A common belief is that being smart means having a high IQ, unmatched intellectuality, and expertise in specific subjects. However, true intelligence is more about navigating life and relationships with ease.
Genuinely intelligent individuals typically don’t boast about their intellect; instead, they tend to approach situations with humility.
So, if you use the 10 phrases below, you might be more intelligent than you give credit to yourself.
1) “Tell me more”
One thing you notice about smart folks is they can’t get enough of learning and experiencing new things. They’re always curious, ready to soak up whatever knowledge comes their way.
You can tell they’re intrigued when the conversation veers into unfamiliar territory. Intelligent people get that nobody’s perfect and that everyone has something valuable to share.
So, if you’re always itching to engage in discussions, whether it’s with your pals, coworkers, or even strangers you meet on your daily grind, asking them to share their insights on something new, well, that’s a pretty good sign you’re smarter than you might think.
2) “I see where you’re coming from”
Yes, smart people make good listeners because of their empathetic nature, but did you know they can also easily understand your point of view?
They don’t lend an ear to judge or give unwarranted advice; they actually listen to understand your story. They know where you’re coming from.
It’s pretty easy for intelligent folks to put themselves in other’s shoes and live their experiences first-hand through their ability to empathize.
If you’re a person who can fully grasp the dilemmas people go through or just be ecstatic when you hear about your friends’ latest victories; you might be more intelligent than you think.
3) “Let’s break this down”
Smart people have a knack for dealing with life’s stresses and challenges by dissecting their problems.
They understand how easy it is to feel overwhelmed when facing challenging situations, especially if we lose sight of the bigger picture.
So, they often break down the problems they face into smaller, manageable parts. This helps them understand the underlying causes and potential solutions.
I often think back to my best friend and how she supported me when during one of the worst periods of my life.
I used to panic easily.
So, when I lost my job, burned up my savings, and was a month away from being homeless, I had to come to terms with the fact that I was having a big financial setback.
I felt totally overwhelmed and paralyzed.
But then, in she came, my pal and savior, with her calm vibe and rational, on-point tips. She just listened as I vented all my frustrations and then broke down the whole problem for me: why it happened, where I messed up, and jotted down a two-month, detailed plan on what I needed to do to bounce back.
She taught me the power of taking a deep breath and breaking down issues into manageable pieces.
4) “Let’s think of a solution”
Sure, letting off steam by venting can feel good at the moment, but it rarely fixes the root cause of any problem. Smart folks get that. They’re all about finding solutions rather than dwelling on what went wrong.
Once they’ve really dug into an issue and figured out all its angles, they’re onto brainstorming solutions.
Instead of getting caught up in idle chatter or gossip, smart people put on their thinking caps to tackle issues head-on.
Whether it’s something as simple as finding a quicker route to work or as complex as boosting departmental sales, they’re always thinking of ways to improve things.
5) “Let’s take a look at the bigger picture here”
You know, there was a time when I used to react to challenges like a chicken with its head cut off without seeing the big picture.
But over time, with some soul-searching and a commitment to my mental well-being, I’ve learned to step back from situations and take a good, long look at them—whether they’re good or bad.
It’s like gaining mental clarity and purpose, which saved me a ton of time fretting over stuff that doesn’t really matter.
Plus, it’s helped me steer clear of emotional decisions, like blowing money on shopping sprees when I’m feeling down or overeating out of boredom.
Now, I try to think about how these small choices will affect me in the long run. You know, it’s something successful leaders and managers do too—they always keep their eyes on the prize, thinking about the bigger picture with every move they make.
6) “Thank you for bringing this to my attention”
The smarter you get, the more you realize there’s a ton more to learn! Smart folks take it as a crucial life principle and aren’t shy about admitting where they fall short.
In fact, they’re grateful when someone points out their mistakes because it helps them improve and grow.
Mistakes? Oh, they’re like gold mines for them! Whether acing relationships or killing it in their careers, they see slip-ups as opportunities to level up.
If you’re in the habit of thanking your partner for flagging when you’re overthinking or acknowledging when your boss reminds you of an important missed deadline, you’ve likely cultivated the intelligent skill of taking responsibility for your actions and being open to learning from your mistakes.
7) “I’m sorry”
Smart folks understand the importance of embracing criticism and owning up to mistakes when necessary.
It all begins with a genuine apology.
They keep their egos in check and recognize when they need to say, “I’m sorry.”
They grasp the significance of a sincere apology in ensuring others feel acknowledged, repairing relationships, and advancing personal development.
But here’s the thing—they only apologize when they’re genuinely at fault.
They understand that a fake apology not only humiliates the person who’s been hurt but can also harm the relationship even more.
It takes real strength to admit when you’ve wronged.
8) “I don’t know”
Saying “I don’t know” actually holds quite a bit of power, especially among smart folks who say it.
They get that nobody can know everything. Just like they’re cool with admitting they’re not perfect and can take criticism, they also get that it’s way better to own up to not knowing stuff than to act like a know-it-all and have people roll their eyes at them.
I still remember my first job at the bookstore, doing customer service. They drilled into me the power of saying, “I don’t know,” when customers asked about books I wasn’t familiar with.
It felt free, you know? And what’s cool is that customers appreciated the honesty, and it pushed me to dig deeper and help them out however I could!
9) “Way to go!”
Smart people get that keeping relationships healthy means acknowledging the wins of those around us. With their empathetic outlook, they see the importance of celebrating even the smallest victories of others. So, they’re quick to give props and join in the celebration.
Believe it or not, supportive phrases like “way to go” or “good job” can work wonders in both personal and professional settings.
By recognizing wins and using words of encouragement, smart folks maintain a positive work environment and help nurture meaningful relationships.
They know that failing to do so will risk those around them to feel invisible and unworthy, which can negatively affect their mental health and the dynamics of the relationships.
10) “Let me show you”
Smart people have a knack for understanding the challenges others face, and they’re always willing to lend a hand.
I remember transitioning to a new editorial office after spending years in competitive, sometimes toxic environments. What surprised me the most was the level of empathy and support I received from my colleague.
Despite being my senior, she generously shared all her tips and tricks for producing top-notch pieces aligned with the magazine’s goals.
She didn’t hold back any information and truly led by example. Whenever I had questions, she was quick to jump from her chair and assist me without hesitation.
Her support made a world of difference.
And I’m sure the support smart people give out to those around them is a great way to build positive environments wherever they go, after all, we all need a bit of help to kick things off sometimes.
You know, we all start off as blank slates when we’re born, right?
But what really shapes us is how we learn to work with what we’ve got.
It’s about the skills we develop and the resilience we build along the way, making us smarter at handling life’s twists and turns.
Plus, think about it—how we talk to others really affects how they feel and what they think. So, as folks who get how things roll, it’s up to us to spread that awareness and those skills by setting a good example and lifting others up along the way.
So, feel confident of your abilities to lead and inspire.
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