Habits of Smart People

 Habits of Smart People

While the word ‘smart’ is incredibly tricky to define and pin down, a commonly used measure of intelligence is the Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Recently when the lives of people with unusually high IQs from history were analyzed for patterns, it was found that they all had a lot of habits in common. Here are a few good ones.
You’ve heard the many proverbs that preach persistence: ‘Try and try until you succeed’, ‘Failures are stepping stones to success’ etc. A common vision of a genius is that they sit down in deep thought, and ten minutes later emerge with a world-changing idea. Well, hardly. Intelligent people show the quality of persistence more than average people.
Goal Setting
Behavioural psychologists agree that to achieve your goals, they must be written, well-defined and time bound. All the intelligent people of our day – the Einsteins and the Beethovens – first set goals, then went about achieving them.
The habit of reading is said to improve your communication, your memory and your problem-solving skills. It will make you a better thinker and a better empathizer. All of that will definitely push your IQ a few notches higher. All you need to do is spend an hour a day with a book. Do you not think it’s worth it?
Metacognition is the art of thinking about thinking, or knowing about knowing. Many of the most intelligent people in history were deeply inward-looking people, always turning around things in their heads, figuring things out, arguing with themselves. As a result they developed deep knowledge of knowledge itself, and they became self-aware.
Intelligent people tend to drink more than average. This is perhaps not surprising, because a genius is generally pictured with a bottle of alcohol in his hand. Why this must be is hard to tell: perhaps they despair because they suffer from not being accepted by the world?
Night Owls
They sleep late and work long into the night – another trait that is commonly associated with geniuses. A possible reason for this could be that since geniuses tend to be introverted, they make a habit of living by artificial light, and therefore allow their body cycles to shift to a nocturnal rhythm.
In a 2012 study it was found that there is a higher representation of geniuses among anxiety patients than predicted by chance. One possible reason for this is that geniuses typically spend an inordinate amount of time doing one thing, therefore their all-round development suffers. This could lead to them experiencing anxiety when they’re faced with situations in which they know they’re incompetent.
In saying all this, we must keep in mind that fundamental statistical axiom: correlation does not imply causation. Just because you geniuses act a certain way, acting a certain way will not make you a genius. But of course, my imbibing some of the good habits that geniuses display – like goal-setting and reading – the rest of us can also hope to reach our potential in our chosen vocations.

Amit Batra

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