Stop caring about being smart.
This does not mean “be humble and think you could be stupid”. That’s still caring by implication.
Stop caring about being stupid too. Be okay with being both. You shouldn’t care. Say things that will make you seem stupid, or arrogant, or cocky, or dumb. These worries limit what you can say, and any time you limit what you can say, you limit what you can consider true.
Being smart is identity crack. Some information leads you to self-improvement, like an expert’s feedback on your work. Other information is like a crack addiction for your identity; your endgame is just more crack, as in knowing you fit the label more. Being smart tells you nothing beyond knowing you’re not stupid. It doesn’t give you any workable information to improve yourself.
Okay, you’re the smartest person alive. Now what? The answer to that is where you start being useful. Maybe if you believe you’re a genius you could try for a PhD in biochemistry. But why wouldn’t you try that already? What’s stopping you? Nothing is stopping you.
You don’t need to believe you’re anything to try. Just do it. Stop being a pussy. Who cares if dumb jocks you try to distinguish yourself from are also hot? Does that mean you can’t be athletic or hot too? Does your whole existence depend on contrast with a type of person? Does intelligence need to come with physical mediocrity for the sake of balance in the world? Nature does not want balance. Humanity exists in the first place out of chaos and conflict and constant improvement.
Read books and lift weights. Or listen to audiobooks and lift weights. But actually lift weights. Heavy ass fucking weights. Don’t make a stupid joke in your head about “heavy ass-fucking weights”. Weights, until you can’t anymore. Don’t think you can find some cute alternative. Don’t settle for aerobics classes, or spin classes, or some hidden-route solution that you think will get you there faster. Why do you care about being clever? Stop. Do it the normal way and the hard way, you fucking pussy.
Go in on everything, even if it’s stupid and boring. Especially if it’s boring. If you can’t try hard, go home. Aim to be the best at shit, even though you won’t be. Your feelings will probably be hurt, but who the fuck cares? You’re fucking alive. Be okay with failing cringe-inducingly, because that’s how risk/reward works. Be arrogant, or dumb, or whatever. Who the fuck cares? You won’t get to breathe the air you just exhaled ever again. Would you give your employers eight hours of oxygen every day if you had to physically give them your oxygen tank? What if all of your life’s air was stored in oxygen tanks? Life is too god damn short.
Don’t give a shit if you insult the ‘smartest’ person you know. Assume they’ve already thought you’re dogshit; caring about bullshit like that doesn’t help you improve. Curate people for what does. Look for the quality of information they give you, for the solidness of their arguments, for the novelty of their observations. Many of the greatest writers and philosophers didn’t have this idea of “smart” to work with. They had some crass version, but they had to work their ass off for their friends and information. The world’s entire intellectual community used to be as big as your local rave scene.
Fuck scrubs, and fuck casuals. People used to risk their lives for books. People used to go to jail and be killed for challenging beliefs, and they did it anyway. The most you have to worry about is losing a job and getting another one. Oh poor you, you might not make a car payment.
You have all of human information at your fingertips, via Library Genesis and SciHub and Google and Bing when Google is censored and Gibiru when Bing is censored and even guest access at university libraries, because libraries with their vast resources are sluggish enough that we have the luxury of acting like they’re an excessively manual solution. Buy a good laptop, or a desktop, or a second monitor. Learn tabs, learn ctrl+f, learn all the hotkeys, and leave casuals behind.
Who cares if your dumb comment gets a bunch of people you respect saying “…seriously”, or “are you fucking kidding me”, or “you’re stupid and not worth my time”? Stop caring about being stupid. Challenge even ‘obvious’ claims spitefully and arrogantly. All the time. Not just in class; all the time. Literally all the time, because with Google on your phone you have the freedom to take nothing at face value, so exercise it. Do in front of your mom. On your bed. On your partner. On the toilet. Ask for citations while taking a shit. Read full studies in a bathroom stall. Call people names. Call me names. Push the boundaries of what people can know.
Force the improvement of yourself and others around you. We have that option, because we’re so cushy that using libraries warrants the same reaction as doing your taxes without a calculator. The solution to “people had it worse” is not to make sure that we have it worse, but to be much better than they could have imagined. Our information access would make great writers of the past so flustered you could see the precum from their togas.
You’re worried about what? Trolls? ‘Haters’?’ ‘Awkwardness’? Looking stupid? Someone blocking you?
Stop caring about being smart.
You literally do not have the time.