Smart people bring value wherever they go. I am like that light that shines in the dark. Their ability to see beyond, their inventiveness and their extraordinary ability to connect seemingly disconnected points allow them to find new solutions where most fail. However, the characteristics of intelligent people go far beyond that.
For decades, intelligence has been exclusively identified with IQ. Today we know that intelligence is not limited to the intellectual plane and the resolution of abstract problems, but extends to all areas of life. Indeed, a simple and operational definition of intelligence is the ability to solve problems with relative speed and ingenuity.
From this perspective, intelligence not only involves abstract level reasoning and the application of logic, but also involves understanding emotional states, creativity, and even the ability to resist pressure without collapsing. It also involves deep metacognition; that is to understand how our mind works.
What are the main characteristics of an intelligent person?
1. Acknowledges his ignorance
Many people believe they are better than others when in reality they are victims of the Dunning-Kruger effect, a prejudice that prevents them from recognizing their own incompetence, so they behave with excessive and unwarranted confidence. Instead, one of the characteristics of intelligent people is that they recognize their ignorance in some areas. They recognize their flaws, limitations or gaps because they know this is the first step in overcoming them.
Smart people practice intellectual humility. They are always open to learning something new and shamelessly admit what they don't know. This attitude allows them to respect other points of view and, at the same time, prevents them from clinging to their beliefs or ideas too much for them to keep them from continuing to grow and learn.
2. They don't blame others for their mistakes
Intelligent people often have an internal locus of control, which means they understand that they have some power over circumstances. They are aware that with intelligence and perseverance they can go very far and achieve great things, while also understanding their limitations.
Smart people accept praise for their achievements and take responsibility for their failures and mistakes. No more, no less. They don't blame others or fate when something goes wrong, instead they redouble their efforts by changing their perspective. Indeed, one of the main characteristics of intelligent people is their ability to recognize mistakes and learn from them.
3. They are open-minded, they can't resist change
"The measure of intelligence is the ability to change," said Albert Einstein. Smart people are open to new ideas and possibilities. They value the opinions of others and consider different alternatives before making a decision. In fact, a study conducted at Yale University found that intelligent people tend to keep an open mind to the views of others and don't formulate their own until they have heard different opinions.
They are also aware that things change, so they don't feel the need to cling to their initial solution. They do not suffer from resistance to change. They have enough mental flexibility to change if they find along the way that their plan doesn't work. They are in fact always looking for new alternatives that allow them to optimize their solutions.
4. They do not react with anger or anger
A characteristic of intelligent people is that they have a high level of self-control. Not only do they know each other better and explore their cognitive processes, but they also know how to best manage their emotions. These people tend to practice introspection more and know how to deal with their affective states so as not to become a hindrance during the problem solving process.
A 22-year study of over 600 people found that both aggression and intelligence are relatively stable throughout life. These psychologists from the University of Michigan found that a lower IQ was a predictor of aggressive reactions. Apparently, this creates a vicious circle because aggression also hinders the development of intelligence.
5. They do not allow themselves to be influenced by prejudices
Throughout life, we all develop certain stereotypes, which serve as quick reference points for moving around a complex world. However, intelligent people don't let those stereotypes or prejudices determine their decisions and behaviors. I am able to see beyond.
A study developed at Brock University with more than 15 people found that people with lower IQs in childhood were more likely to be more racist and homophobic in adulthood. They concluded that intelligence plays a critical, if often underestimated, role in prejudice.
6. Have a sense of humor
Another characteristic of an intelligent person is his sense of humor. In this regard, Sigmund Freud said that humor allows us to safely and assertively release our impulses, expressing them in the form of wit. Humor is also essential to avoid taking things too seriously and being self-critical, so that intelligent people often laugh at themselves and their circumstances.
A study conducted at the Medical University of Vienna revealed that smarter people tend to like unconventional humor, such as black humor. Interestingly, these people also show lower levels of aggression and a better mood. Undoubtedly, the ability to laugh at everything, even at what is often considered taboo, helps them to mitigate difficulties, allows them to distance themselves from what is happening and find better solutions.
7. They care more about things
Not all traits of intelligent people are positive. These people also show a greater propensity to worry and brood. Several studies have found a relationship between intelligence and a tendency to worry more about things and mull over the facts.
This is probably due to the fact that intelligent people generally reject the most superficial explanations and need ample evidence to support a thesis. Their intelligence may make them want to get to the bottom of things, or it may show them problems where others don't see them. This could lead to them becoming more anxious, worrying about potential threats, or analyzing events over and over until they find a satisfactory explanation.