3 Signs You’re Educated But Not Very Smart

“Stupid is as stupid does.” This line appears in Forest Gump, and is a variant of “Handsome is as handsome does” in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The proverbial saying can be traced as far back as the 14th Century. This tautological assertion means that a person’s intelligence is evidenced by the person’s actions, and not by the person’s looks. In other words, it doesn’t matter if you have a degree from Harvard Law School, if you consistently do dumb things, you’re still dumb. The problem is, sometimes, smart people can earn label-driven education, but their only skill is the capacity to pass examination written by people like them. In other words, they’re educated but not intelligent enough to find sand on a sandy beach.

In this post, we’ve listed three signs that show that you’re educated but not very smart.

You are self-conscious about appearing stupid

If you’re having a discussion and a smart person doesn’t know an acronym, they won’t hesitate to ask for clarification. On the other hand, a stupid person is more likely to feign understanding.

Intelligent people have an innate passion for learning. They’re less self-conscious and don’t feel ashamed and embarrassed when they see an opportunity to learn something new. As Jim Winer writes, intelligent people “are not afraid to say: ‘I don’t know.’ If they don’t know it, they can learn it.” This observation is backup up in a classic paper Unskilled and unaware of it by Justin Kruger and David Dunning. According to the Dunning-Kruger effect, smart people realize they’re not very good and try to do better. On the other hand, stupid people think they’re good at whatever it is, and don’t try to get better and they don’t get any better either.

You are unable to follow basic logic

In a lake, there is a patch of lily pads. Every day, the patch doubles in size. If it takes 48 days for the patch to cover the entire lake, how long would it take for the patch to cover half the lake?

Your first response is probably to take a shortcut and divide the final answer by half. That’s wrong! The correct answer is 47 days.

When stupid people face an uncertain situation, they don’t carefully access the information. Instead, they make a decision based on a list of mental shortcuts, which often leads them to make foolish decisions. Often, we expose intuitive thinking to confidence and extreme predictions.

You doubt your ability to learn unconventional methods

Age-old bureaucracy rests on people who benefit from rejecting innovation. When someone insists there is a better way to do something, stupid people won’t entertain any new, unconventional methods. They only want to do things the way they were taught and have spent years mastering. When you introduce a new and a better way to do something, they get intimidated because they doubt their own ability to learn it.

Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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