Balance Managing Self

The Trap of Being Smart

Written by Ritu Goswamy

The other day at the end of yoga class, the instructor prompted, “let your brain be passive” as we were getting into relaxation pose. After an initial feeling of discomfort and confusion about the request, I was able let go and let my mind drift away. This action allowed me to refresh and rejuvenate for all the active brain pursuits I regularly have as a lawyer.

As lawyers, we depend on our smarts, our intelligence, and our aptitude to get through any situation. We are trained to solve problems with our brains. Being in our head is how we thrive in our successful careers. We don’t shy away from challenge and we have the drive and determination to “figure it out” by being smart. Being smart is an invaluable asset to being a lawyer.

Using our intellect allows us to dive deep into complicated situations and laws to analyze novel situations. Our minds are powerhouses in processing information and providing optimal answers and advice for our clients. We have the opportunity to use our gift of intelligence to help others.

However, being smart can also be a trap. By always going into our heads, we create separation from other aspects of ourselves such as our hearts and intuition. You know that feeling when something is a “no-brainer”? That decision that is so clear that you don’t even have to think about it? The reason for that is we are able to tap into our whole selves based on all of our abilities and experience to give a definitive answer. We don’t need to analyze it or think it through – because we know on a deeper level.

We can apply this “knowing” to our law practice. By cultivating natural breaks for our active thinking brain, we can relax and encourage the other parts of us to participate in problem solving. Developing regular habits of letting our brains be passive allow us to approach challenging problems more fully and effectively. For a practical system of how to incorporate these habits into your daily life, you can download my book for free at:

Escaping the trap of being smart requires that we be attentive to letting our brain be passive. The benefits include increased productivity and concentration in the long run.

About the author

Ritu Goswamy

I am a lawyer, author, and legal productivity consultant. I created the New Billable Hour™ system for lawyers to expand their time by billing themselves first. I teach this system directly to lawyers in a way that is engaging, fun, and practical. By prioritizing our needs in an efficient way, we are able to then respond to other demands on our time. My philosophy is to shift from the reactive training we have as lawyers in order to live more intentionally and ultimately have a bigger impact in all aspects of our lives. My first book, The New Billable Hour: Bill More Hours, Be More Productive, and Still Have Work-Life Balance is available on Amazon: or for a free copy, visit You can reach me at

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