Ten Typical Characteristics of Intelligent People

Here are 10 characteristics that will help you figure out who are the smart people.

  1. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, are resilient, and exhibit confident humility.
  2. They have a realistic understanding of their IQ in contrast with less intelligent people who tend to over-estimate their IQ.
  3. They are curious, have good listening skills and seek to understand before being understood.
  4. They don’t believe everything that they hear unless it fits with facts that they are aware of and they ask themselves “what has to be true for that to make sense?”
  5. They view things holistically and understand that the interactions between elements of systems is what determines outcomes. In particular, they are aware of the critical difference between correlation and causation.
  6. They tend to have a small social circle because they are more selective in who they choose to associate with.
  7. They rarely engage in conversations about people, trends or events but focus on matters of intellectual importance.
  8. Their opinions are based on facts as they understand them and they are willing to change their beliefs if they don’t accord with the facts as they see them. This is sometimes referred to as being willing to confront the brutal reality.
  9. They don’t use social media except to share, and be exposed to, some useful ideas.
  10. They have a growth mindset meaning, they experience reward from the process of learning and discovery more than the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing a result. This causes them to be willing to back themselves and have a high tolerance of ambiguity and failure which they consider to be part of the learning process.

The same could be said of the intelligence reflected by the “culture” of an organization. The remarkable turnaround of Microsoft that has occurred under Satya Nadella’s watch. Although he is the CEO, he prefers to see his role a CCO – Chief Culture Officer. The key to the recent success of Microsoft has been, in Nadella’s mind, due to it changing from a “know it all” organization to a “learn it all” organization.  See his book Hit Refresh: The Quest to rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone. 2017.

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