Enjoy the Podcast or the Transcription Below:
I wanted to talk to you today about being smart.
I actually had a couple of experiences in the past few days that I realized how easy it is for people to come across looking so stupid because they don’t know this little trick. I’ve been doing this tiny trick since I was a little kid. And I am shocked by how easy it is AND how horrible it is that people don’t know this simple thing.
Let me give you the two examples.
One was in the national media with the republican nominee for President, Ben Carson, who thought it was wise to share his thoughts on what you should do if confronted by a gunman in a classroom. Now I don’t care how you spin this, he’s basically blaming the victim. The fact of the matter is no one knows how they would react, especially as young teenagers or young adults who were mostly in that classroom – not having any idea that someone was about to confront them with gunfire.
So that’s one example.
The second example I wanted to share was a personal one. I have this friend who constantly feels the need to share medical advice even though she has no actual experience or education in the medical field whatsoever. So, if you just say you have a headache, all of a sudden we’re going down this rabbit hole of medical information that she’s clearly gotten from WebMD and whatever crazy show she’s watching on television. She just ends up looking like an idiot. And yesterday I kinda confronted her on it and so it made me think about doing this blog post.
Here’s the trick to appearing smart:
First of all, realizing that there is nobody on the planet – not Einstein when he was alive or even someone like Stephen Hawking – who knows everything about everything. Nobody does. Admitting that you don’t know or have to have an answer to everything is the first step. It’s okay not to know everything. And since I was a little kid, I’ve never spoken about things I know nothing about.
If I don’t know something that someone’s talking about, I will actually say to them; “You know what, I don’t know anything about that subject.” Or I can’t give an opinion because I don’t know enough about it. What this does is allows people to understand that you have some humility and that you’re not trying to be a bragging person, but it also allows you to be an expert in the things you are an expert about (or think you’re an expert about). And it also frees you from always having to have an answer.
Anyways, I just wanted to share that. I’m sure a lot of you know the kind of people I’m talking about who are constantly talking about things they know nothing about. And the irony is, they think they’re being smart, they think they have one up on you, but you know they’re actually very stupid – because even things that they’re saying, make no sense whatsoever. It reminds me of an In Living Color skit that I had to post here. And it just made me laugh so I had to share it.
Anyways, thanks for stopping by again. I hope you’re having a great day, definitely have a sweet day and I hope to be back again real soon.
Music by Chris Zabriskie, Prelude No. 23
4 thoughts on “The Trick to Being Smart”
I watched In Living Color while growing up and, amazingly, the moment I saw the picture of the video, I knew exactly the skit to which you’re referring. That show had so many skits that made such an impression on me.
Anyway, I don’t blame people for always trying to give answers (like I’m demonstrating now; haha). In school, the behavior enforced on us in a classroom environment is that we should have answers, that we should know the subjects being discussed, that it’s bad, embarrassing, and even punishable to say the words, “I don’t know.” And sometimes it’s even considered bad to question the information you’re given. You’re only supposed to memorize, not question. And as I would argue, memorization is not a true form of learning (I like to say that the difference between religion and spirituality is that the former memorizes while the latter questions, but still, some people will inadvertently turn spirituality into a religion).
So I think we have to train ourselves — or someone has to train us — away from this behavior as soon as possible and realize that the learning we do in life starts with the words, “I don’t know,” and that we shouldn’t be ashamed of those words or of asking questions or of questioning things we think we know. But it’s difficult because it’s not wrong for schools to push students to know about the subjects they need to know about in order to obtain the degrees that say they have a good education. That’s my take, anyway.
Also, about a person who attempts to pass along advice they memorized (there’s that word again) from another source such as WebMD, at least the person is trying to help. I mean, that’s not a bad thing, even if they don’t really understand what they’re talking about. Maybe the person sees you with a problem and simply doesn’t want to feel helpless (of course, then you could say the advice is coming from a thoughtless selfish intent).
But overall, I do agree with you. I’ve heard plenty of politicians say stupid things because they thought they had to appear to be an expert on every issue. This is also true for talking heads who go onto political shows and do nothing but repeat the talking points they were given beforehand by their own parties. And, like you said, this is true for people who try to give advice based on something they’ve read but don’t fully understand. After all, everyone is different, so what works with one person may not work with another. It isn’t smart to generalize.
By the way, I hope I don’t come across as overbearing or as if I’m trying to push my opinion onto you. You just got me thinking about stuff and possibilities and I figured I’d share my thoughts with you. That’s all. I love your posts and the points you make. 🙂
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First of all — THANK YOU! You do NOT come across overbearing or anything like that at all. If I didn’t want opinions and ideas I would turn off my comment section so please, always feel free!
I think you’re absolutely right about school and the learning mantra of it all. But, I guess that’s why I feel like it’s so important to tell people that it’s okay if they don’t know something. It seems to be beaten in our heads that we must contribute, must have an answer, must say something. And I’ve just never fallen for that. In truth in started because I had such fear that I’d be “found out” anyways! So I think as a kid, I figured, I’d just let everyone know upfront I hadn’t a clue about what they were talking about — cut off any expectations of my intelligence right off the bat. Kinda sad. It’s the irony that it worked in my favor, but that’s how it started.
And I agree with you wholeheartedly that sometimes people are just trying to help. Trying to not be helpless. You are so right. And I would never dismiss that kind of kindness. But what I’m talking about primarily are those people who are doing it to clearly FEEL important. Or want to SHOW you how smart they are. It’s a real clear line. And I’m telling you..if you heard her at the restaurant, you would swear it was a skit on In Living Color. I mean, I almost started laughing outright — it just came to me like that out of the blue because she sounded just like that. Big words saying absolutely NOTHING at all, but sounding so imporant! Too funny. I will say this, she was tre cool about it when we had a good talk. It was a good thing.
I love that you stopped by and shared — thank you. I know you get this — but sometimes you write something and you post it and the minute you put it up you wonder if any one person will even glance. So, thank you for your kind thoughts and for saying you love my posts. I am so humbled and truly you just made me smile from ear to ear!
Big hug to you!
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I do the same thing still: cut off any expectation of my intelligence right off the bat. In fact, I’m the first person to tell people that I don’t know anything. That way, if I can tie my shoes correctly, they really think I’ve achieved something.
Okay, now I really wish you got a video of your friend talking. I would’ve loved to hear that.
And yeah, I get that same feeling about posting something. I always think that no one’s going to look and no one’s going to care. But in a way, that’s a bit freeing because then I’ll feel like I can say what I want and put more of myself into what I’m writing. If I think all eyes will be on me, I’ll be much more careful about what I say.
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That’s a good way to think of it – -I keep saying I’m just writing for myself, but that doesn’t always work too well, at the end of the day, I’m a performer, so I like the audience, the back and forth interaction. But there is something freeing about just being myself no matter way with not constraits. So thank you!
Trying to tie my shoes as we speak…LOL!
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