I think there’s a market for appearing smart these days. Certainly, it’s being able to present oneself is important, but the real heart of the matter comes from being able to actually do it. Being smart. That’s a lot harder. Everyone wants to be smart, but they know how difficult it is to actually be smart. So, they settle for appearing smart; less work similar result. Until others find out that it was a sham the whole time.
The real root of the problem is not being fully committed to the idea for your own growth. I want to appear smart because I want others to think I’m smart/others to like them/others to value me/others to value me.
If, instead, we turn it around and say, “no, I want to learn for learning’s sake. I want to know things for knowing things sake”. that’s radically different and that is something others can’t take away. To thine ownself be true.
How to be smart/or radically good at what you want to be good at? Practice what you need to be good at to get good at what you need to be good at. That is, don’t rehearse think about tennis techniques to be good at tennis. Actually do tennis. And concentrate. Focus on what you’re currently doing– instead of being plagued by the “possible future evils” or the “irrevocable past” (source: Art Of Manliness). And try to fix the things you don’t know. Keep falling, so you know how to get back up.