How to be the Smartest Person in the Room

To start this off, don’t get it twisted – I am often the most and least intelligent person in the room. I wanted to write this to pass on to you the wisdom I have gained as a nearly 30 year old grown ass woman.  To preface this, I’m not talking about getting a higher IQ or going back to school – I’m talking about the beans and potatoes of emotional intelligence. Los frijoles y papas igual.

In my experience, if you follow the below roles, you will have the perception of intelligence. If not, at the very least, you will have the ability to deny your stupidity. Also, please learn from my mistakes. Obviously, I find myself often amongst folks who do not speak English as their first language. This has caused me some distress. How do you get to find out how hilarious I am without having a fluid and organic conversation with me, without my husband chiming in with words I have misspoken or helpful translations? I am sad to say, I don’t have that answer and I’m sure the people on the other end of my conversations leave me with the feeling of prophecies unfulfilled or with the belief that I am crazy, stupid, or hot tempered. I am not use to receiving much attention during these conversations, so when focus comes to me I panic. Often resulting in ALV moments (my latinx friends will get that one) or for my English speaking crowd we call it “fuck me” moments. We are a very poetic type.

  1. Listen – Actually listen. Try to understand whoever is speaking to you. Pay attention – you may learn something.
  2. Ask Questions – This will help you to understand. Realize that everyone has stories and a life that has been worth living and therefore, worth hearing.
  3. Get your head out of your own ass. Says the girl with the blog. Do as I say not as I do. Again points to the listening trait mentioned above. I just really gotta hammer this one home or it will truly be a disservice.
  4. For all my introverted friends, prepare a little story about yourself that will open up to questions. This is a good way to get people to ask you questions and gently push you out of your comfort bubble.
  5. Read some books once in a while. Have some interests. Listen to music, eat good food, live. The more you live the more you understand. The more you understand, the smaller and less intimidating change and differences seem to you. This is what makes the world go round. Mutual love of differences and recognition that if everything were the same, life would be a bore.
  6. Don’t be an asshole, learn another language (this is a two-fer and also do as I say not as I do).
  7. My worst enemy is feeling like I know everything. Again, just recognize you do not know everything. Be open to learning about topics and people.

At the end of the day, no one is going to remember that one story you told about how you fake once set a bed on fire and your mom yelled at you. What they will remember and may interpret as intelligence is how you made them feel empowered and listened to and thoughtful. Let people tell their story and give their story the respect it deserves – all your attention. Their words are a reflection of their lives, show them their lives are worth listening to.


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