There’s a big difference between having smarts and putting those smarts to good use. There are plenty of people out there we would all consider to be highly intelligent—piano prodigies, chess masters, computer hackers, you name it.
How do you know if you’re putting your smarts in to good use? Here are a few common traits to identify it with quotes from a few Quora users.
* 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.
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: 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 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.
* 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 will be discovering new things all the time.
* 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 is 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.