Posted by: seanmalstrom | May 4, 2021

Age of the Cowardly Lion

Above: A portrait of the reader.

What is the measurement of a man?

As I grow older, experience more of ‘life’, I am finding an interesting curiosity.

Everyone is ‘smart’.

“Even the stupid people?”

They’re the ‘smartest’ ones of all!

We have created a Religion of the Smart. A microcosm of this can be seen in the US university system as they fleece young people out of a great deal of money and time. What is the university selling? The idea of being ‘smart’. But it doesn’t end there.

If I ask you about nutrition, everyone becomes ‘smart’. “I eat whole vegetables.” “I am keto.” Everyone is so smart!

If I ask you about finance, everyone becomes ‘smart’. “I put extra money in my ROTH IRA.” “I buy crypto.” “I buy real estate.” Everyone is so smart!

But if I ask you about your dreams, everyone becomes stupid. “I do not know what my dreams are,” they might say. “It is a steady course,” they might reply, “of spending less than I earn. I must save for the rainy day!” Or “I am working for promotion/retirement.” And yet again, they all shake hands and declare themselves ‘smart’. “We are so smart!”

Everyone is smart! EVERYONE! It’s a miracle, reader!

Perhaps a Democrat has entered the room. Did you know that the Democrat will then talk of Republicans as ‘stupid people’ who ‘do not understand science’ or ‘anything else for that matter’?

Perhaps a Republican has entered the room. Did you know that the Republican will then talk of Democrats as ‘stupid animals’ who ‘do not understand the constitution’ or ‘anything of basic finance’?

Maybe I will find stupid people in prison. But nope! One prisoner says, “Yeah, I might be in for armed burglary, but I’m not a rapist! I’m not that stupid!” See! The prisoner is smart!

I go to another prisoner. He says, “I may be a rapist, but I am no child rapist. Now that is just really dumb and bad.”

What I’m observing here is not that ‘everyone is smart’ often by putting others down, whether it is true or not. I’m simply observing that EVERYONE now finds value in being ‘smart’.

“My IQ,” snorts the nerd, “is so high that everything I say is now authoritative.”

Then answer this question for me, oh so high IQ.

“Of course, Malstrom. My brilliant IQ will be able to answer anything.”

I do not know your IQ number. But I assume it is over 100.

“You assume rightly.”

And while I do not know your net worth, I know that you are not the wealthiest person out there.

“This is true.”

In fact, there are people who are ten times wealthier than you are. Many people are ten times wealthier.

“It cannot be denied.”

Therefore, how can this be? Do they have an IQ ten times you do? Do they have over a 1000 IQ?

“Do not be absurd, Malstrom,” snorts the nerd. “There is no such thing as 1000 IQ.”

But if IQ matters, why are they so much wealthier than you?


Clearly, IQ is not the most important variable in wealth generation.

“Perhaps it’s time, Malstrom.”

So you work 8 hours a day, and they work 80 hours a day?

“That is not possible.”

Right. So working more cannot be the answer.

I like the Wizard of Oz metaphor because there are three virtues shown in the book/movie. The scarecrow doesn’t have a brain. The tinman doesn’t have a heart. And the lion doesn’t have a medal for courage.

I see tons of people falling over themselves claiming they are the greatest scarecrow ever. “I’ve got the biggest brain!”

And to those who do not have the IQ or degrees, they fall over themselves claiming they are the greatest tinman ever. “I’ve got the biggest heart!”

But where are the lions?

Everyone is the cowardly lion. There are no displays of courage.

The reason why things are not changing in your life is because you’re scared. Fear drives most people. It is also what keeps turning people into scarecrows and tinmen. When a rare time a lion is around, they are called ‘stupid’ and ‘heartless’ which completely ignores the virtue the lion does represent: courage.

To be a successful soldier, it is not brains that is needed. Nor is it a heart. It is courage.

To be a successful businessman, it is not brains that is needed. Nor is it a heart. It is courage.

The reader complains, “Can you place this in a context that I can understand?”

OK. Take a young man who wants a hot babe.

“Oooohhhh,” says the reader. “I can relate to this!”

Will a big heart get the hot babe?

The reader laughs. “No. You just become her ‘friend’. A Nice Guy ‘friend’ haha.”

Will a big brain get the hot babe?

“Only if it translates to money. Girls don’t care about the smarts unless it brings in income.”

But what about courage?


It doesn’t matter how much the young man ‘studies’ woman. What matters is whether he pulls the trigger. Does he have the BALLS to ask her out?

“That is the question.”

And if he doesn’t have the BALLS, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS! It is because then no relationship is possible. His brain won’t matter. His heart won’t matter.

“You speak truly.”

Now translate that to everything else. You find the lagging variable in the Human being today is not SMARTS, not HEART, it is COURAGE. We are the Age of the Cowardly Lion.

“But how do you define courage?”

An excellent question. Courage, in this context, means ‘getting out of your comfort zone’. It explains why someone getting a third PHD will never become successful. That person may be getting more ‘smarts’, but that person refuses to leave his or her comfort zone. You cannot be successful without leaving your comfort zone.

“What other indicator is there that we are the Age of the Cowardly Lion?”

Look at the movies and the books. We make heroes of people who have attributes we desire. Poindexter is never seen as heroic. No one wants to watch a movie about a guy being ‘smart’. Or about a guy being ‘heart’. No. Courage defines everything in the movies we watch.

Ironically, in prior centuries, where courage was more common, other attributes were displayed.

“I need examples,” spouts the reader.

Shakespeare runs the round of all various virtues. Courage is shown, yes. Intelligence, however, is frequently mocked. In As You Like It, the courageous wrestler gets the girl while the intellectual, philosophizing Jaques is left alone in the forest. The ‘Heart’ is also shown but only from a position of strength, after the warrior has displayed courage and wins.

My point is that the reason why your life sucks is because you lack courage.

“Courage of what?”

Courage of your dreams. Your dreams suck, reader. You need to dream bigger.

“But bigger dreams means I am more likely to fail at them.”

And you’re scared to fail.

“That’s right.”

And that is why your life sucks.

Look, I have had the fortune to talk to some of the richest motherfuckers who’ve ever lived. People keep saying they are ‘smart’. They weren’t STUPID, but none of them were ‘smart’. People say they had big hearts who wanted to serve their fellow man, but they only did that in a selfish, profitable way.

No one wants to see the obvious because of what it implies in ourselves. They had courage.

Not the courage of jumping off buildings or the courage of jumping into the cannon’s mouth. It is the courage of bold dreams, and the courage to go after them.

They are ten times wealthier than the reader because the reader has small dreams. People who are very successful always talk in big terms like selling to the entire continent or something. The reader’s dreams may be something like ‘I want to buy some real estate and some bitcoin. Then… then I’ll be smart.” (Oh, that word again!)

Everyone I know who’ve become super successful have on thing in common: they were unconventional. That takes BALLS. I rarely see anyone ‘conventional’ win in the end.

The Cowardly Lion does not become rich. The Cowardly Lion does not get the girl. The Cowardly Lion creates a hell out of his life.

Above: How the readers live their lives. “Derrrpp. I need to be ‘smarter’ in order to become successful.” “I need to have more heart… DERPP.”

Fuck this way of living. ‘Smart’ now just a cover for lack of courage.


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