If you are reading this, then chances are you are not stupid. You just don’t know how to show off your smarter side. Or you are reading this just because you are curious of what this guide says.
No matter the reason, I am going to tell you my experience and suggest steps for how to make yourself smarter everyday. Things that you can do without having to force yourself
I was considered to be dumb by many until I graduated university. It wasn’t a big issue, because it didn’t negatively impact my life so much. However, sometimes I wish people would pay more attention to me and be more respectful.
I knew that I wasn’t the smartest person, but that doesn’t mean my points were invalid. This all changed with my part time job. Whilst in university, I also had a part time job. That was a disaster.
My manager is the reason why I went on a self-improvement journey to find out how to be smart. I worked at a bakery, helping them set up for the day. I had to wake up pretty early, but I wanted to leave my afternoons and evenings open.
Long story short, my manager thought I was incompetent because I reacted slowly and always seemed out of it. In my defense, it was early in the morning, like 6 am, I was really tired.
But what stuck with me was how he would always make me the example of what not to do. He would sometimes call me dumb and complain to others how dumb I was.
One day in class, it finally hit me. Screw everything because I want more respect from others. But finding out how to be smart wasn’t an easy task. Knowing what was my weakness and areas of improvement was almost impossible.
There’s a reason why achieving self-awareness is considered a tremendous task. Nevertheless, I am able to summarize my experience into 4 stages.
Learning: The first step
First step to how to be smart is knowledge. If you have a lot of knowledge, then normally you would be considered smart. Knowledge is essentially information. If you know more things than others, then you are seen to be smart. But you don’t need to read many academic articles or studies.
News sites, entertainment magazines, forums (For example, Reddit), social media and Youtube videos are all great sources of information. Especially, you need to remember facts, figures, numbers and statistics.
If you quote facts, figures, numbers and statistics, then your point is more trustworthy and shows you know a lot. Info graphs are a great visual presentation of numbers. Even remembering the date could add credibility to what you are saying.
Observation: Being clever isn’t just about knowledge
Knowledge is the basis to how to be smarter. However, sometimes having knowledge is having a great memory. Repeating facts doesn’t make you smart. The second thing you need to do is observe. You need to discover what your weaknesses are before you can improve them.
In a conversation, there’s always one person that is leading it. In most cases, the person naturally becomes the leader of the conversation because of they carry themselves or their smarts. So when you are in a conversation, take notes what they are saying how they react to others.
Especially in a discussion, observe their facial expressions, body language and the way they formulate their response. You need to learn from a natural leader, because often they are considered to be smart. But why? What makes them to be seen as smarter than others?
Then you need to analyse your notes. For example, do they start their response with “I see your point, but have you thought about…..”. Or how are they using their hands when emphasizing a point? You shouldn’t imitate them, but take away how their behavior contributes to them being regarded as smart.
Confidence: Master of none
A lot of my friends are stuck at this stage. They found out their weakness and know what to improve, but couldn’t put it into practice. They are scared of others judging them. If you can’t put what you learned so far into action, then it is pointless.
Most smart people are confident but not overconfident. They know their limit and when to be humble.
My suggestion is to create a persona. Pretend to be your ideal smart self by wearing a (figuratively) mask and detach from the real you. Use your persona with people who don’t know you and try out what you learned so far.
Become a master of none. This may seem like a bad idea, but knowing a wide range of topics enables you be able to talk to anyone about anything. You then gain new knowledge through your conversations and eventually you will know a lot of stuff.
The idea is to know a lot on the surface level and slowly dig deeper with every conversation to become smarter.
Connect the dots: The way you think
A universal quality of a smart person is how they think. They can connect things together others can’t. This is what you need to do. You need to actively search your brain for information you know and connect it with things mentioned in the conversation.
For example, if someone talks about education, then you can connect it with how VR is helping students to study. This is easier said than done. However, the more you do this, the more natural it will become.
A trick is to link things together until you find what you need. For example, most people getting an education are young. Young people are always on their smartphones. Smartphone is a huge ical accomplishment. VR is also a huge technological accomplishment.
Now you remember the article you read about VR technology used in education.technolog
Awareness: Learn from smarter people
Never fully shutdown someone else’s opinion, you can disagree but don’t say they are wrong. Otherwise it will make you seem arrogant and very closed minded. For example, you can use “Yes, but…”If you want to know how to be smart, then you need to be open minded and understanding.
Smart people are aware that they don’t know everything. Therefore, they don’t shutdown anyone’s opinion rather they see it as an opportunity to learn other viewpoints.
Most importantly show that you are willing to admit you are wrong when presented with new evidence. That’s what a smart person would do. Don’t be stubborn, own up to your mistakes and don’t blame others.
You see countless situations, where the problem would be over if they just admit that they are wrong. So don’t let your pride get in the way for you to learn from others.
Rinse and Repeat
Repeat the stages to constantly improve yourself. How to be smart is a never ending lesson. It isn’t just about knowledge, there are other things that makes you smarter. That’s what you call street smart. You can always learn new ways to improve yourself.