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What Makes a Smart Person So… Smart?

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Summary: What exactly makes a smart person so smart? Explore what intelligence is, how to become more intelligent, and how to think faster.

We all know smart people. Perhaps, we find ourselves to be quite smart, as well.

So, what exactly makes a smart person so… Smart?

Is it their ability to rapidly calculate seemingly impossible equations? Is it their ability to remember a large group of people’s names? To engineer something new? To understand and predict the behavior of people around them? Or to win at Trivia every Thursday? To comprehend the abstract? To create?

What is it?

In this article, we will explore the varying definitions of intelligence, how to become more intelligent, and how to think faster.

What Is a Smart Person?

What is a smart person? This question has puzzled scientists for years… So much so that there has never been a single, agreed-upon definition of a smart person and intelligence. This is because, unlike discovering the neural networks involved with processes like memory and emotions, there isn’t a solid consensus as to what ultimately defines intelligence. We aren’t quite sure what you look for.

“Smart person” means many different things to many different people.

For that, there is no one answer. However, there are popularly agreed-upon answers. For instance, it is commonly accepted that there are, indeed, multiple kinds of intelligence and types of smart people with it: linguistic, analytical, and emotional (to name a few)… And that these varying types of intelligence don’t necessarily have to be linked — a smart person can be very emotionally intelligent, but lack analytical intelligence.

Here’s what a few of the most considerably smart people in history have to say:

I know that I am intelligent because I know that I know nothing.

— Socrates

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

— Albert Einstein

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

— Stephen Hawking

Webster’s dictionary cleverly defines intelligence as follows:


1 a: The ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations. b: The ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)

2: mental acuteness.

How Can I Become Extremely Smart?

How Can I Become Extremely Smart?

Even without having a clear definition of precisely what it is, we still have a few tricks up our sleeves as to how to increase intelligence. Here are just a few of those tricks.

Surround yourself with smart people

It is said that you are the sum of the 5 people that are surrounded by the most. So, who do you think is smart in your life? The more you are around smart people (or, at least people you consider to be smart based off of your own personal definition), the more intellect you will pick up and absorb.

Practice mindfulness

Want to know how to be smarter? Practice mindfulness, you will impress yourself.

According to an insightful article in Psychology Today, “Researchers found that a brief period of mindfulness allowed people to make more rational decisions by considering the information available in the present moment, which led to more positive outcomes in the future.”

Just one more reason to adore mindfulness!

Invite novelty

In order to strengthen your brain’s ability to create new neural pathways, it is important to continuously invite new information and experiences into your life.

As well, visit new places! Whether this means taking a new route to work, going to a new restaurant, or experiencing a new country and culture. Newness and a feeling of displacement are surprisingly great for your brain.


This is a fun one. Regular exercise increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in your brain and blood, which promotes the growth, strength, and formation of new neurons.

Read more fiction

This tip teaches you how to be smarter in a more unconventional way — it increases your emotional intelligence (EQ). This is because people who read fiction tend to better understand and empathize with different people and worldviews because they have been deep inside the heads of many characters apart from their own.

Never stop learning

Never stop learning! Your brain is very neuroplastic and will continue to absorb new information your entire life. The more it is exposed to new information, the easier absorbing the information becomes, training your brain to build new neural pathways and connections dramatically increases your intelligence.

There is never a time in a smart person’s life when they stop learning.

What Are the Qualities of a Smart Person?

It is commonly understood that a smart person has neurons that fire at a much more rapid pace than the average person. For that, we are also going to tell you what are the qualities of a smart person and provide you with a few tips on how to think faster.

  • A smart person should know how to speed read
  • Give him/herself positive affirmations that remind them of their quick-thinking ability
  • Trust their instincts — don’t mull over ideas too much
  • Practice improvisation or “thinking on your feet”
  • Chew gum (to increase concentration)
  • Never resist a yawn, a brain really wants that extra oxygen
  • Get more vitamin D
  • Stay curious
  • Read a book a week
  • Stay excited to learn new information
  • Pair deep thinking with physical exercise
  • Minimize multitasking
  • Play these brain games
  • Listen carefully
  • Take deep breaths
  • Relax your mind, and let the information flow (it loves to flow)

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