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6 Things You Do Without Realizing That Make You Look Less Intelligent

6 Things You Do Without Realizing That Make You Look Less Intelligent

We all like to think we’re pretty smart people. For the most part, we are.

However, our actions sometimes betray our intelligence in ways that we don’t really even notice – but are glaringly obvious to those around us.

Whenever you’re in a situation in which the way others perceive you is important – such as at school or work – you need to be constantly aware of how you portray yourself. From the way you dress and act to the way you talk and the content of what you say, the people surrounding you will use every opportunity they can to judge you – for better or worse.

Take this into consideration the next time you interact with anyone outside of your comfort zone.

Dressing Down

The way you present yourself to the world determines how you will be treated by those who don’t know you. If you dress well, you’ll give off an air of respectability. If you schlep around in sweatpants and a T-shirt, no one will feel the need to give you the time of day.

If your workplace requires you to follow a specific dress code, you should be sure to follow it exactly as written every time you walk into the office. Even something as simple as leaving your tie at home one day will lead your colleagues to believe that you don’t think the rules apply to you – or that you don’t understand the rules in the first place. If you choose to dress down even the slightest bit, don’t be surprised if your coworkers and supervisors don’t listen to a word you say.

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Misusing Words or Sayings

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    For those of us who remember Tim Allen’s sitcom Home Improvement, recall the ongoing shtick in which Tim’s neighbor Wilson would relay some sage advice to Tim, only to have Tim jumble up the story when trying to sound smart later on in the episode.

    While it was always good for a chuckle when done by a fictional character, mixing up popular words or phrases in the real world is more pathetic than hilarious. If you’re a professor of literacy education who thinks “conversate” is a word, for example, your students probably aren’t going to be able to take you seriously throughout the semester.

    Don’t simply use buzzwords just because you’ve heard someone else use them in similar situations. If you can’t explain what you mean without using a colloquialism, you probably shouldn’t have said it in the first place.

    (Author’s note: Sadly, the above example is a true story. Don’t be that person).

    Appearing Aloof

    We’ve all been caught staring into space at some point in our lives, and we’ve all had to pretend as if  we were really listening to whoever was speaking – whether it was our teacher, our boss, or our spouse.

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    While we often make the excuse that we were “deep in thought” when we get caught with a blank stare on our face, the truth is we simply weren’t focused on the task at hand. While there are many reasons why we may not have been focused on the speaker at the time, they’ll almost always assume we weren’t listening because we didn’t understand or care about what they were saying.

    When you fail to maintain proper eye contact and exhibit body language that shows you’re listening, the speaker is likely to think you’re completely lost and have no idea what they’re talking about. Either that, or they’ll think you’re focusing so intently on understanding what they’re saying that you don’t have enough brainpower left to nod your head in agreement.

    Either way, the blank stare doesn’t make you look good.

    Talking Too Much

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      We’ve all heard the saying “loose lips sink ships.”

      While unless you’re high-level military personnel, what you say probably isn’t a matter of national security. But the words that come out of your mouth can lead others to think you’re not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

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      A good rule of thumb is to never say more than needs to be said.

      When you speak succinctly, you show that you’re able to collect your thoughts and explain them in an easily understandable manner. You know what’s important and needs to be said, and you know what can be inferred and doesn’t need explanation.

      On the other hand, if you’re one to babble on without thinking of what you’re saying, you give off the notion that you talk just to hear your own voice, or just say whatever’s on your mind and hope it makes sense to others.

      You have complete control over what comes out of your mouth. Choose wisely.

      Talking Too Little

      On the other hand, being too quiet can lead people to pass judgment on you, as well.

      For those of us who tend to take a backseat during conversation, we know that others may come to think that we’re being rude, or that we don’t have anything important to say. Though we know our quietness, shyness, or even introvertedness is not a sign of lower intelligence, others may not understand this so clearly.

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      Because of this, it’s important for the quiet ones among us to speak up from time to time. Remember: You don’t have to say a lot; you just have to say enough to let your counterpart know you’re listening and have some sort of intelligent opinion on the topic at hand.

      Judging Others

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        I realize this entire article is based around the fact that people will judge (and perhaps misjudge) you based on singular actions you take rather than seeing you as a whole person. I’m not saying this is right – but I am saying it absolutely will happen.

        But just because others judge you based on one-off encounters doesn’t mean you should do the same. In fact, it’s much safer to simply never judge anyone for anything, ever. None of us have any idea what it’s like to live someone else’s life. When you judge someone, what you’re really doing is assuming they’ve had the exact same privileges that you have had throughout your life. You’re holding them to your own standard, as if you should have some say in how they live their life.

        When you judge others, it shows you are only able to see the world through your own eyes, and have never once thought about the fact that, with seven billion people in the world, there are seven billion different ways to live.

        Featured photo credit: LB And the Ugly Suit / Jason Meserve / Flickr via farm3.staticflickr.com

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        Last Updated on August 19, 2019

        How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

        How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

        We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

        When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

        In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

        Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

        If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

        According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

        No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

        When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

        Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

        1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

        When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

        Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

        When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

        Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

        In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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        It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

        You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

        Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

        What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

        You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

        That’s where we all should be.

        So, answer me this:

        How are you, really?

        And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

        Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

        Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

        Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

        Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

        It’s taking control.

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        2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

        You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

        You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

        In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

        Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

        You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

        Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

        But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

        It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

        In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

        It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

        Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

        Change will happen.

        Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

        You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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        And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

        You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

        That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

        You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

        When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

        There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

        3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

        Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

        In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

        If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

        Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

        Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

        How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

        Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

        “Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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        Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

        Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

        It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

        Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

        “If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

        What would you do if you felt you were enough?

        By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

        So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

        Final Thoughts

        By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

        Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

        When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

        You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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        Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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