Friday, June 6, 2014

Look sharp!

So I was mining the tailings of my electronic inbox the other day, sifting through subject lines – “Battling Saggy Skin;” “Cultivating the Art of Spontaneity.”  (Really?  How can one cultivate the extemporaneous?)  – When I came across a gem:

No, not “6 Things the Most Productive People Do Daily;” though I did save that one to read another day.

Nor did I dwell on a TED Talk entitled “Why People Need Poetry.”  (Spoiler alert:  We need it, according to poetry critic Stephen Burt, because "we're all going to die -- and poems can help us live with that."  Thank you so much.)

No, Dear Reader, I wouldn’t trouble you with such esoteric diversions.  On your behalf I am ever watchful for the pragmatic, life-changing pearls that you and I can apply post haste.  And so, for our edification: 

“10 Lazy Ways to Appear Smarter.” 

See?!!  Who loves ya?

This article has potential right away because age-old wisdom tells us that laziness paves a sure-fire path to knowledge, success, and, and…well, I don’t know.  Let’s skim the article and see what we can see!

That’s right.  I said ‘skim’ the article.  What else would a truly gifted, yet slothful person do?  You wouldn’t expect me to read the whole thing, would you?  Word for word?  You so crazy!

Here we go.  The gist.  For your indolent self.  According to Psychologist Dr. Jeremy Dean, the founder and author of the website ‘PsyBlog,’ appearing smarter is much easier than actually being smarter.  All you have to do is:

1.      Speak with expression.  Try to EMPHASIZE important WORDS.

OK, that’s stupid.  We’re not deaf.  We’re dumb and lazy, remember?

Let’s jump right past that one on to something more useful.  Here we go:

2.      Cover up.  Smart people don’t show a lot of skin. 

I tried telling this to the misguided cleavage-heavy young women at the school where I was principal.  Turns out they weren’t interested in looking smart.  Sigh.

Dr. Dean cites a study showing that when people see exposed flesh, it makes them think about your body, rather than your mind.  Ipso facto, you come across like a booby.

Bonus!  There’s a lazy means to accomplish this effect – wear the blanket off your bed!  Easy peasy!  I’m feeling smarter already.  And it leads us directly to –    

3. Sleep later! 


One study cited in the article found that those who are more intelligent go to bed later and get up later.  The ‘very dull’ went to bed at an average of 11:41PM and woke up at 7:20AM.  In contrast, the ‘very bright’ went to bed at 12:29AM and got up at 7:52AM.

Throw in Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and it all makes perfect sense.

4. Make more eye contact

Apparently, if you train yourself not to blink, you win the fake intelligence test, since Westerners see those who make more eye contact as confident, strong leaders, who are more intellectual.  There you go!

5. Worry, a lot.

The key here is that you don’t really have to worry.  Thank God.  That just wears me out. 

We just want to look more intelligent, right?  And, people of high intelligence are more prone to anxiety than those of moderate intelligence, according to this clever-looking blog author, who wears glasses and everything. 

Therefore, the appearance of worry is sufficient to add the perception of brain power.  


6. Smile.

When you’re not looking worried that is.

7. Power pose.

Your mother was right:  Stand up straight.  Upright posture has been shown to increase how powerful, confident and brainy you appear.   

8. Change your name.  Especially if it’s Ima Doof.

9. Use a middle initial.

Or simply emphasize your middle initial.  Scientific studies confirm the use of initials conveys greater status and intellectual might.  Which scientists?  Why, W. A. P. van Tilburg & E. R. Igou, who else?

And finally –

10. Just believe it.

Yes, studies show that believing you can get smarter is enough to make you smarter.  The good Doctor cajoles us not to be held back by stereotypes, limiting beliefs or other mental obstacles.

Don’t be stupid, in other words.  At least try to look smart.