What Are Street Smarts?
I’m sure you met a few people in your life who were ‘smart.’
But they weren’t smart in practical ways.
They had the theory on their side, yet, their judgment was off.
How well were they applying that theory?
Did they have the guts to apply?
What about when a boomerang was thrown into the system….could they adjust?
It’s one thing to have book smarts.
It’s another thing to have street smarts.
However, it’s a whole different ball game to have both.
This article is going to show more love to street smarts because let’s face it…
Most of formal education filled up our minds with the book side of things.
Let’s take a peek into a new world.
What are street smarts?
Time to find out.
What Street Smarts ISN’T
I’m sure you may have some dark images when you think of the streets.
Narcotics, robbery, and cheating.
Get rid of those images in regards to this phrase.
Street smarts is not about manipulation.
It’s about persuasion.
Then you thought wrong.
Manipulation is the intention to win with the risk of someone else losing.
Persuasion is the intention to win with the fruits of having someone else win as well.
It’s hard to be street smarts when you are being unethical.
Whether you believe in karma or not, life is better when you factor karma into the mix.
It gets you to thinking in cause and effects + long term.
A person who manipulates others may win short term.
However, the effect of their cause is going to be dark.
Humans don’t have the foresight to see the entire picture.
Just know manipulation always comes back with a 10x force.
Not the good kind of force either.
What are Streets Smarts for Beginners
The ability to be street smarts means to adapt.
A person who is capable of adapting does not need formal rules all the time.
‘I thought you said street smarts is like persuasion?’
‘Now you’re saying it’s like adaptability?’
‘But those are different words!’
Ah… I see the confusion.
You are thinking in words, my friend.
Words can cause you to be limited if you don’t learn to look beyond the words.
That’s a lesson you need to learn.
Words can lie, but microexpressions can’t.
People often just get caught up in the words because the ability to read someone’s microexpressions is blurrier.
It’s blurry because there aren’t set boundaries of what’s right and wrong.
We learn blurry subjects through pain, errors in judgment, and a bit more pain.
So if you are someone who is still wondering whether street smarts is about ‘persuasion’ or ‘adaptability’…
Know that it’s both.
Any field that goes beyond set rules constitutes as street smarts.
Pretty much all the topics we weren’t taught in school.
Can Anyone Learn Street Smarts?
Do you know the formal definition of a genius?
‘No, not really.’
It’s someone with elevated intellectual or creative abilities.
There are 2 kinds of people in this world.
- The group who thinks people were born smart.
- The other group who thinks intelligence can be cultivated.
If you think people are naturally born smart or dumb and can do nothing about it, then the spirit of street smarts is not there.
A spirit creates the street smarts individual.
Using the mind to control the mind will have certain limitations.
No matter how gifted you are, the mind will have a ceiling.
That’s when the spirit, also known as the attitude, needs to rise up in order to break through limiting beliefs.
Yes, street smarts can be learned.
‘Where can it be learned?’
Beyond the comfort zone.
There is no certain thing that is a comfort zone for everyone.
One person’s comfort can be another person’s discomfort.
Just find your comfort zone, and see what 1 inch beyond that zone looks like.
You don’t need to take any action yet.
But that 1 inch beyond the comfort zone is where the rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, and doubt lies…
That’s where street smarts will be learned.
What Are the Benefits of Building Street Smarts?
‘So Armani, you said I learn street smarts by going past my comfort zone, right?’
‘But why would I need to do all that? My life is good as it is.’
Because you can.
There’s no need to build the ability to adapt.
However, remember earlier how I bought up the concept of the spirit fueling street smarts?
The people who learn to go beyond their comfort zone do it, because they find it to be a challenge.
No one wants to go to a gym and lift the same shit every day.
Eventually, a part of them thinks, ‘hm, I wonder what adding a bit more weight to this bench press will do for me?’
That simple state of wonder gets them to alter their behaviors.
The benefit of improving street smarts is a sense of composure.
A part of you gives up power in order to gain it.
Rather than trying to hold onto all the rules that you were taught in school.
A part of you now willingly plays the game of life.
Office politics, mean comments on social media, a rude customer does not give you a panic attack.
It’s because the framing changed.
These issues are no longer issues.
These are now your ‘1 inch past the comfort zone’ moments.
Can Street Smarts Coexist with Book Smarts?
Book smarts is learning the theory, formulas and concepts.
If you can build real-world experience and combine that with the books, synergy is created.
I’d never diss book smarts.
Only a foolish person would do something like that.
However, I don’t believe in 50/50 anything.
50/50 works in a place with boundaries.
However, the real world is a complex system where 50/50 becomes a fool’s wish.
I believe in a leader and another side that complements.
There are methodologies in life.
- One side leads with book smarts and fills in the gaps with streets.
- The other side leads with street smarts and fills in the gaps with books
My philosophy is of the latter.
Streets to build real-world experience.
Books to fill in the gaps of understanding.
Call that a win-win.
Adapt, Grow and Adapt Once Again
Hopefully, now you understand the age-old question ‘what are street smarts?’
It’s the ability to adapt and thrive beyond boundaries.
Where can you learn street smarts?
Beyond your comfort zone.
Life is a game of adapting and continuously growing as people.
Those who stop growing will still have busy minds.
However, their minds are not problem-solving.
Which unfortunately leads to problem creating.
*cough* anxiety *cough*
Continue to adapt buddy.
Test your limits.
You push weights in the gym.
Now push your limits in the game of life.
If you want to improve your power to adapt, then check out my book “Street Smarts.”
This book contains 101 short stories, essays, and insights to get you thinking in a brand new way.
See the truth once and it will be impossible to unsee it.