The thing about smart people…

“The thing about smart people is that they seem like crazy people to dumb people.”

This photo made me smile. But that caption isn’t accurate, especially paired with that picture.

Were the Wright brothers smart? Yeah, I’d bet so. But that’s not what made them first in flight: A lot of hard work and playing around with ideas in pursuit of a seemingly unreasonable goal did. (More on why the Wright brothers succeeded over much more well funded competitors here.)

They were entrepreneurs — and a lot of smart people aren’t. A lot of smart people are afraid to act. They’re much more comfortable in the world of thought and theory.

Further, many smart people are not smart in ways that threaten the status quo. You can be wicked smart at math and no one will think your crazy — just really good at something they don’t know much about.

I understand that the creator of this cartoon needed to be pithy. And it worked: it made me laugh.

An ungainly and more accurate phrase would be: “The thing about smart, driven, creative people who are pushing the boundaries of what is known to be possible…is that they seem like crazy people to dumb people.” But that probably wouldn’t have made me smile.

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