By Bill Auxier, Ph.D.
What if someone said the following to you? “You really didn’t need to waste my time. You think that what you just told me was something I didn’t know. I understand what you are saying. In fact, I agree with what you are saying, but you are mistaken that I need to hear it from you. You need to understand that I am an intelligent, well-informed person. You obviously don’t know how smart I am.” If someone said that to you, I’m guessing that you would probably think they were rude and full of themselves. Well, that is essentially what you are telling someone when you say “I already knew that.”
“Being smart turns people on. Announcing how smart you are turns them off.”
Telling the world how smart we are is “Habit #6” on Marshall Goldsmith’s list of 20 habits that will prevent you from getting to the top. Do you do this? Being aware of this habit is the first step to avoiding it. For example, have you ever had a coworker forward an urgent email to you that needs prompt attention that you were already aware of? In that situation do o simply say “thank you” or do you feel the need to let the other person know that you were already aware of the situation? If you can hit the reply button with a simple “thank you,” you’re probably okay. If you need to let the other person know you’re already on top of it, you need to work on your habit of telling the world how smart you are.
This isn’t a habit that is hard to break. It’s a simple 3 step process:
- Before you say anything, ask yourself, “Is anything I’m going to say right now worth it?”
- Conclude that it isn’t.
- Say “Thank you.”
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