From the time you were little, your parents told you to be smart. Most people want to consider themselves smart; certainly no one likes to feel stupid. But sadly, it's difficult to determine if you were acting smart in a given situation until the time has passed, and of course, then it's too late. This delayed realization is where the physical act of slapping oneself in the forehead originally developed.
Being smart is not just about being intelligent. Lord knows the world has witnessed plenty of intelligent people do really stupid things. Incredibly smart people are also prone to moments of idiocy, but they do tend to act smarter most of the time. Here is how they do it and you can as well.
1. Focus less on yourself and more on the people around you.
Many people go through life thinking mostly about themselves. Sure, there are truly altruistic people, but most are relatively self-centered. Incredibly smart people understand that it's the people around you that generate support and opportunities, provided you show them your capacity to make it about them. In any given situation, listen first and consider how you can improve the lives of those in your purview. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the positive force you create for your own objectives.
2. Consider yourself the least informed in the room.
When you walk into the room thinking you are the smartest, your mind is closed to infinite possibilities. Incredibly smart people love to position themselves as ignorant. That way they are open to the learning adventure ahead. If you start by thinking that you don't have the right answers, in the best case you'll gain the truth and in the worst case you'll verify your accuracy.
3. Always be questioning.
Many people think they can show their smartness by providing answers all the time. Incredibly smart people know that people can truly assess your intelligence by the questions you ask. The trick is to make sure the questions you ask are truly inquisitive, looking for new answers--not just a ploy to make a statement or get your point across.
4. Look for something new every day.
It's easy to stagnate and get into a rut thinking you have seen it all before. Incredibly smart people know that the world is way too large and too complex to master in a single lifetime. Just the act of looking for one new thing to learn each day will increase your sensitivity to all that you never before considered.
5. Concentrate on the knowledge you lack instead of the knowledge you have.
It's fascinating how seemingly learned people can appear so dense at times. They like to make people think they are smart by readily quoting facts and figures or pontificating over a given subject. But often they lack the nuance that means the difference between competence and brilliance. Incredibly smart people see any obtained knowledge merely as a bridge to learning even more. They know the learning process is a never-ending journey to be enjoyed over a lifetime. Congratulate yourself briefly on each step in the journey, then bear down and learn more.
6. Explore the origin of everything.
Everything, no matter how simple, has a most wondrous story. Incredibly smart people find fascination in the most mundane of items and industries. Explore the world with open eyes and you'll gain incredibly useful knowledge from the most surprising places.
7. Hang out with the smartest people you can comprehend.
For many, it's wonderfully ego-satisfying to be the smartest person in the room. Incredibly smart people prefer to be in the company of those who can share powerful insights. Find people who challenge you and stretch your thinking. The joy of learning far outweighs the praise of being right.