10 habits that separate sophisticated people from unsophisticated people

What separates a sophisticated person from an unsophisticated person?

It’s not the clothes, the money, the accent or the neighborhood they live in…

It’s the habits.

Here’s a look at the top habits that separate out the refined from the average.

1. Speaking clearly

First and foremost, a sophisticated person speaks clearly.

They may come from any background and have a strong accent or dialect, but they form their words fully and project their voice enough for others to hear.

They also think before speaking and avoid responding impulsively when in a heated conversation or situation.

Sophisticated individuals watch what they say and try their best to only say what they want to and to generally listen more than they talk.

This isn’t just to be nice or polite, it’s because when you listen more you get more information and generally end up sounding more intelligent and informed if and when you do speak.

Sophistication is deeply connected to maturity.

Sophisticated individuals don’t just look or act a certain way, they back it up with a maturity of character and thought that makes an impression on those they interact with.

Speaking clearly is certainly a key component of being a sophisticated man or woman.

2. Being courteous

Courtesy is becoming something of a lost art these days, but sophisticated people haven’t forgotten it.

They open doors, help carry bags and let the elderly and pregnant sit first on the bus.

They don’t do this for recognition or out of some “white knight” syndrome. They do it because they can, and because they like to do so.

There are countless opportunities to do a small kindness for someone throughout the day, and sophisticated people take note of these.

No matter how busy they are, they will take an extra minute to help somebody out with directions or opening a door, because it’s a helpful and beneficial thing to do.

Being courteous is a small thing, but it can really go such a long way and make people around us feel more comfortable and valued.

3. Following ‘long-termism’

Long-termism is a philosophy followed by many of the most successful individuals and innovators.

It is what it sounds like: instead of focusing on short term gain and payoffs, the sophisticated individual dedicates him or herself to long term goals and visions.

This doesn’t only go for business, but also in personal life, where there are many situations, relationships and self-development parts of our lives that are much better when we really commit and have self-discipline.

We live in a society that wants quick fixes for everything.

The biggest thing anyone can do to stand out is be willing to delay gratification and build their life around a more long-term and mature vision.

4. Having their own style

One of the most important habits that separate sophisticated people from unsophisticated people is having their own style.

Sophisticated individuals come from all walks of life, but they don’t just follow trends.

If you see them, they make an impression, because they truly have their own look and their own style.

Style is about more than just clothes, accessories, jewelry or footwear, of course.

It’s also about how a person carries themselves: how they walk, act, look, their posture and their gestures.

Having a unique style is about owning your appearance, knowing who you are on a deeper level and wearing clothes and behaving in a way that concords with who you are at your core.

5. Sticking to self-discipline

Another of the habits that separate sophisticated people from unsophisticated people is sticking to self-discipline.

If you want to be truly sophisticated, it’s not about having sway over large crowds or being a popular star.

It’s about having control over yourself first and foremost.

Far too many of us, myself included, struggle with self-discipline and having self-control.

I know that in my case I often eat too much, date people I shouldn’t, procrastinate about work and so on…

Self-discipline is about far more than just being healthy, it’s about building a solid core of self-respect and self-reliance.

When you know that you can delay immediate gratification and control your desires, you can begin to trust yourself more and project a natural aura of charisma, confidence and inspirational energy.

6. Practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness is an excellent thing to practice and it’s extremely simple.

The best ways are the five senses exercise and conscious breathing.

Mindfulness is all about getting into the present moment and being present with your body and breath without having to analyze, think, or reach some kind of fulfillment.

You just exist and allow that to occur, letting thoughts and emotions come and go as you observe them.

The great thing about mindfulness is that it brings you a lot more inner peace and you get better at it the more you do it, finding yourself craving those moments of solitude.

Even better: you can practice many mindful exercises and techniques in public as you go about your daily life, even in activities like gardening, cooking and walking.

7. Willing to engage in critical thinking

Willingness and ability to engage in critical thinking is a definite marker of a person of above average self-awareness and sophistication.

When it comes to the top habits that separate sophisticated people from unsophisticated people this is right up there.

Critical thinking is the ability to step back from your own perspective or “side” and think critically about who you are, what made you that way and why people may believe and care about different things than you.

Critical thinking is crucially important in building a constructive future and more peaceful opportunities with other people, but sadly far too many have chucked it in the trash in favor of being “right” among their own echo chamber.

8. Able to disagree without arguing

One of the most impressive habits that separate sophisticated people from unsophisticated people is the ability to disagree without arguing.

Like courtesy, this seems to be something of a lost art.

How it works is that the sophisticated individual stands up for what they believe and expresses a different point of view or disagreement.

Then they just continue with the conversation and still treat the people they are talking to with basic respect. They may be certain they are right and the people they are speaking with are wrong or even flat-out ignorant. But they won’t let that start a fight if it’s avoidable.

Why? Because it’s a waste of time!

If they have been seriously offended they will make their excuses and leave the interaction, but they won’t take it personal or get into an intense emotional argument.

The unsophisticated person, by contrast, will get very emotional and take things very personally when they disagree and may find it very hard to separate their own wellbeing and ego from being “right” in an interaction.

9. Sticking to standards in love

Another of the crucial habits that separate sophisticated people from unsophisticated people is sticking to standards in love.

Earlier I mentioned dating people I shouldn’t and this is an important point.

Sophisticated people obviously make mistakes like all the rest of us, but part of the self-discipline and self-knowledge they have is about what’s good for them in love.

They are willing to stay single and alone instead of dating or sleeping with people they know won’t help their journey and vice versa.

They have patience and forbearance in matters of the heart, which ultimately makes the sophisticated person a more desirable romantic partner.

Because they take themselves and their standards seriously, it allows a potential mate to do the same, whereas the unsophisticated person dates anyone that presents an opportunity, sinking themselves into a cycle of disempowerment and codependency.

10. Looking the part

Earlier I mentioned the importance of having a unique style, and that’s certainly true.

Your style may look similar to some other people out there, but as long as it’s uniquely yours in that you own and love it, then it’s on the mark.

When it comes to looking the part overall, a sophisticated individual pays attention to the details.

They get their hair done just the way they like it, wear clothes that combine well and choose things like sunglasses, shoes and bags that go well with their look.

Looks are certainly not everything, but even with a tiny bit of money the sophisticated person can make their look come together in a way that wows a room and shows real intention and class.

The key to sophistication

The key to sophistication is actually in your relationship to yourself.

Sophisticated people know themselves inside and out. They know their strengths, their faults and their potential.

They talk, dress and behave in a way that’s true to who they are and they present themselves honestly and with refinement to those around them.

Sophistication is about the external things, too, including style, manner of speaking, taste and so forth, but it’s ultimately the deeper aspects of character that make someone truly sophisticated and engaging.

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