Ignorance vs. Stupidity

Stupidity denotes the inability of a person to understand something due to insufficient intelligence. Being ignorant on the other hand means that you have a lack of knowledge about either a specific subject or in general. The intrinsic difference is that ignorance simple implies lack of awareness about something not the inability to understand. Stupid people have lots of problems. They mess up, foul up, and screw up. In a world in which intelligence is adaptive, stupid people obtain less value, and they suffer the consequences.

To combat stupidity, society has invented education and training. Used wisely, education and training can build skills and even raise intelligence itself. A barrier to this course of action is that many, perhaps most, of the stupid people fail to understand that they are stupid. Like others, they believe that they are better than average. Except that in their case, this belief is grossly in error, and it keeps them from taking remedial action.

What individuals say mirrors how they think, and both are indicators of what they will do. If you want to know how people think, listen to what they say. The old saying states, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” Prov. 23:7. I have spent most of my career working with individuals and coaching them on how to take themselves and their dreams to a higher level. Then, when I lay out an action plan of how to get there, I often hear things like, “That is impossible,” or “That will never work,” however with that mindset, they are correct. Whether the task is impossible or whether it will actually work, is less important in this case than how this person thinks. Most individuals are so convinced by their unwise thinking that simple things become impossible and most new efforts never work.

Some of the ridiculous things people say:

  • “I am living the dream” – I know it is meant to be a gesture of enthusiasm and positive mental attitude, but too many people say this too often to even be believable.
  • “Money does not make me happy” – The only people who say this are people who do not have money. Individuals with money would never blame their money on their unhappiness.  
  • “That is impossible” – This person believes the world seems impossible. They are overwhelmed and no longer considering the possibilities and adventures of new projects but focus on the limitations.
  • “I do not have the time” – Even the busiest of people have time if they want to make time. You think you are busy until there is an emergency and then you immediately make time to handle it.

People can say the most laughable things and they do not 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. Individuals 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.