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The Dunning-Kruger effect is a well documented phenomenon that shows that people often overestimate how much they know about things. In a quirky way, it is essentially ignorance about ignorance. Many people go online to find out how smart they are, how they are actually very intelligent and they just don’t know it, and how much better they are than the rest. But this is all explained by psychology as self-esteem protecting behavior in Motivational Bias Theories. We tend to do things that make our self-esteem develop, and we tend to avoid things that damages our self-esteem. Therefore, we hunt for things that make us seem better than we really are. Intelligence is a valued trait, and IQ tests are expensive and a daunting process, so we end up approximating our smartness. These approximations are usually far from the truth. Here are ten reasons why you are not as smart as you think.
10. You Speak Often, Listen Less
When you speak more than you listen, you presume that you have more knowledge than others and that you ought to educate them. This is what positive psychologists call a fixed mindset: you do not think that other people also have something of equal importance to say and you barge ahead with speaking. You often speak more than you listen and if you do listen, you listen with the intent to counter what the other person is saying. Listening means more than developing a counter argument, it means that you must be willing to look at things from their perspective and try and understand where they are coming from. When you speak more than you listen, you do not give others a chance to speak their thoughts fully. Listening carefully without arguing is the first step to resolving this issue.
Those who know little are always showing off their knowledge. There is a vast amount of information out there, and it is unlikely that you know everything about a certain topic. While you may be very knowledgeable, it does not mean you know everything. Someone else, who is less qualified, may know something you do not. For example, you may know facts numbered from 1-10 about some subject matter, but some you meet knows only one fact, but it’s number 11, which you, despite your larger bank of facts, still do not know. Bragging presumes that there is something to brag about, but knowledge is always changing and developing.
8. False Persona, Masks, and Presentation
Faking is a key component: do you pretend to be more component than you really are? Do you intend to make other people think you are smart? Are you consciously trying to get others to believe you are intelligent? Are you constantly trying to get yourself to think you are smart? These are signs that you are not confident in your intelligence and that you believe you need to “seem” smart. This a sign that you are somewhere not sure that your true self is really smart.
7. Drama-Prone Disaster
If you are often embroiled in drama, it indicates that you are not carefully considering and curating your life. This occupation with external drama means that you are not focused on higher order practices. A sign of smartness is the openness and creativity meta-traits given in the Big Five Personality Inventory, which is only scientifically valid personality test, the MMPI, the 16 factor test, and Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Tests are pseudo-scientific. Developing these two meta-traits means directing cognitive pursuits in the right direction, away from trivialities of everyday messes.
6. Envy and Take-Downs
You often get jealous of those who do well and wish that they didn’t get that success and recognition. Instead of thinking about how you can work towards such success yourself, you tend to discourage others and view the successes and accomplishments of others as based on luck, privilege, and chance instead of their hard work. This shows an inability to critically view yourself. This lack of self-knowledge is crucial in those think themselves to be quite smart but really aren’t. There is also a sense of injustice when you consider that people are better off than you are.
5. Hedonistic and Gratification Based Lifestyle
Hedonism is doing things solely for pleasure and instant gratification is focusing on the momentary pleasures. Individuals who are rooted solely in the here and now and who do not considerate long term basis for life are less critical of life, aside from ideological differences. You are probably not considering how things you do today have an impact on your life in the future. Pleasures of the here and now may be gratifying, but they are not conducive towards growth in the long term.
4. Aimless, Wandering, Purposeless
A sign that you are not as smart as you think is that you are aimless in life: you do not know where you are going and you have made no effort to determine where and why. This indicates that you are unsure of meaning and purpose in life. A sense of coherence is lacking. Cognitive abilities are strong indicators of abstract thinking and you are not utilizing them fully.
3. Busybody, Busybody but Nothing Done
You are always involved in something or the other: but there is usually no purpose to these things. You waste your time doing things and often feel guilty afterward. Somewhere you are aware that you have the ability to engage in work that is productive and conducive. Excessive procrastination and loafing on tasks indicates that you are unable to put pen to paper and produce the creative output: one of the crucial components of intelligence.
2. Lack of Applicability Despite Preaching
Preaching is a common trait among people who think they are smart but often aren’t. If you find yourself often telling people what to think and what to do, but actually do not do these things yourself and make excuses, then you are simply a preacher, not an intellectual. Those who preach must practice, for only through implementation can you find flaws in the model. You might be wholly unaware of where you are going wrong.
1. Devoid of Critical Thinking
When you are not as smart as you think you are, you are often overconfident in your ability and fail to check it to see where you are wrong. You prefer not to check yourself and consider that everything is right and infallible. This ability to be critical about the self and brutally fact-check yourself is missing in most people, as they engage in Motivational Bias in terms of themselves to protect their self-esteem.
These are just some ways in which to determine if you are not as smart as you think you are. However, this does not mean that you do not have room to grow. Developing critical thinking skills arises when you stop using logical fallacies – which are essentially mistaken ways of thinking that lead to false conclusions. This is one of the most important manners in which to improve in terms of intelligence.
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