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7 Signs You’re Not As Smart As You Think You Are

7 Signs You’re Not As Smart As You Think You Are

Stop for a moment and ask yourself if there was ever a time (or times) you’ve arrogantly said or thought: “I’m too smart for this.” If you’re someone who always believed that you’re Mr. Smarty Pants, you may want to take a step back and contemplate. That kind of thinking can work against you in life and in work.

So while it’s difficult to face the truth, let’s entertain the possibility that you may not be as smart as you think you are.

Read on and check if you have the following signs:

1. You’re more of a talker than a listener.

And that’s putting it nicely.

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You like the sound of your own voice, with or without you knowing it. People don’t come to you to talk about their problems or even celebrate their successes because you always end up talking about your own problems and successes.

If this sounds like you, consciously decide to listen and focus on the what the person is saying the next time you’re in a conversation with someone.  Don’t try to upstage them, just listen.

2. You show off only the good stuff and make some up.

You hide your true personality. You fake it. Big time. While it’s good to always be at your best when meeting important people, you take it to a whole other level: You lie so that people have a better impression of you.

Smart people value truth and know better than to hide for the sake of looking good. Showing only your good side and adding some special effects will tire you in the long run.

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3. You’re always in the middle of a storm.

You always find yourself in the middle of conflict. And when you think back on it, you either caused that conflict or you added fuel to the flames.

Smart people, on the other hand, either don’t get involved when there’s nothing they can do or do their best to help end the conflict. Try to do the same.

4. You discourage people instead of lifting them up.

You discourage people, not just by saying so outright but also by not giving them the time of day. In a way, you’re telling them that their ideas or their problems are not worth your time or your (perceived) intelligence.

Smart people help encourage others by actually paying attention. They listen (note the first sign) and share what they know. If big shots like Richard Branson and Adm. William McRaven, commander in the U.S. special forces, can take the time to answer letters from kids, you can spend a few minutes encouraging people.

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5. You prefer lowbrow entertainment.

You don’t challenge yourself with difficult subjects and are content to stick to entertaining yet hardly thought-provoking reading material. You also spend hours watching bad reality TV.

Real smart people thrive on reading books and watching films that spark their creativity and make them think and question. A few hours of intellectual reading could open up your horizons so give it a shot. You can start by listening to audiobooks if the thought of reading thick books is daunting to you.

6. You’re always so busy.

Your work life consists of you running around like a headless chicken. There always seems to be a problem that takes up most of your work day. You also find yourself doing all the work, all the time.

Learn how to delegate and ask for help. It’s a little arrogant of you to think that you can do everything for everyone. Make it a point to rest and spend time on things that matter in life, not just work.

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7. You’re a guy who sleeps around.

Let’s be honest, cheating on your partner isn’t exactly a smart thing to do. And science backs that up!

A study suggests that male sexual exclusivity is a sign of higher intelligence. Yep. Fighting your biological urge to “spread your oats” shows that you’re not just smart, but smarter than most because you don’t let your primal instincts get the best of you.

You may have been praised a lot when you were a child, a teen, or a college student because of your high grades and other academic achievements. That’s great. Ego boosts now and then are healthy and needed. But strive for more than just accolades.

If you truly want to be smart but find yourself guilty of the signs above, now’s the chance to make a change. Be a smarter, better version of you. Listen, be honest, prevent conflict, encourage, read, delegate, and keep it in your pants.

More by this author

7 Positives Only Introverts Would Understand signs of a doer 10 Signs of a Doer (and How to be a Good One) 7 Signs You’re Not As Smart As You Think You Are

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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