It is often the case that complex traits such as intelligence are very hard to define. But it is also true that there are “proxy” signs that we can all pick up on. One recurring sign of intelligence for me is “intentionality”. I’ve found in my experience that intelligent people are highly intentional. Look at the minute design decisions made by business greats such as Steve Jobs. They leave nothing ambiguous. They demand high standards. There is no “whatever” in an intelligent’s person vocabulary. Intelligent, focused individuals know that whatever decision one doesn’t make will get made for them. And so, they are decisive!
Go pick up a great book by someone really smart. You’ll note how each word is there for a reason! Read Stephen Hawking; you’ll notice each sentence is as long as is has to be to clearly convey meaning; not a word too few or too many. Look at great artists: there is no stroke of paint that shouldn’t be there. Look at great dancers: there is not a body gesture that isn’t intended. Intelligence is creativity. Creativity is intention. It is inspiration in the form of a tunnel vision that pulls great men towards great achievements. There is no ambiguity of purpose, no hesitation, no faking, no indifference.
Lastly, look at the post picture and ponder Buckminster Fuller’s pose – does he look like an intentional guy to you?