10 Qualities of Smart People (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)


Intelligent people have many traits in common

10 qualities of smart people


“It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s just that I stay with problems longer.” — Albert Einstein, a theoretical physicist

Being smart can take many forms. Everyone has a different life story and makes a unique contribution to the world.

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However, there are some qualities that intelligent people share.

“A highly intelligent person is one who is flexible in their thinking and can adapt to changes, they think before they speak or act, and they’re able to effectively manage their emotions. In short, they possess several different types of intelligence, including but not limited to intellectual, social, and emotional intelligence.” — Catherine Jackson, a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified neurotherapist

When you think of someone who is smart, you probably have someone in mind. It probably is someone who knows tons of facts, someone who knows math well, or someone who can remember everything. It may also be someone like Matt Damon’s character in the movie Good Will Hunting who solved a blackboard problem, which had been assigned as a challenge to a linear algebra class at M.I.T.

What qualities do intelligent people have? Here’s a list of some common traits.

Read also: 5 reasons highly intelligent people fail to achieve their potential

  1. They Are Empathetic

“There’s a correlation between high EG and IQ in psychological assessments. We know that the higher a person scores in traits of empathy, the higher the person will score in traits of effective verbal comprehension.” — Christine Scott-Hudson, a licensed psychotherapist

Empathy is a big part of emotional intelligence. When you are empathetic, you have a deep understanding of the feelings of others.

If you lead with your heart, you probably also lead with your mind.

Intelligent people are empathic and are good at sensing emotions and how those impact relationships. We are emotional creatures, and most of what drives us to act are our emotions. Intelligent people imagine the situation from another person’s point of view and are doing more than feeling sorry for others — they are walking in their shoes momentarily.

  1. They Are Adaptable

Intelligent people are flexible and thrive in different situations. Smart people know the future is uncertain and are ready for the unexpected.

“A bad plan is better than no plan, and the most important quality of any plan is the flexibility to change.” — Judson L Moore, author and travel addict

Research supports the idea that intelligence is based on being able to change behaviors to cope with your environment and adapt accordingly. Intelligent people can adjust based on the complications and restrictions that they encounter.

  1. They Are Curious

“I have no special talents; I am only passionately curious.” — Albert Einstein

Intelligent people are curious about the world around them. Smart people are fascinated by the world and want to know about everything. They are always asking questions like who, what, when, where, how, and why.

Intelligent people know curiosity is like a muscle; it works better when used more.

Intelligent people cultivate their curiosity and incorporate it into their daily lives. Being smart is learning about people, technologies, processes, history, nature, animals, science, and many other parts of our world.

  1. They Are Observant

Intelligent people are not the loudest in the room. They are usually the quieter ones. Smart people often don’t boast about their accomplishments or come out right away with their opinions. They are observant and consider things before acting.

Smart people see things that others miss, like subtle patterns or tone of voice with words. They have a working knowledge of many different topics and can connect the dots that others have not.

  1. They Ask Great Questions

Smart people know how to ask the right questions. Intelligent people know that asking thought-provoking questions is as powerful as providing thought-provoking answers. Questions can challenge thinking and help people develop new solutions to old problems.

“The wise person doesn’t give the right answers; they pose the right questions.” — Claude Levi-Strauss, a French anthropologist

Intelligent people don’t just ask questions to ask questions but do things with a purpose. They work hard to ask better questions like professionals, such as litigators, journalists, and doctors trained to ask important questions. Smart people know that others have information and insights that enhance their intellect.

  1. They Have Self-Control

Intelligent people are mature and can control emotions and impulses. Self-control is a sign of intelligence because they think before speaking or acting. Research has found that there’s a link between self-control and intelligence. Self-control leads to a healthier lifestyle and the ability to achieve long-term goals.

  1. They Are Funny

Intelligent people have a great sense of humor. Research says that people who wrote funnier cartoon captions scored higher on verbal intelligence. Research also found that professional comedians scored higher than average on verbal intelligence.

Smart people know having a humorous outlook on life is an excellent coping strategy for better managing stress and adversity.

Intelligent and funny people go hand in hand. Researchers found you must have cognitive and emotional abilities to process and produce humor. Funny people have higher verbal and non-verbal intelligence.

  1. They Have a Good Memory

Intelligent people have a good working memory to optimize the decision-making process. They take a proactive approach to improving their memory. Smart people make sure they have a healthy diet, exercise consistently, and reduce stress. They are good at staying focused and avoiding distractions.

  1. They Know their Limits

Smart people realize they don’t know everything. Intelligent people recognize that there’s a lot to know, so it is impossible to grasp everything. They know their limits and admit that they can learn more from others.

Intelligent people understand how much they don’t know as much as they do know. Smart people are not afraid to say, “I don’t know.” They know if something falls outside their knowledge, they will self-educate to learn the answer to a problem.

  1. They Go with the Flow

Intelligent people don’t waste time worrying about stuff they can’t control. They go with the flow and remain open-minded to adjust to whatever comes their way. They know there will be new problems every day, and they must find solutions to those problems. They know that the best problem-solvers are made, not born.

Read also: How to recognise opportunity

Bringing It All Together

There are 10 qualities that intelligent people have in common. They are empathetic, adaptable, curious, observant, and ask great questions. They have self-control, are funny, have a good memory, know their limits, and go with the flow. Smart people are more than their test scores; they want to make others feel gifted.

“It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently.” — Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a Russian author


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