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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

4 Traits of Smart People Who Are Always Getting Smarter

There are plenty of people out there we’d all consider to be highly intelligent—piano prodigies, chess masters, computer hackers, you name it. However, there’s a big difference between having smarts and putting those smarts to good use.

Since you’re a Muse reader, I’ll go ahead and assume you’re very smart. I’ll also assume that you do want to put those smarts to good use. So, how do know if you’re doing that? Quora users weighed in recently with a few common traits:

1. They’re Constantly Seeking Out Knowledge

I practice this habit [of reading a book per week] myself and I can quickly pull random information together from a wide variety of sources which seems to impress people that don't know the trick. The average person reads one book a year. Professionals read more than this but most people do not read a book a week. This habit will take you places.

Nathan Doromal

Sure, you know a lot. But how often are you trying to absorb more? While you certainly don’t need to be reading The Economist cover to cover every week, spending time gathering new information not only makes you more knowledgeable about the world around you, but also reminds you just how much more you have to learn.

2. They’re Likely to Use Their Intelligence to Help Others

[The most intelligent people have] the ability to talk to people on their individual levels to make their intelligence a sharable tool for conversation as well as application.

Donna F. Hammett

Rather than feeling superior when you meet people who don’t understand a concept as well as you do, take the time to teach them. It not only makes you a good person, but it also works a different part of your brain.

3. They’re Curious

[Curiosity] is one of the most common traits of an intelligent mind. Intelligent people let themselves become fascinated by things others take for granted. Their minds are constantly saturated with probing questions about the world around them.

Keyzurbur Alas

Question everything. Rather than being content with what you know, always ask yourself, “What’s around the next corner?” and “What if?” By constantly pushing your mind to new places, you’ll be discovering new things all the time.

4. They’re Able to Think on Their Feet

The highly intelligent have the ability to improvise when everything goes kablooie.

Jim Winer

It’s easy to be the smartest person in the room when everything’s going well. But when everything blows up in your face, how do you persevere? The most promising people in the room possess the ability to get through those tough situations by thinking quickly and putting all their knowledge to good use.

What are other common traits among people who are super intelligent? Let me know on Twitter!