Why many smart people are taken for granted?

Why many smart people are taken for granted?

By Rajesh Setty on Sun 28 Mar 2010, 9:14 AM – 5 Comments

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)


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5 Comments so far, Add Yours

Nuruddin Abjani  on March 28th, 2010

Good thinking, Rajesh.

This is an every day thing happening to everyone, yet most of us don’t realize or don’t want to take action.

Our own lacking. Sometimes it is not even the lack of selling ability. We just do it out of the fear of rejection…? Or maybe,’what if….’? The usual ‘worries’ that stop us from taking that plunge.

But, as usual, a thought provoking post.

Thanks for sharing, Rajesh.

God bless.


Rajesh Setty  on March 28th, 2010


Thanks for the note.

Here are the steps:

#1. To be aware that this is happening

#2. Having the mood and inclination to do something about it.

#3. Having the knowledge to do something about it.

#4. Actually doing something about this.

The breakdown can happen in one or more of the steps.

The key is to remember that the more delay you introduce in taking action, the more it hurts you (to be realized only later in life)

Have a great week ahead.



Bala  on March 28th, 2010

Fantastic Rajesh!.

It is amazing to see how you articulate such tacit challenges into lucid conversations.

Am myself a consultant, ofen faced such a scenarios that you described above…

Any suggestions on Good Books which can help in “selling the value”?


Rajesh Setty  on March 28th, 2010

Very kind of you Bala. Thanks.

Here are a few books to start with:

1. Influence by Robert Cialdini

2. All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin

3. The Genius Machine by Gerald Sindell

4. You, Inc by Harry Beckwith

5. Brand You 50 by Tom Peters

6. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Read anything and everything on telling stories. The most under-estimated skill in the marketplace.

Hope this helps.



Ganesh  on March 28th, 2010

Hi Rajesh,

Great Post.

As it is rightly mentioned this happens to us on daily basis.

As far as my understanding goes, it happens at 2 levels.

1. Personal level

Considering at personal level, sometimes,it comes from our close relations. Selling “value” at this level creates a fear of breaking the relationship in longterm.. How can we do that?

2.Professional level.

At this level,we are afraid to go beyond certain point as there are constraints like,evaluations, what if I am thrown out?, etc.. We are not sure how to overcome this personal fight happening within us and “sell value.”

It will be helpful for readers like me if you can eloborate more on this post.


Ganesh Ram Anand V

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