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The Characteristics of Highly Intelligent People

Growing up, I would never really consider myself smart. Yeah, I got good grades, but I thought that being smart that you were constantly in a book and new facts about everything. That wasn’t me. To this day, I’m not the one to be quick to answer, confident, and certain at all times. My definition of being smart is someone who can rationally think through an issue, rather than to have an instant answer. I guess by definition, someone who’s not intelligent, but willing to learn is actually highly intelligent. Here are some characteristics of what I see as highly intelligent people.

Not Completely Certain of Their Own Ideas

Everyone has their own ideas about different subjects, but the one who’s willing to question his/her own beliefs is smarter than a person who regularly sticks to their guns. The reason behind this is that uncertainty is the catalyst to exploration. Knowing what they don’t know means they are in search for better answers and better ideas, constantly changing and adapting to new problems.

No One is Right or Wrong, Just Different

When giving an opinion, a smart person doesn’t believe that they are giving someone the right answer. They are just giving an interesting opinion that might be considered.

They Add to the Conversation

Instead of ending conversations with an ultimatum, or a satisfactory win to an argument, a smart person adds onto the conversation with their own ideas. When it comes to the idea of others, they are interested in the opposing thoughts in genuine interest, or in hopes to learn something new.

Slow to Respond

Smart people take time to respond. They want to take their time to formulate the right response. The first thought that a person may have may not be the best thought.

Don’t Engage in Competition

There’s no reason to argue with people who are irrational. If someone is looking to win an argument competition, the smart person concedes. People who engage in this interaction tend to only care about winning the argument rather than getting something out of the engagement.

Impulses Don’t Override Instincts

This one hits close to home because I’m known to be passionate about my opinion. The thing is, I’m not driven by the passion. Especially in my working career, I have learned to be patient and sacrifice instant gratification for the sake of the greater goal. Smart people know the difference between short-term wants and long-term needs.

Only Add to a Conversation with Something Meaningful to Say

Smart people master the art of listening. They may be pinned as quiet, or introverted (much like myself), but most people like me really don’t have much to say unless the words create meaning for the other person. I’m really not the biggest fan of small talk. Well informed thoughts and conversation break through the noise of ill-informed opinion.

The Ideas of Others Don’t Shape One’s Life

Intelligent people are capable of thinking for themselves. Someone’s opinion won’t change the lifestyle of the recipient. A smart person doesn’t follow the crowd (at least blindly), and may not believe that the collective majority always knows best. No amount of seniority or position can shape the mind of the intelligent person.

Masters of Problem Solving

People love going to this person with their problems because the intelligent person puts much thought into solving them rather than going for the quick fix. If you are anything like me, you try to find efficiency in everything. Sometimes you just have to enjoy the moment.

Willing to Be Wrong

As I said at the top of this piece, nothing is certain. The smart person knows this and still has an opinion, with the will to be wrong. They are willing to take the plunge with no real risk. They are okay if they are wrong. There’s no ego in a “I told you so.” Without the risk, there would be no learning and everything would just be mere assumption.