’t everything. And sometimes, when intellectually gifted people don’t achieve as much as they’d like to, it’s because they’re subtly undermining themselves. Five things smart people tend to struggle with: Smart people sometimes devalue other skills, like relationship building, and over-concentrate on intellect. Teamwork can be frustrating. Smart people often attach a lot of their self-esteem to being smart, which can decrease their resilience and lead to avoidance. They can get bored easily. And smart people sometimes see in-depth thinking and reflection as the solution to every problem. Learning to overcome these habits could be just the thing that gets your career unstuck.

So, let’s take a journey together,. We’ll dive into these five struggles, dissecting the habits that hold us back and exploring ways to kick their asses to the curb. Along the way, I’ll share some of my own cringe-worthy stories and the lessons I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) from my own experiences.

Get ready for some real talk, sprinkled with humor, sarcasm, and a whole lot of heart. ‘Cause let’s face it: we’re all just trying to figure this life thing out, one struggle at a time. So why not do it together, laughing at ourselves and learning from our mistakes? By the end of this journey, we’ll be ready to conquer the world, big brains and social skills in tow.

Grab your favorite caffeinated beverage, and let’s dive in. Our future selves will thank us.

Devaluing other skills and over-concentrating on intellect

It’s time to tackle our first struggle: devaluing other skills and over-concentrating on intellect. You know, that pesky habit where we think our smarts are the be-all and end-all of success? Yeah, let’s talk about that.

Picture me, a few years back. I’d just landed a sweet gig at a fancy-pants tech company. I was stoked, ready to crush it with my big ol’ brain. But then, something weird happened. Instead of being showered with praise and promotions, I found myself…stuck. Turns out, I’d been so focused on flexing my intellectual muscles that I’d neglected to build up some other pretty important ones – like relationship-building.

Remember the time when our parents used to say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? Well, turns out they weren’t just blowing smoke up our asses. Who knew, right? Networking, collaboration, and good ol’ fashioned schmoozing are essential in today’s world. And guess what? Those so-called “soft skills” are just as crucial as our brainpower.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But I’m smart! That should be enough!” Well, news flash, Einstein: it’s not. And here’s why. In a world where everyone’s vying for the same opportunities, it’s the folks who can play well with others, communicate effectively, and build strong relationships who come out on top.

So, how do we, the intellectual elite, step up our game? First, let’s recognize the importance of soft skills. These aren’t just “fluffy” abilities we can brush off as unimportant. They’re critical to our success, and it’s high time we started treating them as such.

Next, let’s work on developing empathy and emotional intelligence. It’s not enough just to be able to solve complex problems or come up with brilliant ideas – we need to understand how our actions impact others, and how to communicate in a way that resonates. So, practice active listening, ask questions, and genuinely try to understand where your colleagues are coming from. Trust me, it’ll make a world of difference.

And hey, while we’re at it, let’s ditch the idea that we’re somehow “above” these skills. You know that little voice in the back of your head that whispers, “Psh, I don’t need to network, I’m smart enough on my own”? Yeah, tell that voice to take a hike. It’s time to embrace our full range of abilities and acknowledge that we’re not just walking brains – we’re multidimensional humans with a lot to offer.

One last thing: don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re struggling to build relationships or improve your communication skills, reach out to someone who’s got it down pat. Chances are, they’ll be more than happy to share their secrets.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the power of soft skills and start valuing them just as much as our intellect. It’s time to stop seeing ourselves as one-trick ponies and embrace our full potential. We’ve got this.

Frustration with teamwork

Alright, team, let’s dive into Struggle Numero Dos: frustration with teamwork. Yep, that oh-so-familiar feeling when we’d rather chew glass than work with a group. But hold onto your butts, ’cause we’re about to learn why teamwork ain’t so bad after all.

Let me take you back to a dark time in my life: college. Specifically, that dreaded group project. You know the one – where you’re lumped with folks who’d rather discuss the latest Kardashian drama than the actual assignment. Well, there I was, in my own personal hell, silently cursing my professor for this cruel and unusual punishment.

Fueled by impatience and a healthy dose of arrogance, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I did the entire project myself, leaving my teammates in the dust. “Ha!” I thought, “That’ll show ’em who’s boss.” But guess what? My master plan backfired. Big time. Not only did my grade suffer (apparently, teamwork is kinda important), but I also missed out on the chance to learn from others and build valuable relationships. Oops.

So, what can we take away from this little anecdote? First, let’s recognize that collaboration has its benefits. Sure, it can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but working with others allows us to bounce ideas around, get fresh perspectives, and ultimately come up with better solutions. Plus, when we work together, we can divvy up tasks and tackle problems more efficiently – it’s like the old saying goes, “Many hands make light work.”

Now, let’s compare that to going solo. Yeah, it might feel great to have total control and not have to deal with other people’s “inferior” ideas. But here’s the thing: we’re not always right (shocking, I know). And when we close ourselves off to collaboration, we’re missing out on the chance to learn, grow, and create something truly spectacular.

Alright, so now that we’ve got the whole “teamwork is good” thing down, let’s talk about how to make it suck less. First and foremost: active listening. This means really hearing what your teammates are saying, not just waiting for your turn to speak. And hey, you might just learn something new in the process.

Next, be open to learning from others. Sure, you might be the smartest person in the room, but that doesn’t mean you have all the answers. When you approach teamwork with a genuine curiosity and a willingness to learn, you’ll find it’s a helluva lot more enjoyable.

So, team, let’s embrace the power of teamwork and kick our frustration to the curb. Remember, collaboration is not a sign of weakness – it’s an opportunity to create something bigger and better than we ever could on our own. And when we start working together instead of against each other, we’ll truly be unstoppable.

Attaching self-esteem to intelligence, leading to decreased resilience and avoidance

It’s time to tackle Struggle Number Three: attaching self-esteem to intelligence, leading to decreased resilience and avoidance. I know, I know, it’s a doozy. But don’t worry, we’re in this together, and we’re gonna kick this struggle’s ass.

Gather ’round, team, and let me tell you a tale of woe. Once upon a time, in the Land of the Overconfident, yours truly faced a humiliating defeat. I had set my sights on acing an exam I thought I had in the bag. But, as fate would have it, I crashed and burned. HARD.

Instead of bouncing back like a champ, my pride got the better of me. I couldn’t admit to myself that I had failed, and I avoided any mention of the catastrophe like the plague. My ego was bruised, my confidence shattered, and I was stuck in a rut of my own making.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: smart people can fail, too. And guess what? That’s totally fine. Because, believe it or not, failure can actually be a learning opportunity (mind-blowing, I know). We just need to accept it, embrace it, and grow from it.

So, how do we do that? First things first, let’s practice a little self-compassion. Yeah, it might feel like the end of the world when we stumble, but we need to give ourselves a break. We’re only human, after all – even if we are the human equivalent of Google.

Next, let’s try to see failure as a chance to learn and improve. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, ask yourself: “What can I take away from this experience? How can I do better next time?” By shifting our perspective, we can turn a setback into a stepping stone.

Now, for the pièce de résistance: let’s stop attaching our self-esteem to our intelligence. Easier said than done, I know, but trust me, it’s worth it. When we stop defining ourselves solely by our smarts, we open ourselves up to growth, change, and a whole lot of awesomeness.

So, there you have it, my fellow Einsteins. Embrace failure, practice self-compassion, and free yourself from the shackles of an intelligence-based self-esteem. It’s time to unleash our full potential and kick Struggle Number Three to the curb.

Getting bored easily

Hey there, beautiful brains! We’ve made it to Struggle Number Four: getting bored easily. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “But, getting bored is just part of being a genius, right?” Well, my friend, let me tell you about the time I almost quit my job due to sheer boredom.

There I was, sitting at my desk, daydreaming about literally anything other than my current task. It felt like my brain was turning into goo, and I was THIS close to throwing in the towel. But then, I had an epiphany: getting bored is a choice, and I needed to find ways to stay engaged.

Now, let’s talk about the dangers of constant stimulation versus the value of persistence. Sure, it’s fun to jump from one shiny thing to another, but that’s not always productive, and it can lead to burnout. On the flip side, sticking with a task, even when it’s tedious, can lead to real growth and accomplishment.

So, how can we, the brilliant and easily bored, cope with this struggle? Here are some tips to help you stay engaged, even when your brain is itching for a change:

  1. Seek out challenges: Instead of running from boredom, try to find challenges within your current situation. Maybe it’s solving a problem you’ve been avoiding or tackling a task you’ve been dreading. Embrace the challenge and use your incredible brainpower to overcome it.
  2. Maintain a growth mindset: Remember that every task, no matter how mundane, can be a learning opportunity. Adopt a growth mindset and look for ways to improve and expand your skills. This will help keep you engaged and motivated, even when the going gets tough.
  3. Mix it up: Variety is the spice of life, so make sure you’re not stuck in a rut. Rotate between tasks, work on different projects, or try learning something new. This can help keep your brain engaged and reduce the likelihood of boredom setting in.
  4. Set goals and track progress: Having clear goals can give you something to work towards and help keep you focused. Plus, tracking your progress can be incredibly satisfying – who doesn’t love crossing things off a to-do list?
  5. Take breaks and recharge: Sometimes, boredom is a sign that we need to step back and recharge. Make sure you’re taking regular breaks and giving your brain time to rest and reset.

By seeking out challenges, maintaining a growth mindset, and staying focused on our goals, we can conquer Struggle Number Four and kick boredom to the curb.

Relying too much on in-depth thinking and reflection to solve every problem

Alright, you beautiful minds, we’ve reached the grand finale of our smart people struggles – Struggle Number Five: Relying too much on in-depth thinking and reflection to solve every problem. Let me take you back to a time when I overthought a situation and missed out on a simple solution. It was like I was trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle by analyzing the atomic structure of each piece. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But wait, isn’t deep thinking a good thing?” Well, yes and no. Overthinking can lead to paralysis by analysis, and sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. It’s like trying to untangle a knot by pulling on every single strand instead of just finding the one loose end.

So, how do we overcome this struggle and strike a balance between reflection and action? Let’s start by addressing some misconceptions: not all problems require complex solutions. Sometimes, the answer is right in front of our face, and we just need to trust our instincts.

With that in mind, here are some strategies to counteract overthinking and find that sweet spot between thought and action:

  1. Set a time limit: Give yourself a deadline for making a decision or finding a solution. This can help prevent you from getting lost in a never-ending loop of analysis.
  2. Break it down: Instead of trying to tackle a problem all at once, break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This can help you focus and make the problem seem less overwhelming.
  3. Trust your instincts: Learn to trust your gut feelings and instincts. Sometimes, our intuition is more reliable than we give it credit for. If something feels right, go for it!
  4. Recognize when you’re overthinking: Become aware of when you’re starting to spiral into overthinking. Ask yourself, “Am I making this more complicated than it needs to be?” If the answer is yes, take a step back and try to simplify.
  5. Seek input from others: Don’t be afraid to ask for help or get a second opinion. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can help you see the solution that was hiding in plain sight.
  6. Take action: Once you’ve made a decision or found a solution, commit to it and take action. Remember, progress is better than perfection, and you can always adjust your approach if needed.

So, there you have it, my fellow overthinkers! By balancing reflection with action and trusting our instincts, we can conquer Struggle Number Five and put our brilliant brains to good use.


Alright, team, we’ve reached the end of our smart people struggle-fest. It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it? As we wrap this up, let’s take a moment to recap those five struggles that can hold us back from achieving our full potential:

  1. Devaluing other skills and over-concentrating on intellect (because being a genius doesn’t mean you don’t need people skills)
  2. Frustration with teamwork (teamwork makes the dream work, even for lone wolves)
  3. Attaching self-esteem to intelligence, leading to decreased resilience and avoidance (remember, even Einstein had his off days)
  4. Getting bored easily (because not everything in life can be as exciting as particle physics)
  5. Relying too much on in-depth thinking and reflection to solve every problem (sometimes, less is more)

Now, for a bit of humor, let’s imagine some exaggerated examples of smart people “winning” after overcoming these struggles:

  • The socially awkward genius who becomes a networking powerhouse after realizing that soft skills matter just as much as IQ points
  • The impatient intellectual who learns to collaborate and ends up leading a team of Nobel Prize winners
  • The fragile egoist who embraces failure, bounces back from a major blunder, and invents the next revolutionary gadget
  • The easily bored brainiac who discovers the joys of persistence and winds up becoming a world-renowned expert in their field
  • The chronic overthinker who learns to trust their instincts and saves the day with a simple, yet brilliant solution

These might be a bit over-the-top, but you get the idea. Overcoming these habits can help get your career unstuck and unlock your full potential.

So, to all my fellow smart cookies out there, don’t let these struggles define you. Remember, you have the power to overcome them and achieve greatness. As you navigate this wild, wacky world of ours, keep in mind that raw intelligence is just one piece of the puzzle. Embrace your emotional intelligence, learn from failure, and cultivate a growth mindset. The sky’s the limit, my friends!

Now, go forth and conquer with your beautiful brains, and never forget that the world needs your intelligence and unique perspective. Together, let’s make this planet a better, smarter, and more interesting place.

About the Author: Geoffrey Byers
Geoffrey is one of the world's foremost Designers. He is also a Serial Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, and Mad Scientist. Hypothesis-Driven experimentation is his love language.