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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.

          More by this author

          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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          Last Updated on March 17, 2020

          4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting

          4 Simple Ways to Make Boring Work Become Interesting

          Are you bored at work right now?

          Sitting at your desk, wishing you could be anywhere other than here, doing anything else…?

          You’re not alone.

          Even when you have a job you love, it’s easy to get bored. And if your job isn’t something you’re passionate about, it’s even easier for boredom to creep in.

          Did you know it’s actually possible to make any job more interesting?

          That’s right.

          Whether it’s data entry or shelf stacking, even the most mind-numbing of jobs can be made more fun.

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          Understanding the science behind boredom is the first step to beating it.

          Read on to learn the truth about boredom, and what you can do to stop feeling bored at work for good.

          VIDEO SUMMARY

          I’m bored – as you’re watching the same film over and over again, even though it’s your favorite one

          When you experience something new, your brain releases opioids – chemicals which make you feel good. [1]

          It’s the feeling you might get when you taste a new food for the first time, watch a cool new film, or meet a new person.

          However, the next time you have the same experience, the brain processes it in a different way, without releasing so many feel-good chemicals.

          That’s why you won’t get the same thrill when you eat that delicious meal for the tenth time, rewatch that film again, or spend time with the same friend.

          So, in a nutshell, we get bored when we aren’t having any new experiences.

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          Now, new experiences don’t have to be huge life changes – they could be as simple as taking a different route to work, or picking a different sandwich shop for lunch.

          We’re going to apply this theory to your boring job.

          Keep reading find out how to make subtle changes to the way you work to defeat boredom and have more fun.

          Your work can be much more interesting if you learn these little tricks.

          Ready to learn how to stop feeling so bored at work?

          We’ve listed some simple suggestions below – you can start implementing these right now.

          Let’s do this.

          Make routine tasks more interesting by adding something new

          Sometimes one new element is all it takes to turn routine tasks from dull to interesting.

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          Maybe there’s a long drive you have to make every single week. You get so bored, going the same old route to make the same old deliveries.

          Why not make it a routine to create a playlist of new music each Sunday, to listen to on your boring drive during the week?

          Just like that, something you dread can be turned into the highlight of your day.

          For other routine tasks, you could try setting a timer and trying to beat your record, moving to a new location to complete the task, or trying out a new technique for getting the work done – you might even improve your productivity, too.

          Combine repetitive tasks to get them out of the way

          Certain tasks are difficult to make interesting, no matter how hard you try.

          Get these yawn-inducing chores out of the way ASAP by combining them into one quick, focused batch.

          For example, if you hate listening to meeting recordings, and dislike tidying your desk, do them both at the same time. You’ll halve the time you spend bored out of your mind, and can move onto more interesting tasks as soon as you’re done.

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          Break large tasks into small pieces and plan breaks between them

          Feeling overwhelmed can lead you to procrastinate and get bored. Try breaking up large tasks into lots of small pieces to keep things manageable and fun.

          Try breaking up a 10,000 word report into 1000-word sections. Reward yourself at the end of each section, and you’ll get 10 mini mood boosts, instead of just one at the end.

          You can also plan short breaks between each section, which will help to prevent boredom and keep you focused.

          Give yourself regular rewards, it can be anything that makes you feel good

          Make sure you reward yourself for achievements, even if they feel small.

          Rewards could include:

          • Eating your favourite snack.
          • Taking a walk in a natural area.
          • Spending a few minutes on a fun online game.
          • Buying yourself a small treat.
          • Visiting a new place.
          • Spending time on a favourite hobby.

          Your brain will come to associate work with fun rewards, and you’ll soon feel less bored and more motivated.

          Boredom doesn’t have to be a fact of life.

          Make your working life feel a thousand times more fun by following the simple tips above.

          Reference

          [1] Psychology Today: Why People Get Bored

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