People Have The Right To Be Stupid

I get annoyed when I read a story about someone who — rather publicly — makes a really dumb decision. When they’ve got an opportunity to do something amazing and instead do something… stupid.

I pointed this out to a friend last week, and she told me something perfect: “People have the right to be stupid.”

As in: People have the right to spend their money the wrong way.

As in: People have the right to hang out with the wrong crowds, or to waste time on the wrong projects.

As in: People don’t just have the right to — they’re going to. You can’t always stop these stupid decisions. Sometimes, you just have to stand there and watch stupid happen.

Now here’s the thing you have to remind yourself: It is not your job to stop other people’s stupid. Sometimes, in the course of doing the work, people get so wrapped up in the work that they make decisions that seem smart to them — but obviously stupid to everyone else.

I keep reminding myself: It’s not your job to stop other people from making those mistakes. You can offer advice, and you can reach out to help — but mistakes will be made.

Stupid just happens. It’s frustrating, but it happens.

(But hopefully not to you.)

That photo of a truly stupid sign comes via Flickr’s Chris Ingrassia.