Over the course of our series on the habits of the world’s smartest people, we’ve discussed a number of habits, both positive and negative. On the plus side, those who are highly intelligent live intentional lives and never succumb to laziness and its accompanying mistakes. On the down side, the world’s smartest people are also highly prone to addictive behaviors that can lead to the destruction of their personal lives even as they maintain successful careers. With this post, we offer an overview of the big picture lessons you can draw from our series on the world’ smartest people.
As we have seen throughout this series, the world’s smartest people have a wide variety of positive attributes. Those who are highly intelligent are goal-setters and avid readers. They also have self-discipline, and they are self-aware about their own knowledge. Highly intelligent people are also open-minded, and they are able to admit when they are wrong.
Most importantly, the world’s smartest people are hard workers who approach everything they do with the utmost enthusiasm and determination. Overall, these people live their lives with intention, which means that they know what they want, and they go for it.
Unfortunately, intelligence does have a downside. While the world’s smartest people have many positive habits, they are also at risk for a number of negative habits and attributes. Research shows that intelligent children are much more likely than their peers to both drink and do drugs as adults. Those with high IQs are much more likely to binge drink at a greater frequency. Furthermore, boys with an IQ higher than 107 are 2 times more likely to use illegal drugs than their peers, whereas girls with the same IQ are at an even higher risk – 3 times that of their peers.
Another negative habit of the highly intelligent is poor sleep patterns. Those with higher IQs are much more likely to go to sleep later, leading to sleep deprivation. In turn, sleep deprivation increases your risk for depression, heart disease, and obesity. Finally, the world’s smartest people are also more at risk for anxiety. A 2012 study found that a higher IQ is correlated with generic anxiety disorder, which can also lead to depression as well as neuroticism and smoking.
What can we take away from these facts about the habits of the highly intelligent? Essentially, being among the world’s smartest comes with a price. While those who are highly intelligent are capable of succeeding in their careers, negative habits can yield the opposite results in their personal lives. However, as long as highly intelligent people continue to be self-aware and take charge of their personal lives, they can prevent themselves from developing such negative habits.