Smart people do stupid things all the time when they forget that, at this moment, the next new/big thing is coming around the corner, chasing them. In that situation, frankly, the less talented individual will win out if she or he has more fight. If you think your personal brilliance will keep you above the fray, you’re wrong. If you think none of this affects you yet, you’re wrong again.

How you decide to act in the next few minutes will decide the person you’re going to be from now on. So shut the door, ignore unsolicited emails, and let the phone calls go to voicemail.

Take a moment for a personal relevance-reality-check, because at any age these painful things can start happening to you and if they do, you’ll want to change your course of behavior:

  • You increasingly feel that your smarts are getting you nowhere; your skills aren’t being used.
  • You aren’t sought out.
  • You aren’t taken seriously.
  • You sense disregard for your authority by those above, below, or around you.
  • You can’t seem to gain new responsibilities; your current ones are chipped away.
  • Your honest self-assessment tells you that your expertise doesn’t always fit present day needs; you aren’t ‘with it’.
  • Your ideas to improve work aren’t welcome.
  • You experience notable indignities, such as being ignored in meetings, being left out of the loop on key decisions, or being omitted from the circulation lists from important e-mails, meetings, and social gatherings.
  • You get heavy and steady criticism of your work.
  • You are frequently passed over for the most interesting, important, or prestigious assignments.

All of these things can happen if you allow them to happen. But you, my dear reader, will not let this happen. You’ve got the fight in you or you are ready to get it back if you’ve let it slip.