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10 Signs You’re Uber Smart Even If You Don’t Appear to Be

10 Signs You’re Uber Smart Even If You Don’t Appear to Be

We often draw conclusions about people based on the way they look and the positions they hold in society, and that includes how smart we think somebody is. If someone is sporting the bow-tie, thick glasses, and high-waters, on top of being a software whiz, chess grand master, Sudoku champion, we automatically assume they’re smart.

On the other hand, there are plenty of smart people out there with completely different interests and hobbies beyond the stereotypical images presented above. Here are 10 signs that you’re exceptionally smart, even though you might not appear to be.

1. You’re curious–like a cat.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also helped motivate some of the most influential people in history. It drove Benjamin Franklin to tie keys to kite strings during storms. It drove James Cameron to build a one-of-a-kind submarine to explore the Mariana Trench. It drove the first person that ever sucked on cow udders to discover milk. Yes, maybe natural curiosity causes you to try some things that others think are just weird and crazy–but where would we be without that curiosity? Sitting around with no electricity, no idea of the depth of the ocean, and no milk, that’s where.

If you’re one of these honorable curiosities, then there’s also no doubt that…

2. You ask way too many questions.

It’s a common misconception that “smart people always have an answer”. The truth of the matter is that smart people are always searching for an answer, and always asking questions of the world around them–and where better to ask than the internet? Nowadays, we have the ability at our fingertips to access an archive of collective human knowledge… but most people are too busy snapping selfies to notice. The trick behind finding the right information on the internet is knowing how to ask the right questions–something smart people do all the time.

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Unfortunately, a lot of information in media and on the internet is pretty skewed in our society, which leads us to the next indicator that you’re actually really smart…

3. You’re a skeptic.

Skeptics don’t take anything at face value. They want to know the truth, and aren’t distracted by false and illogical claims. They often catch flack for not conforming to conventionally accepted norms, but sleep well knowing that they think for themselves.

Now, this is not to say that all skeptics are smart, or even that all smart skeptics are correct in their skepticism, no, because even if you are the smartest of skeptics…

4. You are not afraid to admit when you are wrong.

“I know one thing: that I know nothing” – Socrates

This quote is often referred to as the “Socratic Paradox”, and it means to highlight that the wiser person is not the person who presumes to know everything, but rather the person who recognizes that they don’t. This runs counter to today’s popular idea that smart people should never admit that they’re wrong or mistaken–but we all know that one smart guy who thinks he knows everything… and we all know he’s not really that smart.

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So keep on admitting you’re wrong. It’s healthy, and a sign that…

5. You’re emotionally intelligent.

The University of Maryland defines emotional IQ as the “skills used to understand and manage emotions effectively”. It’s different from standard intelligence because it deals less with cognition, but shows the depths to which a person can control their own emotions. Putting that last bit of money into savings despite the urge to spend it, choosing healthy options over junk food, and getting back to work instead of surfing the web (caught ya!) are all signs of well-developed emotional intelligence.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should just shut off your emotions, especially not if…

6. You enjoy art.

A lot of times, art demands that we think abstractly, perhaps even that we feel and not think at all. Comprehending pieces like Picasso’s Guernica isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, but those with a mind for it are up for a history lesson and half, and that’s before even getting into interpreting the meaning of the horse and the bull and the lack of color throughout.

But enjoying art doesn’t have to come down to liking Picasso–it can be as simple as getting lost in a guitar solo or the lyrics of a socially conscious rapper or singer in your headphones, especially if it gets you to think so much that…

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7. You think about thinking.

Thinking about thinking, or being aware of your own thought processes, is called meta-cognition. It’s an interesting way to examine how you problem solve and react to certain stimuli, but it’s also been shown to encourage critical thinking and help maximize cognitive skills. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking too much, however–spending too much time thinking and not enough time doing is one of the commons faults of smart people.

Speaking of fault, you might be a smart person if…

8. You stay up late, drink, and do drugs.

Yes, you read that right. Studies have shown that children with a high IQ are six times more likely to binge drink as adults and two to three times more likely to use illicit drugs. They are also more likely to be night owls. Indeed, many philosophers and other great minds of the past used to stay up all night with wine to “loosen the tongue” and talk about whatever business they pleased, seeking refuge in their conversations with one another.

Unfortunately, there aren’t as many thinkers around nowadays, and many of them, like you, keep a low profile. Thus, it’s only natural that…

9. You feel socially removed.

Because of all the previously mentioned traits, smart people aren’t necessarily seen as “smart” first and foremost anymore, but as artsy-fartsy skeptics who stay up too late and ask too many questions. Okay, maybe you don’t fit that description, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re more apt to stay away from fads that the standard “herd” seems to find cool all the time. There’s just something about your peers that you don’t get–or maybe it’s something about you that they don’t get–but in the end it generally frees up time for other, more important ventures.

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This is important, because…

10. You fail–a lot. But you learn from your mistakes.

Most smart people throughout history failed a ton, a humongous amount–but for every thousand failures they had their one grand success. Google’s Larry Page and Apple’s Steve Jobs both went through tumultuous times being run out of garages as startups, and even Bill Gates’s first business failed miserably. What sets these legendary examples apart is that they got back on the horse and kept re-imagining and planning for success until they obtained it.

One thing that the smartest figures in history recognized was that they would not and could not be constrained by their image. They understood the value inherent in simply being smart, and they used that to their advantage to shape the world we live in today.

They utilized their smarts to the utmost and changed history. What are you doing with yours?

Featured photo credit: http://www.stokpic.com/ via stokpic.com

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Andrew Heikkila

Owner-Operator of Earthlings Entertainmnet

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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