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How to Detect a Dumb Who Is Faking Smart

How to Detect a Dumb Who Is Faking Smart

Have you noticed that some people pretend to be busy at work? I’m sure you have, as it’s certainly not uncommon. However, some people practice a bigger deception, namely, they pretend to be much smarter than they really are.

But whether it’s attempting to look busy or look smart, it’s obvious that these people are super-conscious of how others see them.

And while pretending to be something they’re not can work for a time – eventually they’ll be caught out, as the vast majority of people overestimate themselves in the ‘acting skills’ department.

Faking Smart Makes People Look Smarter?

When it comes to faking smart, these pretenders fully believe that their ‘act’ can change the way others see them.

For example, an ambitious office worker might look and sound smart as they’re keen to climb the career ladder. However, as you’ll discover in a moment… appearances can be deceptive!

I’ve thought long and hard about these pretenders, and I’ve come to the realization that they don’t understand that the quality of smartness needs to come from within. It’s not a characteristic that can just be put on a like a jacket or a scarf.

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Clearly, these people are ‘acting’ from a surface level and playing the role of someone who is seen as smart (although that will be their own interpretation of smart).

    Even the Best Actors Have Their Bad Days

    Just think for a moment about a person who you once thought was smart – but later realized was really just an average person with a gift for selling themselves. If you recall some of the conversations you had with them, you’ll remember that they loved to give lots of opinions on things, but could seldom express the reasons for these opinions.

    Simply put, they dominated conversations by talking a lot – but most of what they spoke was nonsense.

    I’ve encountered so many of these people over the years, that I now feel sorry for them when I see them pretending to be something that they’re not. It’s quite sad as they’re emotionally and mentally desperate for others to see them as smart people who know lots of things.

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      How to Spot a Pretender

      I want to share with you now my techniques for spotting mediocre people who are pretending to be smart people.

        The first and primary technique is to ask these people lots of questions. When you do this, you’ll quickly begin to unravel their ‘lines’.

        What I mean by this, is that an average person acting smart will only be able to mimic the surface qualities of a genuinely smart person. Once you start probing the pretender with questions, you’ll immediately begin to find holes in their stories and responses.

        I recommend asking simple questions such as:

        • “Why do you believe that? “
        • “What’s the reason for taking that decision?”
        • “Can you tell me more?”

        When you ask questions like these, an actor will struggle to reply, as they won’t have a genuine back story to call upon.

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        But be careful, if a pretender feels that they’re close to being exposed, they may react with anger and aggression – as this will be their only way left of showing that they still have control and power over things. And even if they’re not aggressive, you can be sure that they’ll argue with you and insist that they’re right.

        To give you a real-life example of this, I remember working with an ‘average Joe’ who talked smart – but was in reality, quite the opposite. One time when we were discussing technical details of a project, I noticed he started using terminology that was not just irrelevant, but was in fact, completely off track.

        When I mentioned this to him, he suddenly became super-defensive and said that he had simply misspoke. However, it didn’t end there. After making his excuses, he abruptly switched the attention from himself to me. He started accusing me of all kinds of things – none of which were true. Luckily, his falsehoods were noticed by others on the project, and it wasn’t long before he was no longer a part of it.

        When you know what to look for, you’ll find it incredibly easy to spot the actors and pretenders. When they are faking smart, they won’t have done their research, and this means that they won’t have the proper perspectives on an issue. This is why asking questions will expose them. When trying to respond, they will fail to explain things properly or convincingly.

        Hollywood provides a good metaphor. For instance, you’ve probably seen actors playing expert lawyers. On screen, they look and sound impressive. However, if you had the opportunity to ask the actor some legal questions (outside the remit of the script) they would almost certainly just look at you blankly. In other words, they only have a surface knowledge. And this knowledge is very limited indeed.

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          Seeing Instantly Through Someone

          It’s vital that you know how to spot people who are faking being smart. If you allow them to fool you, they’ll lead you down a hazardous road littered with bad ideas and bad decisions.

          Clearly, a person faking smart, doesn’t have the genuine knowledge or experience of someone who’s actually smart. And because of this, they’ll always lack the proper perspectives on issues, causing them to make inferior choices.

          Whether they’re your subordinate or your boss, don’t let their pretence negatively impact your work. Either help them to bring out their authentic self – or if they’re unwilling to do this – take steps to distance yourself from their delusions.

          Knowing how to spot a pretender will be a fantastic skill that you can use in all areas of your life. Never again will you be taken in by people who claim to be something they’re not.

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          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

          100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier 10 Best New Products That People Don’t Know About Book Summary: The Power of Habit in 2 Minutes 1 Minute Book Summary: How To Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less 2 Minutes Book Summary: Thinking Fast and Slow

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          Last Updated on May 7, 2019

          How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

          How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

          Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

          The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

          The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

          Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

          People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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            They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

            Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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                1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
                2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
                3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
                4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
                5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

                How to Spot a Wolf

                  Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

                  Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

                  A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

                  A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

                  Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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                  Ask Questions, the More the Better

                  There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

                  When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

                  Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

                  They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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                  Wolves Are Everywhere

                  As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

                  Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

                  Reference

                  [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
                  [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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