The Dos and Don’ts of Being Dumb

The fear of every child is to be called stupid. It’s the most painful thing to hear. Hear it enough and you start to believe it.

Before I ever realized I was diagnosed with a behavioral disorder I would still be offended by how other children would treat those who struggled mentally. Even their language was designed to insult intelligence. “That’s so stupid. That’s so dumb. That’s so retarded.”

In truth, stupidity is a universal human quality. All are guilty of doing dumb things at some point. None of us begin our lives fully equipped with sufficient knowledge to perform well in all settings. And low intelligence is not a genetic trait. It’s a learned behavior.


Tell someone you don’t know who the second president of the United States is and they will pay you no mind. Tell someone you don’t know who the current president is and they will question your intelligence. Information is rated by levels of importance. One is considered stupid for not knowing what he or she is expected to know. This practice is unfair because information can grow unpopular. What was important to know in one generation becomes old news with time.

Learning Intolerant

Ever had someone accuse you of using “big” words? Many people have an adverse reaction to learning new things. They’ll avoid common activities such as reading, writing, or even thinking if they feel it involves expanding their minds. Intelligent individuals are often mocked by these types. Names like nerd and geek are called out when an individual is offended by knowledge. It is as if people would prefer the average person to know little.

Slow Thinker

Most would not blame you for taking your time to answer a question about politics or personal ethics. However, people will fault you for taking more than five seconds to think of a word that rhymes with cat. Some individuals just think faster than others. Slow processing speed tests the patience of those wanting quick answers. Thinking at your own pace should not be a sin. Is it better to have quick answers or slow contemplation?


Information can slip from our minds almost as immediately as we receive it. It can be embarrassing to raise your hand in class to make the teacher repeat what was just said a second ago. Once again, information has levels of importance. Our brains try to hold onto facts that are expected to be used often. Your family will get upset with you if you forget what days their birthdays are on. Imagine how they would react if you forgot what day your birthday is on.


Not everyone thinks creatively. However, we all have the capacity to create. The question is whether or not we choose to act on our untapped potential. Many people prefer to stick with what is simple and leave the creative thinking to others. That is fine for them. Living for the sake of living is their choice. But that will never be enough for those who desire to leave their mark on the world.


Some concepts can be difficult to comprehend immediately. Who can say that they are expert in finances, automotive repair, cooking, and psychology all at once? Society expects us to at least understand the basics. When we enter into a new environment our brains need to quickly gain an understanding of our surroundings if we hope to survive. Being slow to adapt will result in failure. A person can live his or her life without having to understand every conceivable concept on the deepest levels. However, not knowing why we do what we do makes us truly brainless.


Everyone has had a bad idea at some point. This is not because we are not smart people. We do dumb things simply because we don’t realize they are dumb. If we knew how things would always turn out, then we would always try to make the smart choice. It’s those who know better but don’t do better that are truly dumb. Performing an act with disregard for the sure consequences of our choices is terribly foolish. Driving drunk and gambling are some obvious examples of bad decision making that are quite common. Everyone makes mistakes, but “the foolishness of fools is folly.” (Proverbs 14:24)


Failing to notice the obvious can make a person feel inferior. Sometimes our brains don’t function at full capacity and we can miss important details that are right in front of us. Ever tried pulling a door open when it could only be pushed? We all have these moments. Just don’t fail to notice when you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe. Everyone else will notice.

Mentally Weaker

We can’t all be rocket scientists. Not everyone is a chess master. And not just anyone can keep an amazingly well written blog (wink). We shouldn’t compare ourselves to others to determine how intelligent we are supposed to be. Each of us has our own strengths. If someone can speak more eloquently than you, then does that make that person smarter than you? Of course not. Mental skill is not a sign of overall intelligence. And lack of specific skills is not a sign of weakness.

Just Plain Stupid

Being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome does not make me inferior to anyone. My brain works perfectly fine. I just struggle from time to time. We should all be accepting of each other and the way we naturally function. At the same time, we should never get too comfortable with our current level of intelligence. All of us can and should improve the way we think. That doesn’t sound too dumb, does it?


2 thoughts on “The Dos and Don’ts of Being Dumb

  1. Pingback: Learning How to Trust | People Acting Like People

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