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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 January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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