9 things in life genuinely smart people keep to themselves

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There’s a stark difference between being smart and being a know-it-all.

Being smart is not about laying out all your intelligence for the world to see. Rather, it’s about picking your moments, knowing when to share and when to keep quiet.

Genuinely smart people understand this, and there are certain things they choose to keep to themselves.

In life, it’s not always about what you reveal but what you don’t. And the truly wise have mastered this art.

In this article, I’ll share nine things that genuinely smart people often keep under wraps. 

Let’s get started. 

1) Personal achievements

There’s a common misconception that smart people love to flaunt their achievements. But that’s far from the truth.

True intellect tends to come with humility. Genuine smart people don’t feel the need to constantly showcase their accomplishments. They don’t rely on external validation to feel good about themselves.

They understand that their knowledge and success speak for themselves, without the need for constant self-promotion.

This doesn’t mean they shy away from sharing their achievements when it’s relevant or necessary. But they do so in a way that is modest, not boastful.

When you’re in a conversation, consider what you’re choosing to share. Are you using your achievements as a platform for discussion, or as a way to prove yourself? Remember, genuine intelligence doesn’t need to be announced.

2) Failures and setbacks

Life is a roller coaster of ups and downs, isn’t it? I’ve had my fair share of both.

I remember a time when I faced a significant setback in my career. It was a project I had invested a lot of time and energy into, but it didn’t pan out the way I expected. It was a hard pill to swallow.

But here’s the thing – I didn’t broadcast my failure. Instead, I chose to keep it to myself while I worked on my recovery plan.

I believe that smart people understand the power of processing their failures privately. They don’t use their setbacks as a means to seek sympathy or attention. Instead, they use them as stepping stones to bounce back stronger.

Don’t get me wrong, sharing our difficulties can be cathartic and can help us find support. But smart people know when to share and with whom.

Your failures are your personal learning experiences. How you handle them defines your character and resilience, not the failure itself.

3) Future plans

Ever heard of the phenomenon called ‘The Zeigarnik Effect’? It’s named after a Russian psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik, who discovered something fascinating about our brains. We’re better at remembering incomplete or interrupted tasks than those we’ve completed.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting for smart people. When they share their future plans, it creates a sense of completion in their minds. In essence, it tricks the brain into thinking that the task has been accomplished, reducing the motivation to actually do it.

Smart individuals understand this psychology. They prefer to keep their future plans to themselves until they’ve made significant progress or even better, until they’ve accomplished them.

Consider keeping your cards close to your chest when it comes to your future ambitions. It might just give you the psychological edge you need to see them through.

4) Personal beliefs

Smart people know that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. They understand that personal beliefs, especially those related to politics, religion, or controversial topics, can be highly sensitive.

Sharing such beliefs can lead to unnecessary debates and conflicts. While it’s important to have open discussions and respect diverse viewpoints, it’s equally vital to know when to hold back.

That’s not to say they suppress their opinions. Instead, they choose the right time, place, and audience if they decide to share. They are mindful of the impact their words can have and strive to promote harmony rather than discord.

Whether you have strong views on a heated topic or a unique perspective on life, remember to share responsibly. After all, wisdom lies in knowing what to overlook.

5) Source of their knowledge

Ever wondered how truly smart people seem to know so much about so many things? It’s because they are constant learners. But here’s the catch – they often keep their sources of knowledge to themselves.

This is not because they want to hoard the information. Instead, it’s because they understand the value of discovering and learning things firsthand.

Sharing the source might provide others with information, but it removes the journey of discovery, which is often where the real learning happens.

When you come across a wealth of knowledge, consider whether to share the end result or to encourage a journey of discovery. Remember, smart people aren’t just knowledgeable, they’re catalysts for learning too.

6) Acts of kindness

There’s something truly gratifying about doing a good deed, isn’t there? The sheer joy of making someone’s day a little better can be heartwarming.

Genuinely smart people often find themselves doing acts of kindness, big or small. But they don’t broadcast these deeds. They understand that the act itself is the reward, not the recognition they might receive.

Doing good without expecting anything in return is a sign of emotional intelligence and genuine kindness. It’s not about ticking off a ‘good deed for the day’ but about making a positive difference in someone’s life.

When you do something kind for someone else, consider keeping it to yourself. The happiness you’ll feel in your heart will be reward enough.

7) Fears and insecurities

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have a fear of heights. Yes, even the thought of standing on a high balcony can make my palms sweat.

But here’s the thing – we all have fears and insecurities. However, genuinely smart people usually keep them close to their chest. They don’t use them as a means to seek attention.

They understand that vulnerabilities are personal and revealing them to everyone may not always result in empathy or understanding. They choose to share their fears and insecurities with those they trust deeply.

8) Their quiet time

Smart people value their solitude. They understand the power of quiet time for reflection, rejuvenation, and self-improvement.

Whether it’s a morning run, meditation, reading a book, or simply sitting quietly with their thoughts, they cherish these moments of solitude.

They don’t feel the need to broadcast these personal rituals. Rather, they see them as sacred moments for introspection and growth.

If you’ve got a special routine or ritual that helps you recharge or stay focused, consider keeping it just for yourself. After all, the best moments often happen in solitude.

9) Their ultimate life purpose

Smart people might share their goals, dreams, even their plans. But their ultimate life purpose? That’s something they often keep to themselves.

This isn’t because they’re secretive, but because they understand that their ultimate purpose is deeply personal and ever-evolving.

It’s a guiding light that directs their actions, decisions, and choices. And while they may choose to share aspects of it, the depth and entirety of it remain known only to them.

Your ultimate life purpose is yours to discover, understand, and cherish. It’s a compass only you need to read.

Embracing the quiet intelligence

The art of keeping things to oneself is far from being secretive or closed off. It’s about understanding the value of introspection, personal growth, and the power of quiet intelligence.

In the words of Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” It’s about cultivating an inner world rich with personal experiences, beliefs, aspirations, and lessons.

Genuinely smart people understand this. They know that not everything needs to be laid bare for the world to see. Some things are better kept within, serving as a silent compass guiding their journey through life.

So as we navigate our paths, let’s remember – it’s not just about what we reveal to the world, but also what we choose to keep to ourselves that defines our intelligence.

Perhaps it’s time to embrace the power of quiet intelligence. After all, the loudest mind is often the most silent.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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