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Brainiac or Just Another Introvert? Psychologists Find That Intelligent People Are Happier When They Socialize Less

Brainiac or Just Another Introvert? Psychologists Find That Intelligent People Are Happier When They Socialize Less

It’s Saturday night, most of your friends are heading out to the coolest restaurants and bars in town to have some fun. Meanwhile, you are alone at home, in a cozy outfit and finishing up the latest project that you have been working on for the past few weeks. You start to wonder if you were born to be a loner, even though you do enjoy every single moment spent with your friends.

But every time if you have to make a choice between work and socializing, you would go for the former one. Achieving a goal or completing a task always triggers an unmatched sense of fulfillment and excitement in you.

So, is something wrong with you? Psychologists do not think so.

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Psychologists believe such mentality could be a sign of high intelligence.

In February, Satoshi Kanazawa of the London School of Economics, together with Norman Li of Singapore Management University, published a research in the British Journal of Psychology, suggesting that,

More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends.(Li & Kanazawa, 2016)

To put it in a nutshell, exceptionally smart people may feel happier when they are less socially active. The team also looked into the correlation between the level of satisfaction, population density and IQ performance.

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In contrast, in a county with high population density (937 persons/km2 , one standard deviation above the mean), more intelligent individuals had higher mean life satisfaction than less intelligent individuals did. (Li & Kanazawa, 2016)

Average people enjoy greater satisfaction living in rural areas than in densely populated cities. But for the really smart ones? They are urban dwellers.

The difference could be caused by our response to the ancestral environment.

A possible explanation for such differences between average people and brainiacs is the “savanna theory of happiness”. Coined by Kanazawa in 2014, the theory argues that despite the evolution in humans, some of our behaviors still respond to the ancestral environment.

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In other words, as our ancestors lived in an environment where social interaction was essential to survival, we humans living in the modern society still prefer frequent socializing even it is no longer for the purpose of survival. But highly intelligent people are able to adapt to an environment that is vastly different from the ancestral one, as Kanazawa proposed in his 2004 study that intelligence is actually the capability for adapting to novel conditions.

Although the theory needs further study and development, it is reasonable to believe that there is a certain relation between one’s level of intelligence and the status of his/her social life. Here are the three ways of how they could be related:

1. You are intelligent if you are able to cope with loneliness.

While we can yet be certain about the savanna theory of happiness now, there is no doubt that humans are social animals. Social interactions make up a crucial part of our lives. But you do not put too great of an emphasis on social life and genuinely enjoy yourself, it may indicate your ability to overcome the urge to socialize that is hard-wired in us. Your brain could be operating in a way that is different from the rest of us!

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2. You believe in your own abilities because you are intelligent.

As we are all social animals, frequent interaction with those who are close to us could mean a source of happiness and emotional support. Many of us may spend a lot of time socializing, trying to build bonds with one another. But if you firmly believe that you are capable of tackling most of the situations on life on your own, it implies that you have confidence in your abilities. As a result, you may not dedicate as much time in socializing as we do!

3. You understand the meaning of priority because your intelligence teaches you how.

Since social interaction is not your main source of happiness, you probably would put other things, such as your work, above socializing. Inside your head, you may have got a clear list of priorities. That could make you stand out from a lot of us, who believe that having an active social life is just as important as pursuing our goals and career. You may be identified as a high achiever who is goal-oriented and committed to advancing your career. After all, you could be one of those experts in time management!

So next time when you turn down an invitation to a house party because of work, there is no need to feel guilty, as that could just be your intelligent brain functioning!

Featured photo credit: https://stocksnap.io via snap-photos.s3.amazonaws.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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