The face of smart people that no one sees

You are smart. Are you behaving smart?

Have you ever heard the expression “smartest guy in the room”?

Good. Keep that handy for a second.

Maybe you have also heard the phrase “if you feel like the dumbest person in the room, then you know you are in the right room”?

Excellent!

Let’s break those two down now…

*fixes imaginary glasses on his face*

A truly smart person has no issue articulating or even showcasing their intellectual (or emotional) capacities. They can be the “smartest guy” in many rooms. They can dominate their opponents and co-discussants like a Jedi does their mind-manipulation tricks.

They might be able name the last 25 presidents of USA. They might be able to perform mathematical operations in their mind. They might also be able to perform quick problem solving in a variety of problems that simple mediocre minds struggle for days.

However, smart people can have a lot more impact by not advertising their intellectual strength and by not bragging for being the greatest and most clever person they know.

A truly smart person in their natural habitat: Confused and hairy. Image Credit pixabay.

It is a bit like poker. You do not want the other players to know your cards. You want them to think that you have a weak hand. You want them to bite more than they can chew and only in the end of the round you show your winning hand to the others — if not at all.

The point is to win, not to gasconade that you have a Royal Flush.

(Bluffs are exempted from this analogy of course. You are a smart person, and not pretending that you are one.)

  • Imagine leaving your less smart manager to continue talking, without them knowing that their employee is not intellectually challenged as they thought.
  • Imagine asking dumb questions in a room full of people of various departments and functions. There is a good chance that they will try to chunk their initial train of thought in digestible bites based on the probing questions.
  • Imagine leaving your friends or significant other to extract their own conclusions or solutions from an exiting problem. You will painstakingly read their deepest motives and thoughts.

Pretending to not be smart will open more doors that you expect it to be.

You will get exposed to undiscovered secrets, you will get clarifications even to easy problems and last but not least, you will be able to steer the discussion and the solutions to a problem.

Goofy and simple-minded fellas usually appear to be more trustworthy and conscientious, so they stay closer to the higher levels of vertical hierarchies than full-on-themselves smartasses.

Imagine how dangerous an “intelligent” pseudo-simple-minded person can be.

A smart person is not afraid to show that they are brilliant.

However, a truly smart person knows better to not do that.

They are in it for the war and not for the battle.


Originally posted at Thanos Antoniou — The voice inside my head

I am maintaining a newsletter with the latest articles that I am posting in my personal blog. I write about productivity, habit building, everyday psychology and every other thing that makes me feel skeptical.

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