Individual perception of intelligence can influence personality traits.
If you consider yourself smart, you are more likely to invest in yourself and pursue knowledge.
If you don’t, this assumption can act as a barrier to personal and academic achievement.
You are less likely to accept challenging tasks and more likely to avoid learning opportunities.
But what happens when intelligence and arrogance go hand in hand?
It turns out that this belief also affects your behavior.
People who believe they are more intelligent than others often have these 7 personality traits.
While some of them encourage your ambitions, others hold you back.
1) Feeling of superiority
One of the most noticeable traits in someone who believes they are more intelligent than others is a sense of superiority.
When you think that everyone else is inferior, you are one step away from becoming condescending.
This attitude negatively affects your personal and professional relationships.
Look: know-it-alls are boring.
I had a classmate in college who believed he was the smartest in our class and acted like it.
He would always point out that others were wrong.
He would offer unmotivated opinions, disrupting the flow of the lesson.
When we had to do group projects, he wouldn’t accept suggestions from anyone else, so we were forced to follow his lead.
It lasted until our first set of the final.
When we got the results and – surprise! – he wasn’t the best in everything, he experienced a brutal reality check.
To his credit, he adjusted his behavior and became less unpleasant to be around.
In turn, this made him more popular.
As his arrogance dissipated and he realized that others had much to offer, the rest of us no longer avoided him or feared his company.
I got to know him a little, and he admitted that his upbringing greatly influenced his sense of superiority.
Growing up, his parents constantly praised him for being intelligent and protected him from failure.
When he moved away for college and their influence waned, he realized that he was not really the Lord’s gift to humanity.
Treating others with condescension discourages them from sharing their ideas.
More, condescending people they don’t make particularly good company.
Don’t be that guy.
On the other hand, believing you are more intelligent but others can inspire ambition.
Knowing that you are smart usually leads to higher aspirations and a drive to achieve.
You are likely to pursue advanced education and embark on challenging careers.
Your confidence also pushes you to take on innovative projects and try new things.
Self-confidence affects us more than it might seem at first glance, considering confident people are more successful in all areas of life.
Your belief can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The grader I mentioned in the previous point realized that his belief was unfounded and had to adjust his expectations.
That doesn’t always happen.
As you engage in more intellectual activities and witness the fruits of your efforts, it strengthens your belief in your intelligence.
This positive feedback loop then propels you further down the path of personal and intellectual development.
In other words, you embody the philosophy of faking it until you make it without even realizing it.
Which, let’s be honest, is pretty cool.
3) The need for validation
Individuals who believe they are more intelligent than others may have elevated the need for external validation.
If you only suspect that you are intellectually superior, you seek confirmation of your intelligence at every step.
You feel compelled to show off your knowledge and accomplishments as often as possible to see if others value you as highly as you do.
This desire for external validation masks an underlying insecurity and comes with drawbacks:
- You risk becoming dependent on other people’s opinions for your sense of self-worth
- You end up prioritizing shallow relationships based on external validation over genuine relationships
- You conform to behavior aimed at gaining approval and do not express your true self
- You experience anxiety, stress and even emotional burnout
Moreover, being subject to external validation also makes you overly sensitive to criticism.
This brings me to my next point.
4) Difficulties in accepting criticism
Criticism is hard for people who think they are above others.
They see it as a challenge to their intellect.
Instead see feedback as an opportunity to learn, they become defensive or dismissive.
They use their intelligence as a shield against recognizing areas for development.
When you think you know everything, you don’t look for evidence to prove you’re wrong.
I was fluent in internet marketing in the nascent days of social media.
I worked in a related field and was passionate about the subject. I went to conferences and read books about the industry.
When I changed jobs, my passion disappeared, but I still thought I knew a lot.
I would look down on courses and seminars on the subject, considering them a waste of time.
When marketers complained about ever-changing trends, I dismissed them as dramatic.
You know where this is going. Social media moves fast.
So fast, in fact, that my knowledge became obsolete about two minutes after I stopped following.
Fast forward a few years, when an acquaintance asked me for advice on how to promote a project.
I was convinced that I could help. At least I had the foresight to do some research and see what was new.
To my horror, I discovered that everything I thought I knew had become useless.
And up until that point, I was still acting smug because how hard can it really be to write a Facebook ad?
The whole time the joke was on me.
People who often believe that they are more intelligent than others have a competitive streak.
This competitiveness can be manifested in different aspects of life:
- During their school years, they are pushed to outperform their peers, seeking validation through high grades and academic achievement
- In professional fields, the competitive nature of individuals who believe they are more intelligent makes them actively seek leadership roles or positions that demonstrate their expertise, wanting to come out on top
- In casual settings, this competitive streak manifests as a need to demonstrate knowledge or start debates to highlight intellectual prowess
While competitiveness can be a driving force for success, it can also make you underestimate joint efforts and see others less as peers and more as rivals.
It’s there kind of like too competitiveand it’s not all about rainbows and butterflies.
On a more positive note, believing in your intelligence increases motivation.
As long as you manage to strike a balance between confidence and humilityyou can use this belief to your advantage.
When you believe in your intellectual abilities, you are more likely to dive headfirst into new endeavors, overcome obstacles, and persevere in the face of adversity.
You have an excellent chance to develop a true love of learning, which will benefit you greatly in the long run.
People who want to expand their horizons retain mental agility and are more adaptable.
Furthermore, a curious mindset fosters openness, improved problem-solving skills, and personal satisfaction.
Not too shabby.
Finally, people who believe they are more intelligent than others prone to perfectionism.
They want to maintain an image of intellectual superiority, so they set unrealistically high expectations for themselves.
From personal experience, the pressure to excel becomes exhausting sooner rather than later.
The need to maintain a facade of perfection prevents you from trying new things that might bother you and from showing others your authenticity, your flaws.
As humans, we are far from perfect – but our flaws and mistakes are what make life so interesting.
Our failures are powerful catalysts for personal growth.
If everything was perfect all the time, boredom would become the norm.
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to live a perfect life.
It can’t be done.
To be trustworthy in your intellectual abilities it is fantastic until your confidence turns into arrogance.
When this happens, you eventually realize that thinking you know best is stunting your growth.
Only by connecting with others with different strengths can you improve.
A little humility equals a lot of perspective.