Stupid Is the New Smart!
Watch this short video first...
When you think about it, it's a pretty smart (stupid?) advertising campaign.
The above video is a promo by Diesel, merchants of bad-boy cutting edge fashion. They seem to have tapped into a pretty remarkable concept: dare to be stupid.
Consider it for a second. Stupidity is how anything of real significance gets done in the world. It takes a daring spirit to create things that seem impossible, to reinvent oneself, to make a radical difference in the world. You must embrace stupidity to gain greatness.
Every rock star had to be stupid enough to think he had a worthy song to sing, and then have the guts to go out and perform it before others. Every writer who ever achieved national or international acclaim had to be stupid enough to take risks and put her thoughts down in words. Every inventor had to have a stupid idea and repeat failed experiments until he finally got it right.
Stupid, my friends, is the new smart.
Are you brave enough to be a complete dodo?
Some of the most remarkable inventions in the world came about as a result of this special kind of "stupidity." Someone must have thought Philo Farnsworth, inventor of the television, was out of his mind when he speculated that firing electrons can create moving images. Many called the Wright Brothers bluffers in their aspirations to build a safe and workable flying machine.
In order to be a truly successful stupid person, you can't be afraid of words. You can't collapse at the threat of unpopularity. You have to be bold enough to explore possibilities that others won't. You have to be brave enough to create art. You have to dare to relentlessly pursue your wildest dreams.
Here's a checklist that'll help you determine if you're dumb enough to be brilliant:
- Are you willing to try new things in your life? Read books that you've never touched? Listen to music that you're unfamiliar with? Consider ideas and issues from another person's vantage point? Are you willing to think on a higher level?
- Do you yearn to create things? Would you try your hand at creative writing, playing an instrument, painting a landscape? If your interests run more towards science than art, would you consider trying to invent something new and useful? Would you apply your knowledge (or thirst for it) to discovering a new, better therapy or cure for a disease?
- Do you like to laugh? Do you like to really have fun?
- Are you determined to challenge your beliefs, doubts, and fears?
- Do you take pleasure in simplicity? Do you stop and smell the flowers, enjoy the simple things in life (family, friends, nature, health, happiness, life itself)?
- Are you willing to do the right thing in every situation in life, no matter how hard or unpopular it might be? Are you willing to be a trendsetter, an example to follow, a leader?
If so, hat's off to you, stupid!
(By the way, that IS a compliment.)
How to be a proper idiot
1. Drop your inhibitions and have some fun
That's right. You should actually learn how to enjoy life. If something seems fun, do it. If you think up something funny, say it. Hang out with friends. Make new ones. Laugh like you mean it. Love like you'd want to be loved.
Drop your inhibitions. Do and say silly things to entertain yourself and others. Stop being so formal. Stop doing things for the approval of others. Stop being so shy, little by little. Express yourself (in a friendly, innocuous way, but let it be a pure, unadulterated expression nontheless). Watch some funny movies. Tell some jokes. Make some silly faces. Clown around a bit.
Then, see how much better you feel.
2. Make yourself do uncomfortable and scary things
For some, this may involve meeting new people in new social situations. For others, it might involve resolving some past conflict with someone that you still know, deep inside, needs to be resolved. For yet others, it might involve finally going back to school, starting that new business, writing that novel or screenplay that's been in your head for years. For yet others, it might involve going bungee jumping or skydiving.*
Whatever it is that's nagging you, do it. If it's a problem, fix it. If it's a curiosity, indulge it. The more uncharted a territory it is, the better. You'll find yourself a stronger, stupider person for it.
* Consider that part of "dropping your inhibitions." But please, don't just run off like a knucklehead into extreme sports unprepared. Be safe out there. I don't want you to win a Darwin award on my account. That's the wrong kind of stupid.
3. Dare to pursue your wildest dreams
When you were a kid, and pesky adults asked you the predictable-yet-thought-provoking question "what do you want to be when you grow up?", how did you answer? Did you have a definite answer for them, or something you "came up with" just to get them off your back?
Whether you knew your purpose as a kid or not, maybe you've been diverted away from it on the course of the long and winding road of life. Maybe you were distracted by other, shorter-term desires. Maybe other pressing concerns took you away, or perhaps you felt that your dreams were too lofty or unattainable.
In any case, the time to go after your dreams is NOW, even if daily life demands that you take small steps. In order to be a proper fool, you have to dare to dream, and then dare to achieve.
4. Do the right thing, no matter what it takes
It takes real courage, real conviction, real character...real stupidity to do right. The easy way out of hard situations and ethical dilemmas is to do whatever pleases us at the moment, whether or not it's morally right, whether or not we're hurting another person, whether or not others are looking up to us as an example. Self-preservation seems to make the most sense, In some cases, it seems more practical than altruism or morality. Take care of yourself first. Some might even say that it's even the smart way to go about things.
But we don't want to be smart, right? We prefer to be stupid.
Therefore, in pursuit of that most honorable goal, we must keep our eyes open and our hearts sensitive to the needs of those around us. We must live our everyday lives with a view toward making the world a better place.
You're alive, and that's a miracle. Now LIVE, darnit.
It just so happens that the best way to really "live" is to be stupid and forget, to a reasonable extent, about being smart. Now, on a somewhat more serious note: we should never eschew intelligence. We should never throw out reason, logic, and common sense; they're necessary for functioning in this crazy world, and they're a part of every great contribution to society. But you shouldn't be shackled by those things either. Dare to question. Dare to innovate. Dare to think differently about things and consider reality from new angles.
Dare to lose your inhibitions and have fun. Dare to embrace simplicity. Dare to do good in the world.
Dare to be stupid. It truly is the new smart.
Join me, won't you?
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