How Smart People Fail

by Steve Prager on January 24, 2011


I used to want to be a smart person. Now I’m not so sure.

I have a real smart friend. He started a multimillion dollar business in his basement. I call him up sometimes and he tells me great stuff about marketing, life, music. You name it – he knows it. He’s a DOer.

The other day, he told me a great story.


“Smart people sometimes over analyze and hold back,” he began. “It’s like they’re standing on the creek bank of life and looking at the water. They know how hard it is to be good, so they don’t take action. ”

“Not-so smart people just do it. They jump in the creek and get wet. They don’t know how bad they are, so they just splash around, laugh and enjoy themselves. They launch.”

He continued, “The smart people stand on the creek bank and tell each other ‘They’re not doing it right!’”

“Well, the not-so smart people just keep at it (because it’s fun) and slowly something changes inside them. The not-so smart people learn what they’re doing. They get skills.” 

He finished, “Meanwhile, the smart people are scratching their heads and wondering, ‘How’d they get so good?’”

That’s a valuable lesson! If you’re a smart person – DON”T OVER ANALYZE. Don’t be so smart you talk yourself out of taking action.



  • DO.NOW

  • Enjoy yourself. DO it some more

  • Ignore anyone that says you suck

  • Rinse and repeat

High creativity is responding to situations without critical thought – John Cleese

Remember this story when you’re tempted to hold back and over analyze. It was the smart people who failed to launch!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan January 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Good point. Great advice for anyone starting/struggling with a small biz.
Susan recently posted..Lose the lazy ‘ly’ and write better copy


Steve Prager January 24, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Susan, thanks for the reminder! I’m starting a new business soon. Looking forward to your input at the Procrastination Station on 02.05


Rachel January 24, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Too right! I think Im always on that bank criticizing instead of doing? How do you figure out what you should be doing? What if your not passionate about anything?


Steve Prager January 24, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Rachel, thanks for your honest comment. Check ou this post…maybe some good ideas here..:) PS. Love ya!


Mark Powers January 26, 2011 at 1:37 am

Yes, yes, yes! It’s always best to avoid thinking too much and just jump in headfirst. Ready, Fire, Aim- that’s my motto! Great post, Steve!
Mark Powers recently posted..Guaranteed Flight Every Three Months!


Tina McKinney January 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm

I agree 100%. I believed that I was in the smart category but then took another look and realized that I was watching and not doing. The world was passing me by and I was afraid to take the leap. Now, I am trying to focus on one day at a time and my new motto of Live, Love and Be. I can be whoever I want to be and if others don’t want to come along for the ride then they are the ones that are missing out. I will find me and stop sitting on the shoulder of the road to life.
Tina McKinney recently posted..Reflections of the Past- Insight to my Future


Steve Prager January 27, 2011 at 10:45 am

Tina, glad to hear it! Thank you for your post. I look forward to checking out your blog. Way to go;)


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