Smart People Look Really Ordinary

When you are trying to appeal to a certain group, it’s important to understand they may not look like you expect them too. For example, I’ve found that smart people look really ordinary.

Could you spot a math prodigy by looks? Not likely.

Could you spot a financial guru by appearances? Most likely you would spot the incorrect one.

Why? Because often times smart people look really ordinary. The “stock whisperer” guy driving around in a Ferrari, living in a mansion and spending money like it is going out of style, may be poor at managing risk. He might be making money, but when things go south, it’s all gone. Meanwhile, people like Warren Buffett have lived in the same house, driving the same cars for decades.

When you are trying to understand a group in order to sell to them, market to them, learn from them, or otherwise engage with them, it’s important to understand what they actually are. Appearances are different from reality, understanding that is critical to finding the empathy to engage with the right ones.