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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 April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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