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Brilliant people don’t take stupid actions

You can stay in the hustle of constant preparation, or you can recall you’ve been building toward this your whole life.

Whether we realize it or not, we’re always stockpiling wisdom & acumen. It’s worth asking though, “what areas am I improving in?”

Am I getting better at rationalizing my hustle, or am I getting better at saying no to the people and things that don’t serve my greater good?

Am I getting better at acquiring more and more information, or am I taking the time to sit in long-term application? How am I practicing and integrating these lessons I’ve been seeking?

Am I using my education to add value to the world around me, or am I using ongoing education to procrastinate from doing the work I should be doing (but am afraid to attempt)?

I live under the assumption that each of us is brilliant, with singular gifts and contributions the rest of us need. We depend on one another to discover ourselves, so we can all reap the benefits of our collective self-actualization.

But brilliance is a “show me don’t tell me” proposition. Don’t list out your degrees or credentials, or the bullets you think build your cred. Don’t tell us how authentic you are.

Show up deeply present, and apply your wisdom & acumen to tackling my problems.

Show us over a period of months and years. As Steve Martin summed it up, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

These are the people who torch my soul with inspiration. These are the rare few who slowly, methodically amass a stunning body of work. They can also reveal themselves as the solid, trusted friend who answers every call in a cheerful, even tone. They’ve always been there, and they always will be.

Brilliant, magnetic souls are eager to be of service, every time. They reveal deeper and deeper wells of knowledge over decades. They’re too cool to just show up and throw up.

It took me a while to figure this out, (because like most of you) people told me I was brilliant from a young age. I think I just tripped over fresh ways to express myself, or interesting ways to intellectualize things.

But cleverness isn’t brilliance. Cute isn’t gravitas.

At some point I had to inventory all of the actions I was taking in a given day, apply rational discrimination, and figure out if I was only improving in doing dumb shit. Or, was I at least trying to orient myself to what us yogis call Right Action?

Over and over, introspective scrutiny proved what I feared the most: That truly brilliant people don’t tend to take repeated, stupid actions. They just don’t.

They’re too busy working. They are too busy contributing, creating, or writing the next cypher. They don’t have time to flake on people, or get their utilities shut off. They don’t have boots on their cars, or work soul-sucking jobs they hate. They’re not pretending to water the lawn while sucking down beers behind the shed.

Brilliance doesn’t need to hustle. It’s always on a low simmer.

What can we do today to either increase our brilliance, or release that which doesn’t serve us? I’d love to hear your thoughts.



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  1. KC, I love this article and really love this quote, “Brilliance doesn’t need to hustle. It’s always on a low simmer.”

    I think too often we beat ourselves up that we’re not doing the big hustle that others seem so good at. Yet when you get in there and really look it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors and not much substance.

    Now that I think about it, this summarizes what I didn’t like about a very high priced coaching program I was in for the past year. Lots of bragging in the group about renting Lamborghini’s while on vacation, and smoking cigars with (insert famous person name here), etc. Yet very little soul, inspiration, or discussion about actually making a difference.

    Just found you on Twitter and so glad I did. I love your writing!

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