Increasing creativity: 5 tips to appear smarter while actually making yourself stupider

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If you ask most people whether they would rather look smart to the world or actually be smart and have no one know it, I think a majority would choose to look smart. So, here are five thing that you can do that will make you seem smart to other people while actually reducing your IQ, knowledge base and creativity.

1. Specialize

Mentally challenged people are helped to get by in the world by being taught a single skill that they do very well. It can be something as simple as taking out the garbage or running a cash register, but once they learn it people accept them in situations they wouldn’t before. Studies have shown that if you do one thing well, people will put up with you not being able to do other things.

Think of the stereotype of the absent-minded professor. A person so lost in their own limited academic world (Of Physics or History or Shakespearean Sonnets) that they can’t be expected to remember a phone number or where they parked their car. So, if you want to seem smarter, spend all your time studying only one thing. Don’t bother trying to relate it to other area of interests or to actual life, just memorize facts.

That way when you do something that seems less than smart, your friends can say, “Oh, he’s always so lost in thought about the trickster narratives of the Native Americans, it’s no wonder he can’t add numbers, comb his hair or hold down a job.”

It’s also a great way to stop other people from boring you when they start talking about what interests them. You can cut off the interaction by pointing out that what they’re saying is outside your area of expertise.

Of course, the only way to have a new thought about a topic is to try to relate it to other topics. But, we don’t care about that. We just want to look smart.

2. Perfect the Disapproving Grunt And Sigh

This is great in any conversation where you feel uncomfortable with the topic. Instead of admitting that you don’t know anything about it or asking questions for clarification, just grunt and sigh. That way the other people will feel that you are smarter than they are and have dismissed what they are talking about as trivial.

You not only seem better than they are, but you have also made them feel stupid and prevented them from teaching you something new.

3. Only Use Words You Are Sure You Know How To Spell And Pronounce

Nothing makes you looks more like an idiot than fumbling language. Stick to what you know! People will argue that tapes and books can teach you new words, but you still risk a terrible mistake.

Learning new words can broaden your thinking and amplify your ability to communicate. However, doing so will open you up to appearing stupid, so you should stick with words you are 100% positive of pronunciation and meaning. Even if it takes you an entire extra sentence to explain a concept that one word would have clarified instantly, it’s totally worth it.

4. If You Haven’t Done It, It’s Not Worth Doing

This is great for not having to appear stupid while trying new things.  If someone suggests you try something new, travel to a new location or learn a new skill, just have pat reasons for explaining why it isn’t worth doing. Good general answers include “I can’t waste my time with that” and “I’ve read about that and what we already do is far better”. If you want to appear smart, never try a new type of food, go to a new store or learn to dance in front of other people. Either do the activity by yourself until you become proficient or don’t try anything new at all.

5. Notice Other People’s Mistakes And Call Attention To Them

If you make fun of someone for their mistakes, it obviously means it’s a mistake that you don’t make. So, pointing out everyone’s mistakes to them will make you look more perfect. Now, remember this list is about people thinking that you’re smart, not people liking you. Using this step will make people like you less, but they will think you’re a smart jerk instead of a stupid jerk.

Also, this will bring you less contact with other people, which means that your exposure to new ideas, stories and opinions is limited. But, you are so smart it doesn’t matter.
Feel free to take these tricks and use them to get ahead in the world. When you’re done with that, do the exact opposite and actually get smarter and more creative.

Genius or Psychotic? A Look at the Strong Positive Correlation Between Creativity and Psychoses

From Personality Research that attempts to establish a connection between creative thinking and psychoses. Most of the article just defines the terms of the discussion. I think one term discussed in the article is especially useful.

Latent Inhibition (LI) is defined as “the capacity to screen from conscious awareness stimuli previously experienced as irrelevant” (Carson, Peterson, & Higgins, 2003, p. 499).

In other words, a person with a high LI level ignores things they don’t see as relevant, but a person with a low LI level is constantly reevaluating relevancy. Now, they continue, having a low IQ and a low LI level leads to just a small  increase in creative thinking. But, an intelligent person with a low LI level is many times more creative. So, creativity and low LI are seen as two definite factors in human creativity.

They also discuss another study where “fantasy proneness” was matched against diagnosis for mental illness and a definite relationship was found. Here are a few numbers:

…It was found that most (70%) fantasizers, while displaying some signs of psychoses, were able to maintain a normal life.

However, 5 out of the 13 people tested scored more than 2 standard deviations above the mean for schizotypy or hypothetical psychosis proneness, and an amazing 20-35% of all the subjects with fantasy proneness exhibited “significant signs of maladjustment, psychopathology, or deviant ideation. And perhaps a smaller proportion of fantasizers can be aptly characterized as schizotypal or borderline personalities” (Lynn & Rhue, 1988, p. 42). It can be derived from this that at least some degree of overlap exists between healthy creative tendencies and pathological ideational processes.

So, there is according to Jonathan Byrd, a measurable connection.

It seems to me that part of what they should be looking at is not a low LI, but the ability to control LI. Are there ways to make the brain shake loose and start evaluating objects it has previously judged as irrelevant? Are there ways to stop it when it gets out of control?

I’m also interested in the correlation of low LI and fear of failure with psychoses. Creativity seems to be stifled in those that fear the judgment of others, could fear of being judged as crazy actually stifle psychoses?

And, since psychiatric evaluations are completely subjective, do we need to look at changing the definitions? After all, this article could just be proving that most of society finds creative people irritating and wants them drugged and locked away.

In any case, I will be post some exercises in the next few days that will lower you level of LI. Attempt them at your own risk.

Child Prodigy?


The story of Marla Olmstead raises a lot of interesting questions about art, what is a prodigy and how far parents will go to further their own stifled ambitions. Marla’s art (Be careful of that link, the website is irritating and loud) was unique among child artists because it is abstract. Obviously, it’s rare to skip representational art and go straight to abstract, but her father swears she just picked up a brush and paint beautiful swirling abstractions. Not only that, but she covers the whole sheet of paper, another very rare thing in a child. So rare, that her paintings have gone for $24,000 and she was hailed as a genius.

60 Minutes taped her while she was painting and it turns out, in their expert’s opinion, that it was probably her failed artist father who was doing the paintings. The article linked above says, “He can be heard on the tape, directing her, sometimes sternly:  “Pssst …. Paint the red. Paint the red. You’re driving me crazy. Paint the red.” “If you paint, honey, like you were … This is not the way it should be.”  Only to have her produce a painting that was inferior to all the paintings she had done before. But, the family swears they are hers.

A documentary filmmaker was following Marla’s family around during this period. His film, which premiered at Sundance, is called “My Kid Could Paint That”.  I can’t wait to see it. To me either story is fascinating. Whether it’s an actual child prodigy or a father using his child to succeed where he failed, it’s the stuff of high drama.

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