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How to Detect a Dumb Who Is Faking Smart

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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 February 11, 2021

          20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

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          20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

          Dreams — Mysterious, bewildering, eye-opening and sometimes a nightmarish living hell. Dreams are all that and much more.

          Here are 20 amazing facts about dreams that you might have never heard about:

          Fact #1: You can’t read while dreaming, or tell the time

            If you are unsure whether you are dreaming or not, try reading something. The vast majority of people are incapable of reading in their dreams.

            The same goes for clocks: each time you look at a clock it will tell a different time and the hands on the clock won’t appear to be moving as reported by lucid dreamers.

            Fact #2: Lucid dreaming

            There is a whole subculture of people practicing what is called lucid or conscious dreaming. Using various techniques, these people have supposedly learned to assume control of their dreams and do amazing things like flying, passing through walls, and traveling to different dimensions or even back in time.

            Want to learn how to control your dreams? You can try these tips:

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            Lucid Dreaming: This Is How You Can Control Your Dreams

            Fact #3: Inventions inspired by dreams

            Dreams are responsible for many of the greatest inventions of mankind. A few examples include:

            • The idea for Google -Larry Page
            • Alternating current generator -Tesla
            • DNA’s double helix spiral form -James Watson
            • The sewing machine -Elias Howe
            • Periodic table -Dimitri Mendeleyev

            …and many, many more.

            Fact #4: Premonition dreams

            There are some astounding cases where people actually dreamt about things which happened to them later, in the exact same ways they dreamed about.

            You could say they got a glimpse of the future, or it might have just been coincidence. The fact remains that this is some seriously interesting and bizarre phenomena. Some of the most famous premonition dreams include:

            • Abraham Lincoln dreamt of His Assassination
            • Many of the victims of 9/11 had dreams warning them about the catastrophe
            • Mark Twain’s dream of his brother’s demise
            • 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic catastrophe

            Fact #5: Sleep paralysis

            Hell is real and it is called sleep paralysis. It’s the stuff of true nightmares. I’ve been a sleep paralysis sufferer as a kid and I can attest to how truly horrible it is.

            Two characteristics of sleep paralysis are the inability to move (hence paralysis) and a sense of an extremely evil presence in the room with you. It doesn’t feel like a dream, but 100% real. Studies show that during an attack, sleep paralysis sufferers show an overwhelming amygdala activity. The amygdala is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct and the emotions of fear, terror and anxiety. Enough said!

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            Fact #6: REM sleep disorder

            In the state of REM (rapid-eye-movement) stage of your sleep your body is normally paralyzed. In rare cases, however, people act out their dreams. These have resulted in broken arms, legs, broken furniture, and in at least one reported case, a house burnt down.

            Fact #7: Sexual dreams

            The very scientifically-named “nocturnal penile tumescence” is a very well documented phenomena. In laymen’s term, it simply means that you get a stiffy while you sleep. Actually, studies indicate that men get up to 20 erections per dream.

            Fact #8: Unbelievable sleepwalkers

              Sleepwalking is a very rare and potentially dangerous sleep disorder. It is an extreme form of REM sleep disorder, and these people don’t just act out their dreams, but go on real adventures at night.

              Lee Hadwin is a nurse by profession, but in his dreams he is an artist. Literally. He “sleepdraws” gorgeous portraits, of which he has no recollection afterwards. Strange sleepwalking “adventures” include:

              • A woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking
              • A man who drove 22 miles and killed his cousin while sleepwalking
              • A sleepwalker who walked out of the window from the third floor, and barely survived

              Fact #9: Dream drug

              There are actually people who like dreaming and dreams so much that they never want to wake up. They want to continue on dreaming even during the day, so they take an illegal and extremely potent hallucinogenic drug called Dimethyltryptamine. It is actually only an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.

              Fact #10 Dream-catcher

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                The dream-catcher is one of the most well-known Native American symbols. It is a loose web or webs woven around a hoop and decorated with sacred objects meant to protect against nightmares.

                Fact #11: Increased brain activity

                You would associate sleeping with peace and quiet, but actually our brains are more active during sleep than during the day.

                Fact #12: Creativity and dreams

                As we mentioned before, dreams are responsible for inventions, great artworks and are generally just incredibly interesting. They are also “recharging” our creativity.

                Scientists also say that keeping a dream diary helps with creativity.

                In rare cases of REM disorder, people actually don’t dream at all. These people suffer from significantly decreased creativity and perform badly at tasks requiring creative problem solving.

                Fact #13: Pets dream too

                  Our animal companions dream as well. Watch a dog or a cat sleep and you can see that they are moving their paws and making noises like they were chasing something. Go get ’em buddy!

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                  Fact #14: You always dream—you just don’t remember it

                  Many people claim that they don’t dream at all, but that’s not true: we all dream, but up to 60% of people don’t remember their dreams at all.

                  Fact #15: Blind people dream too

                  Blind people who were not born blind see images in their dreams but people who were born blind don’t see anything at all. They still dream, and their dreams are just as intense and interesting, but they involve the other senses beside sight.

                  Fact #16: In your dreams, you only see faces that you already know

                    It is proven that in dreams, we can only see faces that we have seen in real life before. So beware: that scary-looking old lady next to you on the bus might as well be in your next nightmare.

                    Fact #17: Dreams tend to be negative

                    Surprisingly, dreams are more often negative than positive. The three most widely reported emotions felt during dreaming are anger, sadness and fear.

                    Fact #18: Multiple dreams per night

                    You can have up to seven different dreams per night depending on how many REM cycles you have. We only dream during the REM period of sleep, and the average person dreams one to two hours every night.

                    Fact #19: Gender differences

                    Interestingly, 70% of all the characters in a man’s dream are other men, but women’s dream contain an equal amount of women and men. Also men’s dreams contain a lot more aggression. Both women and men dream about sexual themes equally often.

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                    Fact #20: Not everyone dreams in color

                    As much as 12% of people only dream in black and white.

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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