Want to be a smart person?

Last week I had some spare time to read “Decision Points” - a book written by George Bush Jr. who was the US President from 2001 to 2009. In his candid account, Bush Jr. describes the critical decisions that shaped his presidency and personal life.

It set me thinking. Was Bush Jr.a stupid or a smart President? It was a question that occupied many minds during his turbulent eight-year presidency. The strict answer is, he was neither smart nor stupid. On the one hand, Bush’s IQ score is estimated to be above 120, which suggests an intelligence in the top 10 per cent of the population. But, on the other hand, even those sympathetic to the former President have acknowledged that as the highest decision-maker of the country, he was dithery.

How can someone with a high IQ have this kind of intellectual deficiency? A research by the University of Toronto, Canada, says, it applies to more people than you might believe, and there is nothing inconsistent about it. IQ tests are very good at measuring certain mental faculties, including logic, abstract reasoning and working-memory capacity. But, the tests fail when it comes to measuring those abilities crucial to making good judgements in real-life situations.

Smart people have come to terms with this fact. They have understood that to succeed in a vocation or in life and apply what has been taught to them in school, they need to experience the reality of the field they are interested in pursuing. This is the key to street smarts.

Smart people are aware that skills such as, effective communication can only be acquired through spending actual time with the outside world. So, if you want to be a smart person, you need to go out into the world, to find out every skill that would be required to reach your target.

Let me give you a few tips.

1. Always question the status quo

Only stupid people just accept whatever is given to them and whatever seems to be “normal” to them. The existing state of affairs can change and there are voids that need to be filled. Smart people understand the scenario and react accordingly.

2. Not smart in just one area

There are people who are very knowledgeable in one topic and can talk about it all day, but that doesn’t necessarily earn them the label of being “smart.” Smart people spend time educating themselves on any subject of interest that is popular to the masses. They can hold a conversation regarding the fiscal cliff, to the unique wine they are drinking. They know that to create a valuable impact, research on current, particular trends, and why people are attracted to them is a necessary procedure.

3. Be observant

Smart people are extraordinarily observant. They do not want to air their views before checking out the mental capacity of the people they are dealing with. They will usually pretend they are just normal people observing, just to see what their audience’s reactions and interpretations would be.

This way, they can come up with the most effective method of sounding like they know what they are talking about, without offering something too unfamiliar or complicated for their peers to comprehend.

4. Understand the concept of time

Smart people never allow distractions or mental unrest to waste their time in trying to figure something out. They are able to recognize what is conducive to their thought process and their journey, to accomplish their goals.

Smart people are aware that the average human being runs into several pointless distractions every day, that only serve a negative purpose in his/her life. They know how to ignore these imposters of “truth” and focus on using the best of their abilities to be productive for their own well-being.

5. Quieten your inner voice

Smart people are at peace with the fact that there will always be a voice at the back of their heads telling them they are wrong, not good enough, etc. They have understood that, as torturous as it may be, that the voice is only there to make them miserable and derail them from the fruitful and valuable intentions of the heart.

Smart people are aware of what has happened to them when they let this voice stop them from going ahead with their gut, leading to disappointment and regret. You will soon discover that the inner voice is creating a twisted reality of what is actually going on at any given moment. A voice that is trying to make the world seem so much scarier than it actually is, simply cannot be trusted.

6. Argue with yourself

Smart people have accepted that their own brains will make careless mistakes all the time, most of which usually go unnoticed until long after the mistake has been made. This is why they understand that every serious action should be double checked before it is committed, even if they don’t feel the need to. They purposely initiate minor arguments with themselves just to be absolutely confident that they have done the right thing.

7. Act like you are curious

Smart people are genuinely interested in the size, colour, shape and meaning of everything around them. If something that catches their attention seems particularly perplexing, they do some research regarding its properties and foundation.

8. Find the kernel of truth

The truth behind any concept is usually not what you would expect. Smart people understand there are plenty of brilliant ideas, creations, and reasons at the bottom of the rules that dictate the way we live our lives, to be uncovered. They want to become acquainted with the building blocks of society, such as, science, the economy, and even politics.

9. Remember the message, not the messenger

Smart people appreciate the value of others’ opinions. They want every interaction to be a learning process. That is why they focus on the topic being discussed and its relationship with the outside world, and not just the person with whom they are discussing it.

Once you master the tricks, you can be a smart person in no time. 

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