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On cleverness

Today, John Scalzi posted on his blog, “Whatever,” a profound statement:

The failure state of clever is “asshole.”

The older I get, the more often I use “clever” in a pejorative sense. When I was younger, and in love with the idea of being smarter than everybody else around me, I would often try to be clever for cleverness’ sake. As I aged, I started being clever as a shortcut to bypass some effort or process I felt was extraneous. Looking back on some of those works and projects now, I find myself thinking, more often than not, “What the hell was I thinking?”

Life lesson: Cleverness can bite you in your failure state. If you’re humble, you can talk yourself out of being clever and into being good. It’s a tough battle.

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