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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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More by this author

Andrew Heikkila

Owner-Operator of Earthlings Entertainmnet

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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