12 Hard Things Smart People Make Look Easy

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How smart are you?

No, I’m not asking what your grades were in high school or whether you are a member of Mensa.

Being smart is more than that. Yes, your general IQ plays a part, but it’s also about how emotionally and socially intelligent you are, your common sense, your ability to actually utilize your talents, and more.

Smart people make things that the rest of us find really quite challenging look easy.

If you’re wondering whether you are smart in the most rounded sense of the word, ask how many of these things apply to you.

1. They Seek Lessons And Learn Them

We are given many opportunities to learn lessons each day. Smart people recognize them when they appear and make sure to soak them up.

They then draw upon this bank of experience to adjust the way they act in future.

This allows them to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again – something many of us often do to our detriment.

2. They Are Decisive

To be or not to be – that’s not the only question.

Whatever choices they are faced with, smart people are good at making them quickly and with conviction.

They don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis, nor do they shy away from taking the decisions entirely – a tactic many of us are guilty of.

Whether with their head or with their heart, they will look at the potential options and decide upon one, knowing that action is almost always better than inaction.

It relieves worry and frees up their unconscious mind for other things.

3. They Accept The Uncertainty Of Life

Not only are smart people good at taking decisions, they also accept that the outcomes of those decisions – and of life – have a degree of uncertainty.

The unknown doesn’t hold the same fear for them as it does for many others, and they are prepared to take educated risks in order to achieve things.

They have learned to surrender control and let go of any expectations they might have for the future. Yes, they plan ahead, but they do not despair when those plans go awry.

4. They Admit When They Are Wrong

We are imperfect creatures and we all make mistakes whether we like to admit them or not.

Smart people aren’t afraid to put their hands up when they get something wrong. It provides another of the lessons we talked about earlier.

They certainly don’t dig their heels in and protest their innocence as is common with a lot of people, bound so tightly to their egos.

They acknowledge their wrongdoing and either try to put it right or apologize to anyone who was hurt by their actions.

5. They Forgive Freely

Speaking of wrongdoing, when a smart person is on the receiving end, they are quick to let go of any toxic emotions that may result.

Anger, revenge, shame, betrayal… these and other feelings are processed, accepted, and then left to dissolve. They are not left to fester and multiply.

They understand that forgiveness is most important for the person doing the forgiving, not the person who has caused the hurt.

This doesn’t mean they forget so easily – they learn from these experiences much like they do any other, as we discussed in point one.

6. They Adapt Their Beliefs

Smart people are flexible in so many respects. They recognize that most things are a matter of opinion and not fact; that the world is built on a foundation of subjectivity.

From this understanding comes a willingness to adapt and evolve as they journey through life. They don’t fight against the process through some misguided idea that changing one’s beliefs makes one weak or easily swayed.

It is even possible for them to do a complete 180 if new evidence is presented or compelling arguments are made.

They aren’t so stubborn as to believe the views they hold now are definitive and correct.

7. They Focus On Solutions, Not Problems

Many people have a tendency to dwell on the problems they face. They get stuck on the events that led to them into the mess in the first place.

Not smart people.

They are solution oriented and care more about how they are going to get out of a predicament than how they go into it.

Of course, once the episode has passed, they will consider the lessons they can learn as per point number one.

8. They Think Outside The Box

When coming up with solutions, smart people are great at thinking way outside the box.

They come at things from different angles, they step into other people’s shoes to get their perspective, they take ideas from wholly unrelated areas of life and work out ways to apply them to the problem they face.

They are the innovators, the forward-thinkers, the creative sparks that light the fires of progress.

9. They Stay Positive

When things go wrong, it can be easy to wallow in self-pity and bemoan your luck. We’ve all been there.

Smart people, however, are good at shaking off the negative talk. As we’ve discussed, they look for solutions, and they learn the lessons.

They rarely, if ever, catastrophize a situation and let the dark clouds linger overhead for long. They are calm under pressure and quick to accept their reality before moving forward.

10. They Frame Their Flaws Wisely

We all have aspects of our character or personality that we wish to change – flaws if you will. Typically, we address these flaws as major negatives and beat ourselves up over them.

Smart people, on the other hand, look at their flaws in a more positive light. They frame them as areas for improvement and the language they use reflects this.

Instead of, “I am very forgetful,” they may say, “My memory could use some work.”

This makes it clear that things can get better with hard work and effort, rather than surrendering to the perceived inevitability of something which can’t be changed.

11. They Take The High Ground

Smart people understand that immature, infantile behavior is not conducive to a happy and successful life.

So, when someone resorts to personal jibes, point-scoring, gossip, or other acts that seek to undermine them, they respond with dignity and calm.

They don’t play the sorts of games that many might. They resist the urge to counter-attack, knowing that escalation will only worsen the situation.

They are not afraid to enforce their boundaries and drop people from their circles if they need to, but they do so with compassion and forgiveness.

12. They Will Say ‘No’

For some people, ‘no’ is the most difficult word to say. The expectation these days is typically to receive a positive reply to a proposition, but this leaves many doing things that they don’t enjoy and later regret.

Smart people have no such problems. The word ‘no’ is very much a part of their vocabulary and they are not afraid to use it.

They understand that real relationships involve honesty and being able to make your wishes clear to the other person without feeling bad about it.

Remember, the word ‘smart’ doesn’t just denote intellectual abilities – it encompasses all different types of intelligence. Being smart is not only about what you’ve got between your ears, it’s about how you use it.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.