I have always been fascinated by successful people, especially those who have consistently maintained, and even grown, their success over time. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney are all examples of this kind of cumulative, consistent success. It takes many things to create this kind of fulfillment in our lives and it isn’t just skill, an impressive resume, or a degree from the best school.
Recently I came across a list of the 7 traits that intelligent people embody. I found them to be incredibly valuable and I wanted to share them here:
- Don’t get easily offended
- Read more than they talk
- Enjoy intelligent discourse
- Quickly admit when they are wrong
- Comfortable changing their opinion
- Surround themselves with intelligence
- Seek to understand every perspective on a topic
While we can agree that they are all virtuous, they are also challenging. For example, we all might agree that it’s great to read more than we speak but how easy it that to adhere to? Being comfortable changing opinions is something we might applaud in others but it isn’t so simple when we’re the ones making the adjustment.
The common thread for all seven of these traits, to me, can be summed up as such: Less Ego, More Consciousness.
Only an ego gets offended. Only an ego adopts a static perspective. It is our ego that doesn’t want to change its mind. An ego doesn’t want to be around people that are “smarter,” it doesn’t want to be challenged in discourse, and it only wants to know the most on any subject, leaving no room for growth.
None of these virtuous characteristics are possible when we are coming from ego.
Consciousness creates intelligence. Consciousness never stands firm in its own righteousness, it is malleable, flexible, and always expanding. Our consciousness has no interest in “being right,” it seeks simply to “be.” Our consciousness is unlimited, therefore it has no use for staying put, it can’t ever be offended or harmed, and, when we direct it in positive, kind ways, works only to better every situation.
Notice how I said, “when we direct it.”
The mark of an intelligent person is knowing the difference between coming from ego and coming from a consciousness of positivity. The best part is that we are in control. Using this list, if we reverse those traits we now have a roadmap, a list of signals that alert us to when we are in ego.
- Getting easily offended.
- Always talking, never listening or learning.
- Not being open to diverse conversation.
- Never admitting fault.
- Refusing to change an opinion.
- Surrounding themselves with the same people.
- Only being interested in their point of view.
Reading these you might recoil a bit. That doesn’t describe anyone we would want to know, let alone be, yet we are all prone to these from time-to-time.
Our souls’ primary purpose is to grow. We will always be led to places, relationships, and circumstances that assist us in that growth. But ego loves to get in the way. The kabbalists teach that ego, in all of its forms, arises from the Negative Side to hinder that growth. To keep us small and stagnant. Our work is to connect to the Positive Side, to our consciousness, and our Light no matter what the outer picture looks like. When we feel ourselves coming from ego, we can use it as a nudge to activate our “intelligence” and redirect our consciousness to focus on goodness, openness, and kindness.
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
How many of these 7 traits do you think you embody? This week, apply those traits as often as you can. And watch out for their opposites.
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