If you want to know how people think, listen to what they say. The old adage says, "As a man thinketh he doeth." I've spent most of my career working with entrepreneurs and coaching CEOs who want to take themselves and their companies to a higher level. Then, when I lay out an action plan of how to get there, I often hear things like, "That's impossible," or, "That will never work." With that mindset, they're right!
Whether the task is impossible, or whether it will actually work, is less important in this case than how this person thinks. Most people are so convinced by their dumb thinking that simple things become impossible, and most new efforts never work. What people say mirrors how they think, and both are indicators of what they'll do.
Here are some of the dumbest things people say:
1. "Patience is a virtue." Well this may have been the case 1,000 years ago when a donkey was used as transportation, but today the fast eat the slow. Patience is no longer a virtue, but a liability. Look at the big companies slowed down by excessive committee meetings. Many are now extinct or suffering. Smaller companies that make quick decisions take market share.
2. "I just want to be comfortable." This belief is squashing the middle class today. Millions of people in this country seek comfort and spend money on things that make them feel comfortable in the moment, but cost them in the long run. They buy products they can't afford as a form of therapy. The comfort seeker is basically saying, "I gave up on doing something special a long time ago, and I'm convincing myself that I just want to be comfortable."
3. "Money won't make you happy." Really? The only people who say this are people who don't have money. People with money would never blame their money on their unhappiness. People with money want money and happiness, and I assure you they won't give their money away just to be happy. Quit telling yourself that money won't make you happy because the reality is money can't make you happy or unhappy. If you are going to be unhappy, have some money to go with it.
4. "It's the journey not the destination that matters." Wrong. It's the destination that matters. This sounds nice, but Dr.Seuss and his band of holistic healers will not meet you at the finish line for coming in last. Ask the Olympians, or the NFL owner who wants a Super Bowl ring, or ask Lebron James if it's the season that matters or the championship. True, the journey is important, but face it, if you're not first, you're last.
5. "I don't have time." This is the biggest lie people tell themselves everyday. Even the busiest of people have time if they want to make time. You think you're busy until there is an emergency, and then you immediately make time to handle it. If your kitchen catches on fire while you are reading this, I assure you that you will produce time to put the kitchen fire out. People who say they don't have time spend their time on things that don't create more time.
6. "I'm living the dream." Too many people say this too often to even be believable. I know it is meant to be a gesture of enthusiasm and positive mental attitude, but I just don't get it. I understand that one man's nightmare could be another man's dream but come on, are you really living the dream?
7. "I will do it when I get to it." Uhh...no you won't because you won't get to it. This is an admission of procrastination and/or of being overwhelmed, or both. This person is so busy and so enamored with other tasks that this new thing is just too much. A person who can actually get things done will never respond like this. Instead they'll say, "Leave it with me, I will get it handled."
8. "That's impossible." This person believes the world seems impossible. They're overwhelmed and no longer consider the possibilities and adventures of new projects but focus on the limitations. The "that's impossible" person stops everything in their mind and compares the slightest task to going to another planet. This is not someone who can manage or lead.
People say the dumbest things and they don't keep it to themselves so pay attention. Listen to what others say so you know how they think. This is a great insight for dating, hiring and promoting people. People who say dumb things are not dumb. They are dangerous! Misery loves company, and people who say dumb things tend to clump together with people who do dumb things. What dumb things do you hear people say? Comment below.