Eleven Signs You’re Not As Smart As You Think You Are
Intelligence is not measured by how much you know, but by how much you have the capacity to learn. — Francesca Zappia
What does intelligence mean to you?
Does it mean knowing a lot of things? Being able to figure things out quickly? Being great at math?
Intelligence isn’t really any of those things. It’s not about what you know or how fast you think– it’s about how you think, and how effectively you learn.
Seemingly intelligence people frequently commit basic errors in thinking which, in practice, mean they’re not as smart as they think they are.
To be truly intelligent, you need to avoid these eleven mistakes.
You don’t google things as soon as you hear them
We all carry a device that allows us to quickly access most of the collected knowledge of the human race, but how many of us fully utilize it? If you aren’t in the habit of googling things to see if they’re true, you’ll end up believing a lot of things that are easily disprovable.
For instance, the other day someone I know said that most Disney roller coasters have a weight limit of 175 pounds. I googled this and it isn’t even close to true. In fact, he had first heard a variation on this rumor from a parody news site– think The Onion, if all the articles were about Disney.
Now that claim obviously didn’t pass the sniff test– if it was true, roller coaster accidents would happen all the time. But you should google everything, not just claims that sound “off.”
You’re less skeptical of claims that fit your prior beliefs
Many people do google things that sound untrue, but that’s just the issue– it’s the things that sound believable, but aren’t, that will get you.
For instance, I once heard a claim that the average American gained 29 pounds during the pandemic. This has some surface-level plausibility, if you ignore the fact that it didn’t happen to most people you know. And as a fitness writer, it sounds like the kind of thing I’d be on about.
I googled that and it wasn’t true either. Not even close– the average American gained about one pound during lockdowns.
You need to google things that sound true as well– even if, hell especially if, they fit your priors.
Most of the time you’ll find that the thing you looked up was actually true. That’s to be expected, and you shouldn’t feel like fact-checking was a waste of time if the claim you fact-checked turned out to be true.
On the contrary, if most of the claims you fact-check turn out to be false, you aren’t fact-checking enough. And if it turns out to be true, the process of fact-checking is likely to teach you more interesting details about the matter.
You only read things you expect to agree with
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