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albert einstein, what makes people smart, whos is smart

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”


Reddit user Gisgiii posed a question to the AskReddit subforum “What is a subtle sign that someone is really intelligent?” and the answers painted a clear picture of how smart people behave. They tend to be great communicators who understand their audience and are more concerned with getting things right than being right.

Here are 18 of the best answers.

1. They draw wisdom from multiple sources.

"They draw wisdom from multiple sources. Wait but that might be more wise than intelligent... But I guess those two tend to be seen together a lot," — Puzzlehead-Engineer

2. They know their audience.

"They can switch up the way they talk to match the person they're talking to without sounding condescending. They listen to how others learn and explain it in that person's language of understanding," — Wynonna99

3. They develop a keen sense for their job.

"I used to work with a doctor - Tom Howard - and the day I realized he was a genius was the time he guessed every single condition a patient of mine had based on minute pieces of information about him," — Yodei_Mon

4. Curiosity.

"They are curious about everything. To be intelligent you need to be knowledgeable and you can't be knowledgeable if you are never curious," — soup54461

5. They're great at conveying ideas.

"When they explain something they make you feel intelligent," — gwoshmi

6. Considerate questions.

"They spend time thinking before asking a question," — ParkMan73

7. They make hard ideas simple.

"They effortlessly communicate complex concepts in a simple way," — joculator

8. They know what they don't know.

"They know when their knowledge ends and say something to the extent of 'i don't know and anything else i say on this topic is ignorant speculation,'" — blutoboy

9. They ask great questions.

"They can ask really good questions."

"Edit: to anyone not understanding what mean, I’m talking about people who ask “really good questions”, not just any questions, really good ones. I don’t know how one would achieve this skill(I know I haven’t)," — milkmanbran

10. They don't pretend to know everything.

"They aren’t afraid to say they don’t know the answer to a question," — xchernx

11. They change their minds with new information.

"They admit to changing their mind about something," — FarAwayAdventure

12. They pivot well.

"They apply knowledge from one realm into a new and relevant situation," — soubestitch

13. They are open-minded.

"They can genuinely consider an idea which opposes their worldview without necessarily accepting it," — paidshill29

14. They use analogies.

"People who use analogies to explain concepts to others. It’s a form of code-switching and integrating concepts on the fly and is a clear indicator someone is both socially and conceptually intelligent," — SwimmerAutomatic2488

15. They don't argue.

"I think intelligent people are more willing to calmly debate/discuss, rather than argue. Like, you explain to them why you disagree, and they listen to you and ask further questions about your viewpoint before offering a different perspective; as opposed to an unintelligent person, who would just resort to insults when other people disagree with them," — AngelicCinnamonBun

16. They learn from mistakes.

"Admitting when they're wrong and being willing to learn from mistakes," — siyl1979

17. A sense of humor.

"Humor. I think that truly funny people are often very smart and cognizant of the different ways an idea can be humorous on several levels. They also know their audience. I think the difference between say a Jeff Foxworthy and a Dave Chappelle and a Bo Burnham is their audience and their interests," — biscuitboi967

18. A love of learning.

"They say they love learning and they learn something new every day. Then they listen more than talk," — throwingplaydough

Pop Culture

Guy makes a tweet about what you should have 'by age 30.' People's responses were hilarious.

"By the age of 30 you should have anxiety, and an emotional support pet that also has anxiety."

Photo by NIPYATA! on Unsplash

This is 30.

When Steve Adcock, an entrepreneur and “fitness buff” posted this to his Twitter:

“By age 30, you should have a group of friends that talk business, money, and fitness, not politics and pop culture.”

… people had thoughts.



His post might have been intended as more of an encouragement to surround yourself with people who challenge your current mindset, considering the tweet continued with “one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made was making friends with like-minded folks who talked about the same [stuff] over and over. I agreed with 99% of it. Your comfort zone will kill your progress.”

But still, overall the tweet left an unsavory taste in people’s mouths—primarily because it implied that money was somehow a better conversation topic than what people are usually genuinely passionate about. Why not talk about your favorite television show with friends if it lights you up inside?


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1989 video brings back strong memories for Gen Xers who came of age in the '80s.

It was the year we saw violence in Tiananmen Square and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The year we got Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman." The year "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" debuted on TV, with no clue as to how successful they would become. The year that gave us New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul while Madonna and Janet Jackson were enjoying their heyday.

The jeans were pegged, the shoulders were padded and the hair was feathered and huge. It was 1989—the peak of Gen X youth coming of age.

A viral video of a group of high school students sitting at their desks in 1989—undoubtedly filmed by some geeky kid in the AV club who probably went on to found an internet startup—has gone viral across social media, tapping straight into Gen X's memory banks. For those of us who were in high school at the time, it's like hopping into a time machine.

The show "Stranger Things" has given young folks of today a pretty good glimpse of that era, but if you want to see exactly what the late '80s looked like for real, here it is:

Oh so many mullets. And the Skid Row soundtrack is just the icing on this nostalgia cake. (Hair band power ballads were ubiquitous, kids.)

I swear I went to high school with every person in this video. Like, I couldn't have scripted a more perfect representation of my classmates (which is funny considering that this video came from Paramus High School in New Jersey and I went to high school on the opposite side of the country).

Comments have poured in on Reddit from both Gen Xers who lived through this era and those who have questions.

First, the confirmations:

"Can confirm. I was a freshman that year, and not only did everyone look exactly like this (Metallica shirt included), I also looked like this. 😱😅"

"I graduated in ‘89, and while I didn’t go to this school, I know every person in this room."

"It's like I can virtually smell the AquaNet and WhiteRain hairspray from here...."

"I remember every time you went to the bathroom you were hit with a wall of hairspray and when the wind blew you looked like you had wings."

Then the observations about how differently we responded to cameras back then.

"Also look how uncomfortable our generation was in front of the camera! I mean I still am! To see kids now immediately pose as soon as a phone is pointed at them is insanity to me 🤣"

"Born in 84 and growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s hard to explain to younger people that video cameras weren’t everywhere and you didn’t count on seeing yourself in what was being filmed. You just smiled and went on with your life."

Which, of course, led to some inevitable "ah the good old days" laments:

"Life was better before the Internet. There, I said it."

"Not a single cell phone to be seen. Oh the freedom."

"It's so nice to be reminded what life was like before cell phones absorbed and isolated social gatherings."

But perhaps the most common response was how old those teens looked.

"Why do they all look like they're in their 30's?"

"Everyone in this video is simultaneously 17 and 49 years old."

"Now we know why they always use 30 y/o actors in high school movies."

As some people pointed out, there is an explanation for why they look old to us. It has more to do with how we interpret the fashion than how old they actually look.

Ah, what a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who lived it. (Let's just all agree to never bring back those hairstyles, though, k?)

The way makers use time makes meetings far more disruptive than they are for managers.

Most people don't look at their work calendar on any given day and say, "Yay! I have a meeting!" Most of us just understand and accept that meetings are a part of work life in most industries.

Some people, however, are far more negatively impacted by scheduled meetings than others. For people involved in creating or producing, meetings are actively disruptive to work in a way that isn't often the case for managers.

A viral post with an explanation from Paul Graham breaks down why.

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