Know-It-Alls Reveal When They Realized When They Weren't As Smart As They Thought
We all have stubborn 'know-it-all' moments, but occasionally, it goes too far. We see it in our politics, at work, and at school. Most of us are willing to accept when we are wrong, but it's usually not the greatest feeling.
bakait_bhosdu asked, When did you realise that you are not as smart as you thought you were?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
Getting thrust into competitive academia can be a serious blow to one's ego. But don't feel too bad, everyone feels the same way.
Starting college. Helped me realize that I'm quite average.
Starting graduate school really threw it in my face. Helped me realize that I'm actually below average and didn't belong there.
I thought it was both tbh...
When I realized that The Count on Sesame Street isn't called that just because he's a vampire, but because he's literally counting.
I shouldn't be trusted to vote.
If you want to be the best, learn from the best.
When I first started my job as a software developer. My boss and my pseudo-boss are absolute geniuses. I've never been more in awe of someone's expertise before. It was really humbling. Still is, I suppose.
Kids are very astute. And Adventure Time is amazing.
When you're around children they can point out stuff you don't see real fast. I started watching Adventure Time with my 6-year-old daughter. I have seen a lot of it previously. So to try and interact and discuss it. I said "that silly Ice King is always chasing after the girls and trying to get people to be his friends," She said that's because he can't be a king without people.
It's hard to go from the top to being just one of the masses. Don't be afraid to ask for help, there's a reason college isn't a solo venture.
By failing the first year of uni. Despite getting lukewarm at best results from my final exams at high school, I still carried with me a raging ego and a belief that I was a modern day genius and everyone didn't know it. I walked in there confident that I was going to become a shining beacon of knowledge and wisdom.
Boy did I not
Not only were my study habits completely wack, but I didn't even try to take advantage of the resources and support there because I was foolishly under the delusion that I could easily just work things out by myself and everything would be ok.
Well, it doesn't work like the movies and reality caught up with me. I yanked out that year and really had to have a good hard look at myself and what I was doing. It's really hard to come to grips with the fact you're not as smart or charismatic or competent as you thought you were because admitting that to yourself means admitting that you were fundamentally wrong about who you are as a person. And that's just so painful to have to come to terms with.
But you're better off for it because now you know that there's room for improvement and that what needs improving on. That's why it's so bad to tell people how smart they are: because then they think "pfft I don't need to learn new things because I'm so smart and good". There's ALWAYS room for improvement and there are ALWAYS new things to discover.
One more thing I ought to mention is the importance of having good friends. Not only to support you but to challenge you too. I had the great privilege of making amazing friends at uni who not only were brilliant people for being there for each other but ones who didn't put up with any sh_t. If one of us was getting too cocky or rude, we'd make damn well sure that they knew they were being c_ck gobblers.
Silly habits, no matter how ridiculous, are really hard to break.
I do a lot of painting. Every time I paint, without fail, I will lean on a wall I either have just painted or am in the middle of painting either to rest or to take a call or whatever. Every time.
Traveling the world is a wonderful way to not only learn new things, but to adopt new ways of thinking.
When I traveled outside Canada. I realized that I was book smart but that I didn't have the ingenuity, wisdom, resilience, and fortitude of many people in "third-world" countries. Being smart comes in many forms.
It's important to be open to new ideas and perspectives, and to form opinions based on evidence and data.
When I realized that my views of others were more arrogant (rooted in my own vanity) versus just being different and nuanced.
Sort of the opposite of college - conformity can be as big a challenge as finding your place.
When I joined the military. Turns out I'm not even a person.
We all have our buttons. Recognizing them and being open to others is part of how we grow.
I'm not sure if this is as much smart or a stability thing, but the first time I had an argument with my wife that turned into a full out fight I was really humbled afterward. I really considered myself a calm, collected person but when my buttons were pushed it was like I was a teenager losing my head over some dumb sh_t.
Not being the smartest person in the room is tough, but those smarter than ourselves can be a great influence.
My second job in IT did it for me though the fact that I was an IT grunt should've been a clue. /s
I met a co-worker who truly was intelligent and it was eye-opening, humbling, and depressing.
Getting a "real-world job" is one of the best ways to learn how to think on your feet, so to speak.
Yea, getting a real-world job outside of college will humble most people. I knew I didn't know much when I went in, but then when I really got into the work, I was sh_tting my pants at how much I didn't know. Like, how did they hire me if I don't know what I'm doing??
But you learn quickly if you pay attention. Most knowledge in the workplace comes from experience. I can solve problems much quicker now because I've dealt with a similar issue before.
Be careful telling your kids they are the best - honestly is key, and growth and enrichment should always be encouraged.
I'm gonna go on a bit of a tangent, it wasn't that I realized I wasn't smart, but I wasn't as talented as I thought.
I was very much into reading and writing as a kid and I wrote so many stories. Everyone kept telling me how great my writing was, how I was gonna be a famous author etc. I always asked for constructive criticism but never got anything back; apparently, my writing was perfection. At a certain point, I realized this couldn't be true. So I wrote a short story, put it into an email and told my mom was a chainmail story I found that I thought was really good and asked her what she thought.
She read it and told me it wasn't a good story at all. I was floored. Barely holding back tears I asked her why it wasn't good. She went on to say how the characters were flat, there was no reason behind the plot, and the dialogue was awfully written. It hurt, it hurt a lot. I didn't expect that harsh of a criticism but I couldn't blame her because that's exactly what I wanted. I finally had someone telling me the truth about my writing instead of buttering me up. That day I realized that I was no prodigy writer, I wasn't as talented as everyone kept telling me, and that the world's opinions are harsh when it doesn't care. I realized I would need to work a lot harder than I thought I would to get better.
I don't think my mom ever figured it out and I'm sure she'd deny the story if I ever told her but I'm thankful that I learned the truth.
We can all relate to this. The challenge is, how do we fight back?
I thought I understood how politics and the world worked, then the 2016 election happened. Learned a lot since then. I had no idea how naive I had been.
Take a look around you and appreciate the work and knowledge required to build and construct our world. It's very humbling.
When I stopped to think about how hard sh_t is to make. I know playing with toys and objects at a young age or even as an adolescent I didn't appreciate this.
Like just driving around and watching things be constructed, like an overpass. You have to know where to begin the overpass on one side, then you have to start the overpass on the other side, then you have to build all the pillars, lay down whatever base of rebar or whatever to fill with cement, and then I guess pray to whatever you find holy and hope that it all lines up on the other side when you're done. Then you gotta make sure the thing is strong in case it is loaded with cars or even eighteen wheelers. Of course, I know there are calculations done and redone, and probably triple done, but it is remarkable how much engineering goes into something that might seem so simple.
It was only when I sat back and thought I honestly wouldn't even know where, to begin with building something like that.
"I'll never do that again." Simple and effective.
Two times actually.
When I grabbed an electric fence with two hands because I thought it was off.
When I was staring at the eclipse with glasses then took off the glasses without looking away.
Cramming is a big gamble. It's usually best to sleep before an exam.
Pulling an all-nighter and expecting to still ace the assignment.???????
Life lesson: pay attention to your surroundings.
I put away a tractor implement and stepped on one end while trying to put the locking key away and the bar cam back an hit me in the head like when Sideshow Bob stepped on the rakes.
True wisdom is accepting that you know nothing.
My dad was the smartest person I've ever known. He was a CPA, but could rebuild an engine, install the "internet" at his company in the 90s, and fought the IRS and won.
When I was maybe 10, I saw a piece of paper on the table with a note written on it saying "this piece of paper represents how much knowledge is available to you. How much do you know?" He made a pinpoint on the paper and wrote: "this is me".
I'm 39 now and a Chief in the Air Force. Nothing has made me feel less smart in my entire life. Nothing has made me more humble or contributed to who I am today than seeing that piece of paper.