Intelligence or smarts can manifest in many different ways. Sometimes it shows itself in seemingly totally spontaneous manners, things we don’t even connote with someone who is bright. Often those who are very proficient in one area of intelligence are a little lacking in others. A brilliant mathematician may lack an understanding of poetry or abstract art, while a leading physicist may be extremely socially challenged in a similar sense.
There are those lucky few however, that seem to somehow have tapped into many or all of the nuanced forms of intelligence and can function at a uniquely high level of ability in numerous opposing realms. These people tend to share common traits which others might not even consider connected to their intellectual talents. Listed below are 13 of these traits most commonly found among the subtly brilliant.
1. Fluidity Of Thought And Opinion.
These people know that to take a staunch position on something is to limit yourself to that position. While they are perfectly capable of forming strong opinions or beliefs, they prefer to stay away from rigid absolutes because they know that one must keep their mind open to new possibilities at all times.
2. They’re Never Hasty.
They will always take as much time and energy as they need to deeply and genuinely consider what they want to say before they say it. They will take into account whether it is kind or socially acceptable, whether it is necessary or will add anything to the conversation, and whether or not they feel ready to confront the possible reactions to it. It may seem like a lot of work, but this is usually a momentary process in the head that takes only a few extra seconds of thought.
3. Never Contributing Unless It Will Benefit The Group.
Intelligent people don’t tend to be interested in small talk. They don’t speak or do things just for the attention or to fill the awkward silence and spaces. They will only become involved in a situation if they think they have something to bring to the table, something that will help or assist in a positive or necessary way. Otherwise they simply won’t interject.
4. They March To Their Own Drummer.
They aren’t worried about fitting in with the crowd because they know sometimes the crowd is boring or even downright wrong. They base their thoughts and opinions on information and fact because they are acutely aware of the great potential human beings have for making mistakes.
This doesn’t mean they won’t consider other people’s feelings on things, but they will always want to form their own individual ideas about it once they’ve obtained as much information as they can.
5. They Know That Everyone Is Capable Of Being Wrong. Including Themselves.
Only the fool believes that men are infallible. The truly intelligent person will always admit when they’re wrong or they’ve made a mistake. You don’t grow to be wise or well-educated if you can’t accept being incorrect. This also goes for those you might consider personal heroes. You can respect someone greatly for many things and still believe it when they screw up.
6. They Always Strive To Be Objective.
Instead of being emotional about it and telling a person they’re just wrong, someone who is very intelligent will instead offer a different perspective. It’s not about winning or losing the argument, it’s about helping the other person to understand things in a different, perhaps better or clearer way. The smart man/woman would rather help someone else come to their own conclusion than force personal opinions on them.
7. They Don’t Let Emotion Get The Best Of Them.
They will always do whatever they can to stay calm and clear-headed. When you allow your emotions and personal bias to inform your speech and behavior, people suffer. Communication just doesn’t happen the way it should and everyone ends up angry or upset. Staying relaxed, trying not to take anything personally and relying on facts and logic are the best way to find a good solution or compromise to any difficult situation.
8. They Often Rely On Intuition.
It may sound cliche, but sometimes the best thing you can do is trust your instincts. Intelligent people know that human beings once relied entirely on their gut for survival, and though we’ve long since evolved past that, our physical feelings can still give us some useful hints for life now. Never deny your instincts, they exist for a good reason.
9. They Are People Of Action, Not Just Words.
Too many of us will react to a troublesome issue by sitting around and trying to think our way out of it. While I’m not suggesting that we remove thought from the equation entirely, I am telling you that the truly intelligent know better than to get paralyzed in thought.
At some point you’ve got to take the risk and act, or you’ll be immobilized permanently. No good can come of sitting there and obsessing over your problem, you have to make a plan of action and follow through with it in order to have any hope of progressing.
10. They Don’t Need Your Validation.
Most of the time when someone is judging you harshly, what they’re really doing is revealing what type of person they are. Intelligent people don’t worry about judgment or what others are saying about them. They do what feels right and important to them and they don’t bother letting others shame them for it.
They will take into consideration the thoughts of those they greatly admire and respect, and if they think they’re being called out on something they deserve to be called out on, they won’t deny it, but overall their validation comes from within. They simply have more productive things to do than chase the approval of their peers.
11. They can connect seemingly unrelated concepts
Several Quora users suggested that smart people are able to see patterns where others can’t. That’s because they can draw parallels between seemingly disparate ideas.
As April Astoria notes : “You think there’s no relation between sashimi and watermelon? You’d be wrong. Both are typically eaten raw and cold.”
Interestingly, journalist Charles Duhigg argues that making these kinds of connections is a hallmark of creativity (which, depending on who you ask, can be closely linked to intelligence ). Duhigg studied the process through which Disney developed their hit movie “Frozen” and concluded that the movie only seems clever and original because it “takes old ideas and pushes them together in new ways.”
12. They procrastinate a lot
Mahesh Garkoti says smart people are likely to procrastinate on quotidian tasks, mainly because they’re working on things that are more important.
That’s an interesting proposition – but some scientists would say that smart people procrastinate even on work they find meaningful. Wharton psychologist Adam Grant suggests that procrastination is key to innovation, and that Steve Jobs used it strategically.
As Grant told Business Insider’s Rachel Gillett , “The time Steve Jobs was putting things off and noodling on possibilities was time well spent in letting more divergent ideas come to the table, as opposed to diving right in with the most conventional, the most obvious, the most familiar.”
13. They contemplate the big questions
According to Ram Kumar , intelligent individuals “wonder a lot about [the] universe and meaning of life.” What’s more, Kumar writes, “they always [ask] what’s the point of everything?”
That existential confusion may be one reason why smart people are more likely to be anxious. As David Wilson reported in Slate , intelligent people may be better equipped to consider situations from a range of angles, meaning they’re always aware of the possibility that things will go awry. Perhaps their anxiety also stems from the fact that they consider a given experience and wonder: Why bother going through it in the first place?
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