How do I get over my low tolerance for stupid people?

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How do I get over my low tolerance for stupid people?

I hope I'm not alone. I don't have patience for, nor do I enjoy working with, people who aren't super smart. Assuming it's impossible to always surround myself with the brightest people, how can I change this about myself?

My answer (on Quora - click here): 

I have struggled with this question for years. Among other things, I wanted to change this because as soon as I brand someone "stupid", my brain loses the ability to communicate effectively. I just hate it when that happens. I used to have a very low tolerance for people behaving 'in a stupid way' but with time the situation has changed. I can't claim to understand everyone I meet, but the frequency of calling people stupid has reduced.
 

The way I understand it is - we all use the word "stupid" as a replacement for a variety of things. For instance, I could be seen using the word stupid for people who are:

- Low in IQ (don't think I know too many people like that)
- Lazy
- Careless
- Indifferent (they don't care about the things I want them to)
- Conceited
- Distracted
- Restless
- Unfamiliar with that particular situation
- Weird (what ever your definition of weird is)
- Uninformed
- Ill-informed
- Short sighted ... etc. etc.
So why do I call someone stupid despite knowing all this? I don't have a politically correct answer for this - it just feels good to call someone stupid. "Uninformed" doesn't give the same level of satisfaction that you can get from "Stupid". I believe that's the same reason why people love using the "F" word too.

Every time we see other people doing things we don't like - we call them stupid. On the subject of why my tolerance to "behavior I don't approve of" has increased:

1. Training my brain to not judge people too harshly: A guy who can't decide what to order from the menu, might be really good at solving complex financial models. Or worse, I could be plain and simply wrong about someone. It is also not practically possible to chose to work only with the people I want to work. Calling someone stupid is easy and doesn't make you a criminal to do so but it does shut people out.

2. Acceptance: You learn to forgive and start to accept certain people as 'different'. To a large extent a person's behavior is directed by his/her "situation". By situation I mean - family, friends, finances, education, culture, religion, values ...

3. Priorities: With time your priorities change. Even though you don't agree with everything that happens around you, you can't be bothered with so many things. I certainly don't want to be bitter about things that I can't change or don't effect me.

4. I am not as smart as I thought I am: Let's assume being smart is extremely important. People much younger to me have achieved much more than I ever will. I am definitely not very smart, if I start comparing myself with the people I admire (rather than with the people I think are stupid).

5. I have not earned the right to criticize others: One should to achieve something significant and meaningful (both at the same time) before one can begin criticizing others. Till I do something truly remarkable I should avoid judging others. I believe if I do happen to do something great for this world, I wouldn't have the time to criticize others.

6. I am not a slave: If indeed I am surrounded by stupid people and can't deal with them anymore - I should just get the hell out of there. No one has chained me to anything. 


7. One smart person can't do sh*t: IQ is important and it certainly helps to understand things quickly, but there are very few things I can accomplish just on my own. If I can't  work with/for different kinds of people, my IQ is of no use. Great leaders act like magnets for attracting the top talent. Their EQ inspires people around them to achieve great things.