Why Do Smart People Do Stupid Things?

As it turns out, we all have moments when we think, “What was I thinking?” Sometimes you hear stories about smart people who do questionable things. Well, maybe, these people aren’t that smart.

For accuracy, maybe we need to set well-defined parameters. Intelligence is often denoted by IQ and the depth of perceived knowledge. What this means is that your intelligence is based on assumptions and test scores. People who identify others as ‘smart’ do so based on the level of education, acquired wealth (as a measure of success), social standing and few other factors. This, of course, is not set in stone.

If you are well-versed in a particular field, or even multiple fields, then you are presumed to be of high intelligence. Memory and repetition are key here.

Actions are performed with rationale behind them. If you have poor judgement, then you will suffer from doing rather stupid things. Intelligence, or acquired knowledge, is associated with rationale, however, they act somewhat independently.

You can’t be highly intelligent and be unable to form solid arguments. A statement like that is logical. A skill like that is essential for daily functions. The ability to make good decisions is measured by the success of those decisions, while your intelligence is measured by the external perception of you.

This creates a continuum of debate. If you have good thinking skills, then you would likely be thought of as a logical person. However, when looking to measure intelligence, logic is only one factor that contributes to overall intelligence.

While it might sound like an oxymoron to say someone is an ‘illogical intellectual’, it doesn’t mean that all smart people say or do things that are questionable — everyone lapses in judgement.
Making illogical decisions are tied to having some kind of emotional interference. All this does is reinforce our humanity. All humans are inherently flawed. You might run across a busy street to greet someone you care deeply about. Acknowledging the prospect of becoming roadkill is secondary because your attention is focused on the person.

The emotional response triggered by that person for the untimely/risky crossing, even though logic would dictate that you look both ways first.

Also, by some definition logic would dictate following patterns of success. If it isn’t broken, then why fix it. Someone straying from the norm could be considered illogical — or a madman. It is only upon success after that ‘madness’ does we see the effects of intelligence. Intelligence isn’t something that is solely based on logical arguments, but it is defined by the ability to solve a problem with creative license. That being said, please don’t run into oncoming traffic.