15 things smart people always do (but never talk about)

When you think of highly intelligent people, a specific type of personality probably comes to mind.

People who know facts about everything, or can solve complex mathematical equations with ease.

But the truth is, intelligence is so much more than that.

Intelligence consists of many different facets, such as intellectual, social, and emotional.

Intelligent people tend to be flexible in their thinking, can adapt to changes, manage their emotions, and think before they act.

If you think you might be an intelligent person, then you’ll relate to these things intelligent people always do.

1. They’re Thirsty For Information

We all know this. Smart people have a deep thirst for knowledge. They have the drive to remain informed.

Where others would find reading boring and tedious, smart people would find nothing but joy in it.

The more information they take in and process, the more colorful their mental landscape becomes.

They’re often glued to books and newspapers, keeping themselves up to date or otherwise just immersing themselves in another person’s world.

In their free time, expect them to listen to podcasts, watch the news, read books, watch documentaries, listen to debates, and talk to others who have a lot of things to share.

2. They’re Not Easily Swayed, But Also Not Stubborn

Smart people think more than most.

They can sit by themselves quietly for hours.

After all, they’ve got an endless number of questions and problems to think about in their head, and they like doing it.

This means they are very careful with the opinions and stances they take.

They don’t let a Facebook post or social media propaganda shape their worldview for them,

They understand the importance of viewing issues from multiple angles.

Their opinions are built on rock-solid foundations, based on what they know and what they’ve thought about.

However, that doesn’t mean you can never convince a smart person otherwise.

When presented with the proper facts and logic, they know not to be stubborn and prefer the truth over their own feelings.

3. They Learn From Their Mistakes And Experiences

The world is incredibly complex, and it’s impossible to be right about everything.

A smart person is always looking to get better, and that means learning from their mistakes.

After all, learning from mistakes and failures is how they became so wise in the first place.

A smart person doesn’t associate their ego with their opinions, which is why they can easily say, “I was wrong”.

They can admit that something they once believed in is now wrong because they have more evidence and proof.

4. They set clear goals and actually achieve them

Smart people set clear goals they can actually achieve. They always keep their purpose at the front of their mind.

It can be easy to lose focus on the bigger picture when you’re getting caught up in the stresses of everyday work.

That’s why smart people learn they need to regularly step back and assess the quality of their progress so far and how it aligns with their larger goals.

This is how they turn their goals and dreams into reality.

5. They’re Not Fond of Small Talk

While smart people are generally patient, they quickly get bored of talking without any real substance— that is, small talk.

They need to be able to glean something interesting from the conversation, something to stimulate their mind.

Thus, when they get nothing absolutely interesting when they tune in, they feel like their time is being wasted and will want nothing more than to get out of there and look for something that’s actually worth their time.

To them, why sit around talking about the weather or the color of your fingernails when you can instead talk about the fact that birds are actually dinosaurs or discuss the latest news in-depth.

6. They Are Open-Minded

A smart person understands all perspectives without letting bias or emotions get in the way.

This means accepting that there are always two sides to a story, and realizing that everyone has good reasons for thinking the way they do.

This is why a smart person will take a step back and look at the overall picture before making an opinion.

7. They Don’t Assume They’re Always Right

A smart person isn’t dogmatic with their opinion.

They’re not aggressive, demanding that you follow everything they have to say.

They know that life is too complex to assume they’re always right.

They don’t assume they are the best person in the room.

As Socrates said, “the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

When they address a problem, they approach it from multiple different perspectives.

A smart person listens more than talks, evaluates more than acts, and collaborates instead of dictates.

8. Their Observational Skills Are Amazing

Have you ever felt like you’re just a step ahead of everyone else when it comes to observing and noticing the world around you?

You see things before other people do.

You notice when something has been moved in a room.

You can tell the small differences between one day and another.

And you can figure out movies and shows long before your peers can.

Observation is a skill, and deep people practice this skill unintentionally while being themselves.

They don’t have the day-to-day social drama of their friends and colleagues distracting them — either because they’re not part of those circles or they just don’t care.

Their minds think about other things, even if those other things are as trivial as the number of dots on their walls, the stripes on their ceilings, or whatever else they may see or hear.

9. They Love Books

Reading is one of their favorite pastimes.

It’s hard to say what comes first — do smart people naturally like reading, or does reading make people smart — but regardless, they have always had a significant relationship with books.

They might have read tons as a kid, and as an adult, they might no longer read as much as they once did, but they still read more than most people around.

And it’s the perfect hobby for a smart person — immersing yourself in another world without caring about anyone around you and learning about things you never knew about.

Smart people know they’ll always have a connection with books and not a superficial one where they take pictures of book covers to post on Instagram, but a real one that will always draw them back to their favorite bookstore, no matter how long ago they finished their last book.

10. They Love Solving Problems

Where other people see walls, smart people see opportunities to innovate.

Problems aren’t obstacles; they’re challenges, temporary roadblocks that simply require some thinking.

They’ve always had a knack for figuring out things that stumped their peers.

They think from different perspectives, and know-how to “zoom out” and see the forest for the trees in ways most people can’t.

In fact, solving problems might be their full-time career.

Smart people are good at solving problems because they can think in new and unexpected ways, figuring out solutions others never realized were possible.

11. The Few Relationships They Have Are Truly Deep and Meaningful

Smart, introverted individuals don’t need the external validation and social structures that other people might crave.

Whereas some people might rely on regular interaction with multiple people in their lives, finding new best friends in everything they throw themselves in headfirst, deep thinkers naturally keep a distance from everyone around them.

Not necessarily because they dislike people, but because they don’t really need the socializing and the extra stress of adding more people to their lives.

Instead, smart people prefer to have fewer relationships that they keep for a lifetime; truly meaningful relationships, friends they know will stick with them forever, and significant others whom they will never replace.

12. They Like To Plan

Even if it amounts to nothing in the end, smart people like to plan.

They could be making roadmaps for a project they had been thinking of for a while or simply organizing how they want their year to go.

These plans have a tendency to get somewhat meticulous too, almost excessively so.

Given how smart thinkers tend to be forgetful and somewhat messy, however, their plans can go haywire or simply get lost unless they’re especially careful.

13. They’re Socially Awkward

Sometimes knowing too much while caring little for conversation that does not give new information or ideas makes it hard to relate to others.

Add to that a dislike for following the herd and you can begin to understand why smart people just don’t jive with other people.

People, in general, like to follow trends and stay in touch with conversations that smart thinkers generally dislike.

This means that despite giving things a lot of thought, they end up having a hard time relating to other people.

14. They Care About Their Word

At the end of the day, a promise is just a couple of words strung together.

You don’t have to do the things you say you’ll do, especially if there’s no real consequence (for yourself).

But a smart person won’t renege on what they say.

Their thoughts are important to them, which means their integrity is important to them.

Their sense of self is strong, and they have to respect their sense of self to feel right with themselves. If you care about integrity, if you care about your words, especially when nothing else is at stake besides your own promise — then you might be a smart person.

15. They Are Cool, Calm, And Collected

A smart person doesn’t get overly emotional in stressful situations.

They realize that it doesn’t do them any good.

After all, time spent worrying is usually wasted time.

A smart person takes a step back, reflects on the challenging situation, and then acts in the most effective way possible.

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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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