10 Ridiculous Abilities People Mistakenly Claim They Have

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Maybe it’s because people watch too many superhero movies, or just want to spice up their lives, but some like to imagine they have all kinds of powers. Powers that others–or at least most–simply lack. Whether it’s a 9 to 5 commuter who thinks they’re far better than most drivers who have ever lived, a person who thinks they have superpowers because they are good at drinking, or something similar, they all have the issue in common that they either have inflated a commonly acquired skill (one which they and others have to use every day) into something special, or they think they have a skill that simply doesn’t even exist.

10. People Who Think They See Auras Probably Have Synesthesia

Some people think they see visible auras around others, and claim it tells them about what kind of person you are. However, Dr. Jamie Ward is not convinced. She had a patient who had synesthesia and would see entire colors spread across her field of vision when hearing the names of her loved ones, and when she saw them in person, she would see visible auras of varying colors. Ward believes that this could be a clue to what is going on with people who claim to be able to see auras around others.

Dr. Ward says it is likely some form of synesthesia where the person strongly associates colors with people, and creates the illusion in their brain that there is a color surrounding the entire person. There is no evidence that there is any kind of energy field around someone that could make an independent aura, so this theory makes a lot of sense. Someone with synesthesia would be likely to associate colors very strongly with different people, and may even see a visible effect, using their subconscious to decide the color based on how they judge that person.

9. Being Super Good At Multitasking Isn’t Even A Thing

People love to brag about multitasking, but the truth is it isn’t even real. You actually cannot do two things at the same time, as your brain simply is not capable of doing so. When you think you’re multitasking, you are actually rapidly switching between the tasks, as your brain tries to juggle all the extra and unnecessary sensory input you’re throwing at it.

What this means is that your brain is now basically being overloaded, kind of like if you have too many programs running and are using too much RAM — your brain is going to get bogged down and you are actually going to be far slower at getting anything done. You simply won’t be the efficient maestro that you think you are, and are actually more likely to make mistakes while multitasking than not, because you are splitting your focus. It may sound efficient, but if you have to correct mistakes later or redo shoddy work, you may realize it wasn’t worth it.

8. The Ability To Tell When Random People You Don’t Know Are Lying To You

This is a classic power that many, especially in law enforcement, think they have. However, studies have shown most people aren’t better than 50% when it comes to guessing based on “judgment” alone. For those who really think they can do this subconsciously, they should be careful to make snap judgments. You don’t have a superpower; it’s just your brain making judgments based on the context and information it has at hand. But there are a lot of things missing, and you could be mistaken and cause unnecessary strife.

Now, you may potentially be quite good at sussing out lies from a close friend or family member, but that’s a quite different situation. Those are people you know very well, and they may have tells they don’t even realize you can exploit. Even in these cases, though, you should still be careful not to read too much into your own ability to detect lies — you still may be wrong. The truth is most experts who are actually good at catching people in lies are simply using the technique of listening carefully and looking for inconsistencies in your story.

7. Picking Up The “Energy” And “Vibes” Of People Around You

Some people like to claim, sort of similar to the aura power, that they can feel people’s “energies” around them. Some say this stresses them out in a crowd, and some have even claimed to be energy “vampires” who feed by going out into crowds and enjoying that delicious crowd energy and the “vibes” it supplies. A lot of people who think this feel they have a special power that others do not.

The more boring truth is that, similar to people’s belief in auras, people who believe they can feel people’s energies are just making judgments in their head about the people around them, and the state of the crowd, and internalizing that as positive or negative feelings. There is no special energy to pick up. But from birth, humans learn to read people’s faces and body language naturally — if you are worried about someone’s negative energy, it is likely just your brain warning you that something seems a little bit off about their behavior.

6. Being A Really Great Driver Who Is Much Better Than All The Other Horrible Drivers

One of the most commonly acknowledged facts, especially in the United States of America, is that most drivers think all other drivers are mostly pretty terrible, but think of themselves as well above average. While most people chuckle at this fact, they still go away thinking that they are one of the people who is truly above average. They don’t realize the joke may be on them, as they mock all the “other” bad drivers.

The obvious issue with this delusion is that, by the very laws of statistics, there will always be an average, and most people are going to sit pretty close to it. This means that unless you have driven professionally for many years, odds are you’re not significantly above the average of anyone.

Especially if you are young, have little experience driving, and little to no experience driving professionally of any kind, thinking yourself far above the likes of most drivers is pretty delusional. The fact of the matter is that most of the time you think someone else is a much worse driver than you, they probably made a mistake you have made before, or were unfamiliar with the area. More often than not your belief that everyone is far below you in driving skill is very mistaken.

5. Being Able To Discern News (And Political News) Far Better Than Anyone Else

America has a problem today where many truly cannot tell the difference between real and fake news. Part of the problem is the independent mindset of Americans, many of whom stubbornly believe that hearing about something, and having an opinion, suddenly makes them an expert. They don’t need to listen to or consult actual experts about the subject. Many Americans are simply uninterested in an expert take on most things anymore — they would prefer to hear from someone who seems more like a Regular Joe, saying something that sounds an awful lot like their own point of view so they don’t have to feel challenged whatsoever.

However, people should keep in mind that just because you listen to and read the news and pay close attention to politics doesn’t mean you understand all of the subtleties of the subjects being discussed, or are suddenly an expert on the matter. We aren’t saying you should simply listen to one expert and take their word as gospel, but reading up on several expert opinions, and then reading more background on the subject to better inform yourself will do you more good than you can imagine. The various experts out there you can listen to, though, are not simply watching political news more than you. They often have degrees in fields like political science, which makes them an expert and helps them parse complicated political developments that would confuse many of us.  

4. An Amazing Sense Of Direction That Beats Everyone Else’s

This is another situation where a common skill that everyone must use is misinterpreted by some people as something special they can do far better than others. While reading a map in this day and age, or really being able to know directions almost instantly, would certainly be good skills to have, most direction know-it-alls don’t even have them. They just think they have some innate compass.

The truth is, humans don’t really have the special kind of directional sense that some animals do, and rely on our brains to read maps or follow patterns that we previously knew. If the person who claims to be so great at directions does not know the place he’s leading you through, he is unlikely to be much better. To make matters worse for those who think they are directional experts, nearly everyone is using GPS at least for backup to some extent these days, and GPS has been proven to weaken your directional and navigational skills over time. If someone is truly better at finding directions, it’s likely mostly learned, as they have figured out patterns that help them find their way in any situation, perhaps even at a young age.

3. The Ability To Become An Instant Expert At Anything With A Simple Google Search

One of the most infuriating aspects of the internet age is how so many people now think they have this ability to use “google-fu” and suddenly be a master of anything. These people probably don’t have the capability to do so much as a minor book report on the subject they’re looking into, but are now convinced they have the answer. Once they have “the answer” they don’t listen to any competing information, and are incapable of learning further about the subject.

What people are forgetting is that, if you really want to know, you need to understand. That requires more time reading expert opinions, reading up on background information, and poring over research studies and the like. There will often be competing sources on anything, and you may even see multiple experts with different opinions. Humans like to make judgments and resolve things — the brain simply feels more satisfied — but it isn’t really good for us in the long run. Sometimes the best decision is to actually not form such a strong opinion that you won’t feel right about changing it later, but to leave your mind open to many different possibilities.

2. People Who Think They Don’t Get Hungover At All May Want To Lay Off The Booze

A claim you will hear from young people in college, sometimes young people in high school, and especially older people who have a serious problem with booze, is that they can drink, and drink, and drink and they just don’t get hungover. Now, there are some people who actually have extra functioning kidneys they were born with, and those people actually can metabolize alcohol at a higher level, but this is absurdly, remotely rare.

Most people who are making the claim are simply mistaken about the damage they are doing to their bodies. The truth is that if you are a drinking a lot over a short period of time, you are doing temporary damage to your body that it now has to repair.

You have toxins that your body has to remove by working them through your natural waste system over time. If you drink heavily and hardly feel anything in the morning, it doesn’t mean you aren’t hungover, but that you have a drinking problem, have built up a tolerance, and are used to most of the ill effects enough that it has become normal for you.

There are many organizations that can help people with alcoholism and you are not alone — there are always people who would be happy to share strategies online or in person, and it’s never too late to stop drinking. The truth is that if you drink heavily on a regular basis and truly feel you aren’t even getting hangovers, you have become far too accustomed to the constant stream of booze in your bloodstream, and you need to give your poor liver and kidneys a break.

1. The People Who Think They Are The Whisperer Of All Animals Are Just Good With Theirs

A huge amount of people worldwide love animals — cultures have been keeping cats and dogs since about as far back as we can record history, and we have reason to believe they have been domesticating them for far longer. Even people who don’t own pets typically still find them to be adorable, and you can’t go anywhere on Facebook without seeing cat pictures, usually upvoted mindlessly by everyone who comes across them.

Seeing as many, many people own a pet, it may not be surprising that most people seem to think they are an expert not just with their pet, and not just with their type of pet, but with every type of animal imaginable. These are the people who see a dog or a cat, and instead of just enjoying its presence and petting it, have to go on to anyone within earshot about how great they are with all animals, to the point you wish they would just stop talking and move on to another subject. Or out of the room. Either is good, really. (You hear that, Doug?)

These people will often make thoroughly obnoxious displays where they make all kinds of weird sounds or movements that they somehow think are going to make the animal just come straight for them. These people forget that their own pet responds to these things because they trained it to at a young age, and like humans, most animals are very, very different. While there are real animal behavioral experts out there, unless that is your career you are probably not suddenly a beastmaster of taming your new neighbor’s cat. And quite honestly, just owning a pet doesn’t even necessarily make you an expert at taking care of that specific creature, either. Taking care of animals is hard work, and doing it right takes a lot of practice, and some trial and error.

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