Matthew Waterman
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Matthew Waterman in Brand Power,

No, People Are Not Really This Stupid.

Relax. No need to go losing faith in America over things like this.

How many of your friends have this meme on their Facebook (FB) feed right now? Do they seem to be questioning the ability for people to fall for this kind of thing? If you're starting to believe that there must really be a lot of incredibly stupid people out there for these things to keep getting shared, well, I'm happy to tell you that you can breathe a sigh of relief. 

If there is actually any question in your mind, no, this incident did not happen, as former Apple (AAPL) co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs would have already been 26 years old when Brittney Spears was born. I figure there might be some little kids on the internet or something who didn't actually know this. You're forgiven. 

The rest of you, take it easy. 

I think the reason that people post things like this is that they really like to propagate the myth that the average person is a lot stupider than they are. We get a sense of security and superiority by making fun of obvious fools. But that's the whole joke. It's "trolling", you've heard of that, right? The meme is not trying to be factual, it's deliberately made to sound stupid. So when you post this on your feed worrying that someone might think it's legit, well, then the joke is on you.

Moreover, humans are not stupid, and it's a mistake to go thinking that they are. There is most definitely an intelligence mean, but the number of people who have below average intelligence is not half the population. The majority of humans are only a few points different, with a small percentage of extremely bright minds, and also a small percentage of people who do struggle. 

If you develop a bias towards people you think are stupid, it will impact your decision-making skills.

I've actually seen this problem first hand in some of my friends who I consider to be reasonably intelligent. They think they're rare, and so they don't show respect to other people. They think they're always right, and they do whatever they want to without regards to others feelings. 

All I can say is, good luck with that.

The people who are the most successful in life do not underestimate their peers or their competition. 

Never talk down to anyone, assume that there is at least some area of expertise or knowledge that they will possess that you do not today. The stock market is chock full of people who know lots of information you don't. If there's a lot of price support behind a stock, then maybe it's possible that going contrarian is not the answer. Take the time to question your actions, and make sure you are not the one who is wrong.

Long Apple, not quite there on Facebook yet.