If someone displays these 10 traits, they’re a really smart and competent person

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Ever found yourself in a conversation with someone who, despite their calm demeanor, seems to always have the right answers?

Chances are, you’re dealing with a highly intelligent and competent person.

Their behaviors may seem peculiar, or even intimidating to some, but in reality, these individuals just have a unique way of comprehending and navigating their environment.

Let’s dive in to decipher these smart traits and illuminate ten signs that indicate you’re in the company of a truly intelligent and capable person.

1. Lifelong Learners

Ever noticed that person who, despite their success, is always seeking to learn more? That’s a sure sign of a smart and competent person.

Intelligent individuals have an insatiable curiosity and are lifelong learners. They don’t just wait for knowledge to come their way, they actively seek it out.

This doesn’t mean they’re know-it-alls or have a superiority complex; they simply find joy in expanding their horizons and deepening their understanding.

Whether they’re immersing themselves in a new book, diving into a complex topic online, or picking up a new skill, these individuals are constantly growing and evolving.

When you come across someone who is always eager to learn something new, don’t dismiss them as nerdy or obsessive.

They are just embracing their natural propensity for learning and development – which is one of the trademarks of truly smart and competent people.

2. Emotionally Intelligent

Ever met someone who just seems to ‘get’ people? I have, and it was a game changer.

In my early career, I worked with a manager who could read people like a book. It wasn’t because he was a mind reader, but because he had high emotional intelligence.

He understood that being smart wasn’t just about having all the facts and figures at his fingertips; it was also about understanding and navigating the complex world of human emotions.

No matter the situation, he always knew how to deftly handle the situation, often leaving people feeling better than before.

From him, I learned that emotional intelligence, the ability to recognize and manage both your own and others’ emotions, is a vital trait of truly smart and competent individuals.

If you come across someone who seems to handle people and situations with an uncanny ease, they’re not just lucky or naturally charismatic. They’re likely emotionally intelligent – another sign of a truly smart and competent person.

3. Problem Solvers

Have you ever encountered someone who seems to have an uncanny knack for untangling complicated situations?

Most likely, you’ve just met a problem solver, another clear sign of an intelligent and competent person.

These individuals don’t shy away from problems; instead, they view them as challenges waiting to be conquered. Their mindset isn’t about avoiding the issue but finding a solution that works best.

They apply their analytical skills and creativity to come up with effective solutions.

Don’t be surprised if you find these folks seemingly drawn to complexities. They’re not masochists who enjoy complications; they just have the intelligence and competence to solve problems effectively.

That’s why, when things go haywire, everyone wants a problem solver on their team. And rightly so – because these are the people who turn chaos into order.

4. Open-Mindedness

Have you ever noticed some people seem more willing to consider viewpoints different from their own? This is a key trait often found in highly intelligent and competent individuals.

Open-mindedness is an attribute that enables these individuals to see various angles of an issue. Instead of dismissing differing opinions, they embrace them as opportunities for growth and learning.

Whether it’s a heated debate at work or an unconventional idea pitched at a meeting, they are often the ones willing to listen and give thoughtful consideration to all sides.

The next time you encounter someone who embraces different perspectives and ideas, they’re not just playing devil’s advocate. They’re demonstrating open-mindedness – a trait synonymous with intelligence and competence.

5. Empathetic Attitude

Have you ever met someone who just seems to understand what you’re going through, even without you saying a word?

More likely than not, that person is highly intelligent and competent.

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is often a trait found in smart and competent people. It’s about truly connecting with others on an emotional level.

Whether it’s offering a comforting ear to a grieving friend, or sharing the joy of a colleague’s promotion, those with empathy are able to genuinely share in the feelings of others.

They understand that intelligence and competence aren’t just about knowledge and skills; they also involve being able to connect deeply with others.

6. Adaptable

Ever encountered someone who takes unexpected changes in their stride and easily adapts to new circumstances?

You’re likely dealing with a highly intelligent and competent person.

Being adaptable is the ability to quickly adjust to new situations and environments. It’s a key trait that allows these individuals to thrive even in the face of uncertainty or change.

Adaptable people take these changes as part of life’s journey and find ways to make the best out of them.

When you meet someone who handles change with ease and agility, know that they’re not just go-with-the-flow types. 

7. Self-Reflective

Have you ever noticed someone who regularly takes time out for self-reflection?

Chances are, they’re a highly intelligent and competent person.

Self-reflection is the practice of setting aside time to gain a deeper understanding of oneself. This includes acknowledging strengths, identifying areas of improvement, and understanding one’s emotions.

Whether it’s journaling at the end of the day, meditating, or simply spending quiet time alone, these individuals understand the importance of looking inward.

If you encounter someone who values self-reflection, understand that they’re not just being introspective.

They’re practicing self-awareness and reflection – two key traits of highly intelligent and competent individuals.

8. Critical Thinkers

You may have met someone who doesn’t just accept information at face value but delves deeper to understand the underlying principles or facts.

These people are critical thinkers, and this trait is a hallmark of intelligent and competent individuals.

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze and evaluate an issue in order to form a judgment. It’s not just about having information but understanding how to use it effectively.

Critical thinking can aid in making better decisions and improving problem-solving skills, boosting workplace performance.

Whether it’s dissecting a news article for hidden biases or breaking down a complex problem at work, critical thinkers are the ones who dig deeper.

9. Strong Communicators

I remember early in my career, I struggled with public speaking. My words would get jumbled, and I’d lose my train of thought. It was a colleague of mine, a highly intelligent and competent individual, who helped me overcome this hurdle.

She taught me that being a strong communicator isn’t just about using big words or delivering eloquent speeches. It’s about being clear, concise, and thoughtful with your words.

Whether it’s leading a team meeting, negotiating a deal, or simply having a conversation, effective communication is integral to conveying ideas and understanding others.

She was right; improving my communication skills made a significant difference in my professional growth.

10. Perseverance

The most important trait that truly smart and competent people possess is perseverance.

Despite the odds, setbacks, or failures, they don’t give up. They understand that the path to success is often paved with challenges and that the real growth comes from pushing through these difficulties.

Whether it’s working tirelessly to meet a project deadline, persisting in the face of rejection, or continuing to strive to reach a goal despite obstacles, perseverance is what sets truly intelligent and competent individuals apart.

It’s not just about having the ability; it’s about having the will to keep going no matter what.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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