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.
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.
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.
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.
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.