Why I don’t Realize how Stupid I Am

The other day in my Interpersonal Communications class, my teacher introduced me to the term “quid pro quo,” meaning “this for that.”

“That’s interesting,” I thought, “I’ve never heard that term before.”

Before you know it, I was hearing the term “quid pro quo” everywhere. It popped up on the radio, in the newspaper, in a book I was reading.

I was confused. Wait a minute here. I thought I had never heard the term before, but statistically and logically speaking, if I was hearing it now, I MUST have heard it in the past.

I must have heard it without hearing it. It didn’t register in my brain because I didn’t understand it.

I like to think that if I don’t understand something, I actively try to learn about it. I google it or something. But in reality, I often just ignore it without even realizing it. There must be millions of things I don’t understand that I don’t even REALIZE I don’t understand.

I must be really stupid and not even notice.

6 responses to “Why I don’t Realize how Stupid I Am

  1. Don’t beat yourself up, Emily! I wouldn’t base the measurement of intelligence on knowing phrases from a dead language that our country just won’t let go. Latin should be given a peaceful, respectful burial instead of being used as a way to let others know how knowledgeable and aloof you are.

    But I’m learning new things myself, now that you’ve brought up Latin phrases. So, thank you for that.



  2. You are not stupid. You are normal. We have all experienced something similar. We call the concept “ant tracks” because we didn’t see the ant tracks until someone pointed them out to us and then we saw them everywhere.


  3. you could just as well be extremely intelligent and not even notice (:


  4. Not stupid! For me it was actually growing older and maturing and realizing that I really didn’t know everything when I was a teenager. And I think a very admirable quality about you that you are willing to admit that you don’t know everything and WANT to learn!


  5. The same thing happens when you study a foreign language in a foreign country. I learn a Polish word, and then I hear it all around me, as if for the first time. Don’t know why!


  6. Interesting. 🙂 When I saw the title of your post, I thought you might be referencing the Dunning-Kruger effect (original paper here). In any case…enjoyed the post and the responses, and I don’t think it’s a sign of chronic stupidity but of increased self-awareness. 🙂


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