Why many smart people are taken for granted?

Think about it:

Why MANY smart people are taken for granted?

Short answer:

Because they let them be.

[Please also note that the question was not why SOME smart people are taken for granted]

But let us first understand what taking for granted means.

Taking for granted means many things to many people and it differs from context to context. In this particular case, it is simply that a smart person is shortchanged or given less credit than what he/she truly deserves or simply assume that things would have been just fine even without the help of the smart person.

Now, let us look a typical scenario of “being taken for granted”

Someone makes a request to a smart person and the smart person fulfills the request.

Being smart the smart person fulfills the request in record time – way faster than what a normal person would fulfill the request. This is to the delight of the person making the request.

That is the start. Now, there is a fifty percent chance that the person making the request can make a good assessment of the “value” of this help.

Let us take the first case:

The “requestor” does not have the background or experience to make a good assessment of the value of the help received. Or, the “requestor” is used to pay by the hour rather than “pay by what gets done in the hour.” In any of these situations, the smart person is at a disadvantage. The smart person can choose to go and convince the “requestor” of value and get this all set right. But, that may not be something that the smart person enjoys or wants to engage with. So he/she accepts the arrangement and thus setting a lower bar for what the “right value” for what he brings to the table.

Now, let’s take the second case:

The “requestor” is intelligent enough to make a good assessment of the effort and the value of that help. Now the “requestor” has a choice whether to acknowledge and actually compensate for that value or just behave as if the work was not of big value. In other words, the “requestor” can simply try to get a “sweet deal.” Again, the smart person is at a disadvantage. In this case, it is even more difficult to convince the “requestor” of the value as the “requestor” is now pretending to not understand the value. As they say, it is difficult to wake up a person who is pretending to be asleep.

If you were on the receiving end, this can hurt a lot. You know the value of what you have delivered but you are unable to sell people on the value of what you delivered.


Simply because you have always focused on your “craft” and forgot to focus on “how to sell the value” of your craft. You can blame it all on the “other” people and get frustrated. Or, you can start investing in yourself and learn on “how to sell the value” of your craft.

Feeling victimized or getting frustrated is the easy part. You can choose to do that and you will have plenty of opportunities for the rest of your life.

Learning to sell the value is hard. Simply because you might consider that as an “opportunity cost” – you could have done something on your craft at the same time. It requires you to move away from your comfort zone to do something that you are not good at – “sell.” Investing in learning this skill is equally important as investing in taking your craft to the next level.

When you learn how to sell, you will also eliminate a large majority of people who don’t appreciate the value – meaning you will start working with more of the people who WILL see the value of what you bring to the table.

Have a great week ahead.

You may also be interested in other mini-research outcomes:

1. Why some smart people are reluctant to share? (Dec 26, 2009)

2. Why nice people will win BIG TIME in the long run? (Jan 15, 2010)