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You can’t be smarter than you are

This might sound obvious, but it’s not: You are only as smart as you are. People get stuck because they aspire to be smarter than they are. People refuse to produce until they are as smart as they want to be, but the only way to become as smart as one wants to be, is to start producing work at one’s current stupidity level. If you feel that you are dumber than you wish to be, the only way to become smarter is to produce smarter work, but the only way to do that is to start now producing whatever you are currently capable of producing. The reason is that you have to become possessed by a real, living, breathing, passionate agenda. It’s a trajectory, a process, where one idea or question or puzzle is what propels you into the next.

Writing an honest, unpretentious, and stupid blog post today at your current, actual stupidity level will give you something to beat with a slightly less stupid blog post the day after. Writing two stupid blog posts, two days in a row, will boost your internal sense of production potential enough that you’ll allow yourself to generate 5 new blog post ideas, whereas yesterday you never even allowed yourself to have new blog post ideas because you saw yourself as not-yet-smart-enough to even deserve your own blog post ideas! Of those 5 new ideas, 4 will be really stupid but 1 of them will turn out noticeably smarter than both of your first two blog posts. The 4 really dumb blog posts will be ignored and forgotten, but that strong post will get more reads and shares than all of the previous ones combined. And so on… Fast forward 6 months, and the “stupid” version of you who dared to be honestly stupid is now 3x smarter than the version of you who chose to postpone working until you’re finally smart enough.

2 comments on “You can’t be smarter than you are”

  1. Hi Justin, this post really spoke to me. Next week is half-term and I'm going to launch Primitive Accumulation no matter how imperfect and daft those first posts might be. I've got a few vlogs recorded, a few short blog posts underway, and a podcast idea that I can record quickly. I don't just want to consume great ideas, I want to create my own content too. Just put it out there like a little message in a bottle. Even if one person in the whole world likes my content it'll be worth it. Hell, even if no one in the world likes it it'll still be worth it to hone my writing skills and just be creative in my own way. Exciting! James

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