If You’re So Smart . . .

Originally published on LinkedIn


As we come to the close of this year, many of us start to reflect upon the kindness and generosity of others and start to evaluate our goals and whether we were successful with meeting them.

“I didn’t lose the weight I set out to lose.”

“I didn’t stop smoking.”

These are two pretty frequent conclusions people come to when they review their year.

Another goal people review is “the sales goal.”

“I will sell $x this year,” and they get clear and motivated (for a while) and then come in a little short with their objectives.

Often the response to not making goals is to blame management, blame the economy, or, , general blame others.

It’s like the discussion of income inequality in the US.

“They’ve gamed the system.”

“People like me don’t stand a chance.”


Yes, the system is hard and it’s complicated. Yes some people are advantaged and some are disadvantaged by the system.

The smartest people don’t always win financially and sometimes intelligence hurts them.

So let me ask you this:

If you’re so smart, why aren’t you making more money?

If you’re so smart why aren’t you worth more money?

If you’re so smart why aren’t you happier.


For many of you, your focus is on your resentment for others and their success. You complain of others’ success, wealth, happiness and the like and fail to pay attention to the effort they made to achieve success.

Yes, there are many members of “the lucky gene club” who inherited wealth, access to wealth, contacts, relationships, education, safe neighborhoods to grow up in, etc..

I remember a time when I stopped having joy working for myself and hiring others. I blamed my partner. I blamed my clients.

I started working for a firm some years ago. I liked the people I worked with but found too many instances where I blamed people for not being not as successful as I thought I could have been.


I was not born the son of a Russian oligarch or Middle Eastern oil sheikh. I am not the child of a Clinton or Obama, nor a Bush or a Zuckerberg or a Gates.

I don’t harbor resentment for their good fortune and I sometimes wish my path had been easier.

But I pause and focus on the things that are I my control where I made my mistakes and where correcting them is in my control.

“What’s my part in my lack of success,” I would ask myself.

“What can I do differently?”


Changing the focus makes a huge difference. It will not guaranty you to earn the same as the CEO of your firm but it will serve you much better than your resentment disguised as moral indignation ever will.


© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2015



Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

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