Some Traits Linked to Intelligence

It's hard to claim that "All intelligent people do this or that". This is a list of traits I've found in most of the intelligent people I know.

An answer to “What are the common traits of highly intelligent people?”

A few traits I’ve seen in those I know whom I consider highly intelligent:

  1. Shunning jargon for simple language unless it’s absolutely needed
  2. Communicating concisely in the minimum time / words without compromising on clarity
  3. Willingness to admit they’re wrong and change their mind when presented with reasons to do so.
  4. Ability to entertain an idea and think about it even if it’s completely at variance with their own views.
  5. No ad hominem attacks when you attack their beliefs (Ad hominem: You’re wrong because you’re an idiot).
  6. No argument from authority when trying to convince you (Argument from authority: This is right because a smart guy said so).
  7. Understanding the difference between correlation and causation (You can find a relation between the rate of growth of grass in your yard and your country’s population – doesn’t mean they affect each other)
  8. They reject superficial generalizations –
    1. not all smart people read books, not all smart people are humble, not all smart people are introverts , not all smart people talk about deep philosophical topics (and those who do these may not be smart either)
  9. Choosing for themselves – exercising or not, watching TV or not – based on their values they can make their own choices


Anshuman Tiwari

Thank you Pratyush Sir for this blog, hope these are not proven facts. 😂
By the way, I need some suggestions regarding UPSC preparation. How can I differentiate myself from political debates during preparation, sometimes I find myself stuck between the arguements where my friends trying to justify their points and choosing sides, I try to be factual and diplomatic. But they will always try to drag me down to their ideologies. i.e Left or right.
For eg. If I worship God, then they will put me in Communal category and a right winger but when I respect other religion at the same time they will categorise me as Leftist and Pseudo Secular. Can you please write on this. Because I feel that truth always lies somewhere in the middle not on extremes.


Vineeth’s comment is true – talk doesn’t cook rice.

You seem to care too much what your friends think of you – a righty or lefty or whatever.
You don’t really have to prove anything to them; it’ll only suck your time (something I’ve written in my book Beyond Human). If they’re really your friends they’ll accept you as you are.

Truth being in the middle; being factual and diplomatic aren’t even the main points at hand.

Learn the difference between things that are important and things that aren’t. Winning some random debates or clearing UPSC – which matters more to you?


Sir, how to make notes of current affairs and what is the best source of current affairs?


I’ve written elsewhere.
I used monthly compilations (Insights for prelims, Visions for mains) – didn’t make notes from them.
Notes take up too much time for current affairs in my opinion – if you find them helpful then use them.
I skimmed the papers but didn’t make notes


Do you read newspaper daily and daily current affairs in online platform?

Sushmita Pandey



Sir how should I balance my online classes and preparation? I’m pursuing Masters in Commerce. Online classes are much more hectic than physical classes.


Hi Pratyush !
I’m mesmerised by your writing. I’ve have invested around 2 hours in reading almost all your blogs in middle of night. You convey your thought in lucid & interesting manner.

I’m someone who struggles with putting my thoughts into words. Any suggestions on how to improve on writing?

Secondly, another question that I often ponder upon is- are our thoughts really our own or are they compilation/ amalgamation of ideas borrowed from others’ writing, speech, views etc. ? You like to know your views on it 🙂



I think it comes with practice.
I think of all the boring presentations I’ve sat through and try to not be like that. Imagine whether you’d find whatever you’re putting down interesting enough to read.
And try to make it as simple as possible so a child could get it.

I think very little is really my own. Especially in the sense of “originality” – there’s perhaps nothing new, it’s been penned down somewhere or the other, even if I haven’t come across it. Creating new thoughts is very tough; only a few can manage it.
What’s my own is the choice of accepting / rejecting the thoughts and modifying them to suit me. Again, it’s influenced by other things too – not completely my own either.


Good morning Sir ! Thank you much for your reply… and yup i’ll ask you further doubt . Thnxxxx😇😇😇😇😇


Hey sir


Hey Pratush sir ! I admire you and you are one my ideal. Can i get answer from your side in a doubt question.
In videos you told never watch or read any motivational story or videos then also you reach goal but what about that other person who have watching, reading lots of motivational stotries, books, videos etc then also not able to do perseverance in his deed or study…please answer.
In the hope your reply🙂


I don’t watch because I don’t depend on others for my motivation, I think it should be internal.
The problem you are describing is that you just keep watching motivational videos instead of actually working / studying.
Watch them in moderation if they help; don’t count them as “study / work”

Ask your doubts here, I’d rather not give out my number.


And one more question can i talk with you in a phone call also?😯

Anuradha Tiwari

Should i join coaching for my optional subject?

Anuradha Tiwari

Did you kept away yourself from social media for getting foused?


I don’t use SM as it is.

Ankita Mishra

Hi Pratyush
I read your book “Beyond Human” . Most of the ideas resonate with my line of thought too. A lot to think about and practice. Thank you so much.
I still have a doubt though ,what to do when faced with self doubt specially in case you fail your own expectations . It gets tough to accept it as it is (opposite of amor fati I guess).


I don’t know.
I face that many times. I don’t think I’m the only one.
I try to focus on
1- What, if anything can i do about the problem I’m thinking of
2- What’s the worst that could happen?

Doesn’t solve the issue completely but it does help me move on.

Navin Kumar

All the points are great but the sixth seems Great than the greatest


Please explain the 6th and 4th one, anyone!