A simple way to see if someone is intelligent is to see if they accept and even welcome mistakes in their life.

No matter how smart you are, you will never know it all. You will never come close. In fact, you will never even know all there is to know within even a single topic or field. And even if you somehow could learn everything, most of what we know today will later be proven incomplete or outright incorrect. Depressing thought? Not really. It is liberating. If you cannot know everything, then neither can anyone else. We are all flawed people, stumbling our way through life, trying to do our best in spite of our limitations.Don’t burden yourself with unrealistic expectations.

Mistakes are OK. Acknowledging that no one is perfect is vital because it frees you to make mistakes. Learning occurs most often when we are struggling, in over our heads, making plenty of mistakes. And mistakes are great because they are a tool of learning. You may feel free to be a perfectionist after you master a topic; but during the learning process, accept and welcome mistakes. They are the agents of education.

Just learn from them. Mistakes are unavoidable, but certainly not fun. No one enjoys screwing up, and sometimes our mistakes can cost us time, money, or status. So we should not be aimlessly making mistakes. Instead, we should evaluate each mistake and learn something from them. That process of self-reflection changes mistakes from negative things into personal investments. Whenever something does not work out the way you wanted, ask yourself what happened, why did it happen, and how can you improve in the future. A mistake journal can be a valuable tool because it makes self-reflection easier. Write down what happened and what you learned. Over time, you will have a journal packed with wisdom.

Intelligent people know this and therefore are comfortable with and even welcoming of mistakes in their life because they know they can learn from them.

They ask you questions.

When you answer, they ask you more.

When you start using big words, they ask for clarification.

When they can’t understand anything you’re saying, they ask for you to explain it to them as if they were a five-year-old.

When you say something intriguing, they write it down in their notebook or phone.

These people are not naturally more intelligent. They’re better learners which makes them more intelligent.

Why do they learn better?

They’re genuinely curious and ask questions from a humble standpoint. I’ve met billionaires who’ve said, “explain it to me as if I were a five-year-old.”

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A simple way to see if someone is intelligent is to see if they accept and even welcome mistakes in their life. No matter how smart you are, you will never know it all. You will never come close. In fact, you will never even know all there is to...