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
"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
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Paul Graham's explanation is spot on.
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.
Graham is a computer scientist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author. In 2009, he described on his website the differences between the way managers and makers utilize work time and how meetings affect their workflow. It's a brilliant observation that rings true for people in various fields, and understanding this difference can help bridge the gap that often exists between those who work in creation or production and those who manage them.
Graham's explanation was shared by Reese Jones on Facebook with a graphic that shows the difference in how time is seen between managers (people who manage others—the bosses) and makers (writers, artists, programmers—the creators). The manager's time during the day is split into small blocks, whereas the maker's is split into two large chunks.
"One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they're on a different type of schedule from other people," Graham wrote. "Meetings cost them more."
Graham explained that managers and makers work on two different types of schedule. The manager's schedule looks more like an appointment book, with the day broken into one-hour intervals.
"You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default, you change what you're doing every hour," he explained. "When you use time that way, it's merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you're done."
Generally, the folks in power are on this kind of schedule. But those who make things don't think in hours. Writers, artists, programmers and others who create for a living work in half-day units at least.
"You can't write or program well in units of an hour," wrote Graham. "That's barely enough time to get started."
Then he got to the heart of the problem with managers making meetings for makers:
"When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That's no problem for someone on the manager's schedule. There's always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker's schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.
For someone on the maker's schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn't merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work."
Bingo. As a "maker" myself, I can attest to this description being spot on for me personally. If I have to attend a meeting, it's best for it to be right at the beginning or end of those two blocks of time. Tossing one into the middle of the morning or middle of the afternoon is far more disruptive than someone who isn't a maker might understand.
Many people in the comments complained about meetings being a waste of time, but I don't think that's the case all or even most of the time. I see the value in many kinds of meetings and as someone who largely works alone, I actually do sometimes look at the calendar and say "Yay! A meeting!" The issue isn't so much meetings themselves as their timing.
Graham explained that a meeting can sometimes blow half a day for a maker, not that the meeting itself takes half a day but purely due to the interruption of the workflow.
"Each type of schedule works fine by itself," he wrote. "Problems arise when they meet. Since most powerful people operate on the manager's schedule, they're in a position to make everyone resonate at their frequency if they want to. But the smarter ones restrain themselves, if they know that some of the people working for them need long chunks of time to work in."
Graham's post can be read in its entirety here. It's worth perusing whether you're a manager or a maker. The more we understand the different ways different people operate, the more we can learn to respect and honor one another's needs, which ultimately makes us all more successful.
"I don’t think I’ll ever walk out of an appointment with more excitement than nerves but so far, everything is perfect and beautiful and I’m feeling hopeful and amazing."
Losing a baby is a tragedy at any stage of pregnancy, but losing a baby later in pregnancy can feel that much more devastating. Getting pregnant after loss is extremely anxiety-inducing, so when Chrissy Teigan cautiously announced she was pregnant with her fourth child, mothers who have experienced pregnancy loss collectively shared her apprehension.
In 2020, Teigen excitedly announced that she and her husband, singer John Legend, were expecting their third child and people were elated for them. But sadly the pregnancy ended at 20 weeks and the famous couple bravely shared the pictures of their beautiful son Jack with the world. The experience was understandably traumatic for the couple but their bravery in sharing the news allowed for others to open up about their own losses while offering support to the couple.
Now, two years later, the pair are expecting again and Teigen shared her apprehension on telling the world she was pregnant saying in part, "Every appointment I’ve said to myself, 'ok if it’s healthy today I’ll announce' but then I breathe a sigh of relief to hear a heartbeat and decide I’m just too nervous still." The supermodel continued, "I don’t think I’ll ever walk out of an appointment with more excitement than nerves but so far, everything is perfect and beautiful and I’m feeling hopeful and amazing."
Teigen isn't alone in her experience. Danielle Campoamor shared her own story in an essay on Today sharing her own experience with losing a baby at 19 weeks. About 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and 1 in 100 end at or after the 20-week mark. Each year, 24,000 babies are stillborn in America. The number feels staggering and it's a subject that is not talked about enough as it's a club that no one wants to join. Teigen sharing her story and photos of losing her son Jack helped catapult the reality of infant loss into the spotlight.
So when the mom of three shared she was expecting again, the comments on Teigen's Instagram were filled with people wishing her well and sharing their experiences. One commenter, Hilari Seagears, wrote, "Girl! After 4 miscarriages im 7 months pregnant with no medical intervention. Can we say MIRACLE!? 😭 i feel you 100000000000%." While Robyn Oyung said, "CHRISSY MY EYES ARE IMMEDIATELY FULL OF TEARS I AM SO SO SO HAPPY FOR YOU AND THE FAMILY CONGRATULATIONS LOVE YOU 🥰🥰🥰🥰."
The positive enveloping of the expectant mom did not stop there. LiShelle Trembath told the model, "Well done. The struggle to let yourself be happy and confident, is real and valid. You’re doing all the right things to honor Jack. He’d be so proud." While Ruth Kennedy sent her well wishes gently saying, "Gentle congratulations ❤️ I’m also pregnant after loss and can absolutely relate to the nerves and anxiety xx."
Of course there were celebrities in the comments as well, but the amount of mothers that are showering Teigen with love and well wishes were overwhelming. We are wishing Teigen and all the people experiencing pregnancy after loss healthy and smooth pregnancies.