People who become more intelligent as they get older usually display these 8 behaviors

There used to be a widespread myth that intelligence is fixed at birth and doesn’t change much as we grow older. But the truth we now know is, intelligence isn’t static. It can expand and evolve over time, mostly determined by our behaviors and attitudes.

And you know something else? You can often predict who will evolve and develop this trait more than others.

Because what I’ve found through observing my relatives and mentors that I most admire over the years is this: people who become more intelligent as they age often display certain behaviors. 

These behaviors aren’t exclusive traits of the ‘naturally smart’. They’re choices, habits that anyone can adopt to refine their minds and enrich their lives over time.

Let’s explore these behaviors further and how you can incorporate them into your daily life.

1) Lifelong learners

One of the most striking commonalities among those who grow more intelligent with age is their commitment to lifelong learning.

The world around us is continually changing, and those who are willing to continually learn and adapt are the ones who stay ahead. They treat life as an endless journey of discovery, consistently seeking to expand their knowledge and understanding.

This isn’t about accumulating degrees or mastering trivia. Rather, it’s about fostering a curiosity that drives them to explore new ideas, challenge their assumptions, and deepen their understanding of the world.

Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, reading widely and voraciously, or simply asking thoughtful questions in everyday conversations, these behaviors of continuous learning contribute significantly to their intellectual growth over time.

2) Embrace challenges

Another behavior I’ve noticed among people who become more intelligent over time is their willingness to embrace challenges. They don’t view obstacles as setbacks but as opportunities for growth and learning.

In my own journey, I’ve come to realize that our greatest lessons often come from our most challenging moments. These are the times that force us to think creatively, to problem-solve, and to tap into our resilience.

It was hard to think of it this way in the moment, of course. I hated my obstacles and setbacks as much as the next guy. But with time and maturity, I was able to recognize how those moments are the ones that pushed me forward like nothing else.

And once you gain this mindset, you’re able to look at even current or upcoming challenges as a valuable tool for intellectual growth. Granted, you can’t quite fully look forward to them, but you can approach them with a creative and determined mindset and the knowledge that they will help you evolve.  

3) Cultivate self-awareness

Perhaps the most transformative behavior that defines people who grow more intelligent with age is the continuous practice of self-awareness. They understand that intelligence is not just about gathering information about the world, but also about understanding themselves better.

Self-awareness is about being in touch with our thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior. By understanding ourselves better, we can identify our strengths and weaknesses, acknowledge our biases, and make conscious decisions that align with our values and goals.

In my own journey, I’ve found that self-awareness is one of the most powerful tools for personal growth. It allows us to confront our fears, challenge limiting beliefs, and cultivate self-compassion. By doing this inner work, we become more capable of creating the lives and the world we desire.

To delve deeper into this topic, I invite you to watch my video on “the illusion of happiness” where I unpack why chasing happiness can actually lead to misery and how true contentment comes from within.


And if you find these ideas resonating with you and want to explore living a life with more purpose and freedom alongside 20,000 other subscribers, feel free to click here to join us on YouTube.

4) Reject dominance hierarchies

One of the most profound shifts that I’ve noted in those who become more intelligent with age is their rejection of traditional dominance hierarchies. These are systems that place individuals above others based on power, status, or wealth.

When we’re young, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others or striving for external validation. We might seek prestige, wealth, or recognition as a way to prove our worth. But as we grow older and wiser, many of us begin to see the limitations of this approach.

True intelligence isn’t about superiority or dominance over others; it’s about understanding and embracing the inherent dignity and worth of every individual. It’s about cultivating relationships based on mutual respect, empathy, and cooperation.

This shift in perspective is not just an indicator of growing intelligence; it’s also a pathway to a more fulfilling and authentic life. It allows us to move away from competition and towards collaboration – from isolation to connection.

5) Align financial decisions with core values

With age and wisdom, another behavior that tends to emerge among those growing more intelligent is the alignment of their financial decisions with their core values. They understand that prosperity isn’t merely about accumulating wealth but about participating ethically in the economy.

Such individuals see money as a tool for positive change rather than a scorecard of success. They invest in businesses and initiatives that promote social good, contributing to a more just and sustainable future.

This approach challenges the traditional notion of wealth and success. It’s not about how much we own, but how we use what we have to make a positive impact. It’s about realizing that our financial choices have consequences – they can either contribute to inequality and environmental degradation, or they can help build a better world.

If this idea resonates with you and you’re interested in learning more about how to align your financial decisions with your values, I invite you to watch my video where I discuss feeling trapped by the corporate 9-to-5 system.

In this video, I share my personal insights and experiences on breaking free from conventional definitions of success and embracing a life of purpose and authenticity.

6) Nourish authentic relationships

Think back to the things that were important to you 10 years ago, and you’ll probably see a big difference between that and what’s important to you today. The same goes for what will be important to you 10, 20, or 30 years from now. 

Research has found that there’s one thing people start to appreciate more as they get older: relationships. As we age and become wiser, we realize what life is really all about. We understand that our connections with others is not just about going to parties, networking, or superficial interactions to kill time. 

Instead, they’re about genuine understanding, empathy, mutual growth, and shared experiences.

Individuals who go the furthest in their intellectual development are those who consciously invest time and energy into these relationships. They listen actively, show empathy, and offer support. They are not afraid to be vulnerable and express their feelings honestly. They understand that it’s through these deep, meaningful connections that we grow as individuals and find the courage to pursue our dreams.

Moreover, they recognize the importance of diversity in their relationships. They appreciate the different perspectives and experiences that others bring, understanding that this diversity enriches their own understanding of the world. In this way, they continually learn from their relationships, expanding their worldview and enhancing their emotional intelligence.

7) Foster supportive communities

Speaking of relationships, it’s time to zoom out and look at an even bigger picture: communities.

Though it’s trendy to talk about being “self-made” and needing nobody’s help, any intelligent person will tell you about legions of people who helped them along their journey. No matter how much effort you’ve put into something on your own, you can never do it completely by yourself – just by the fact that there are other people cohabiting on the same planet as you. Whether it was a coach that gave instruction and guidance, neighbors that step in when you need them, or friends that offer a listening ear, we all rely on communities of support.

People who grow more intelligent as they age don’t just recognize and appreciate these communities – they actively foster them as well. 

They understand that it’s not just about receiving support but also about offering it to others. In doing so, they create a positive loop of reciprocity that strengthens the entire community.

They also recognize the transformative power of collective action. By coming together in a community, we can achieve things that we could never accomplish on our own. This perspective not only reflects a deep understanding of human interdependence but also a commitment to collective wellbeing and progress.

8) Live in alignment with values

The final behavior commonly found among those who become more intelligent as they age is living in alignment with their values. They are not swayed by societal pressures or fleeting trends. Instead, they are guided by their deepest values and principles.

Living in alignment with our values provides a sense of purpose and direction. It helps us make decisions that feel right for us, even when they go against the grain. Moreover, it fosters integrity, as we live in accordance with what we believe in.

These individuals understand that true success is not about achieving societal benchmarks of success but about staying true to oneself. They strive to contribute their unique gifts in service of something greater than themselves, whether it’s through their work, their relationships, or their engagement with social issues. In doing so, they not only enrich their own lives but also make a meaningful contribution to the world.

The power of conscious choices

As we navigate the complex journey of life, the choices we make significantly shape our intellectual growth. The behaviors we’ve explored are all conscious choices that contribute to our intellectual evolution.

But it’s not just about becoming more intelligent. These behaviors also lead us towards greater authenticity, resilience, and fulfillment. They help us to live in alignment with our deepest values and to contribute positively to the world around us.

So as you reflect on these behaviors, consider how they resonate with your personal journey. Which of these behaviors are already a part of your life? Which ones could you benefit from integrating more fully? The beauty of this journey is that it’s never too late to start. Each day presents a fresh opportunity to make conscious choices that enhance our intelligence and enrich our lives.

In my ongoing exploration of personal growth and conscious living, I delve deeper into these topics and more on my YouTube channel. If these ideas resonate with you and you’re interested in joining an engaged community of individuals committed to living with more purpose and freedom, you’re invited to subscribe here.

Remember, the journey towards becoming more intelligent as we age is not about reaching a destination or ticking off boxes. It’s about embracing a learning mindset, fostering authentic relationships, making conscious decisions, and living in alignment with our values. It’s about evolving into the best version of ourselves while contributing positively to the world around us.

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Justin Brown

Justin Brown is an entrepreneur and thought leader in personal development and digital media, with a foundation in education from The London School of Economics and The Australian National University. As the co-founder of Ideapod, The Vessel, and a director at Brown Brothers Media, Justin has spearheaded platforms that significantly contribute to personal and collective growth. His deep insights are shared on his YouTube channel, JustinBrownVids, offering a rich blend of guidance on living a meaningful and purposeful life.

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