Looking Stupid

“As president,” David Brooks writes about Dwight Eisenhower, “he was personally willing to appear stupider than he really was if it would help him perform his assigned role.”

“I didn’t think you were that smart,” a friend told Bob Moesta, “because you ask all these, almost stupid questions. But those questions are how you understand contexts.”

We’ve looked at looking stupid before but it’s an idea worth repeating.

Is the goal progress or satisfaction?

These aren’t mutually exclusive. Often progress and satisfaction accompany one another.

But sometimes they don’t.

Arguments carry this tradeoff. Is the point to prove how smart you are, or something else?

It’s ego.

Annie Duke offers an alternative. When she coaches poker players they gripe that nothing is happening. Good players, Annie advises, sit out a lot of hands.

But, there’s still a lot going on! It’s in your head.

What’s happening is the decisions. Framing the ‘action’ as mental appeals to progressing players.

Looking stupid isn’t stupid. It’s a path to the destination, a choice even our ego can love.

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