If you ask someone on the street what the most important character trait is, you will receive more than a few different answers.

While some would speculate that being generous towards others is prevailing, others will state that intelligence should come first. The answer pretty much depends on the subjective nature of the group of people you’ve chosen to ask the question to.

Nevertheless, new research conducted by professor Mark Leary from Duke University in relation to Psychology and Neuroscience shows that there might be a character trait shared by the most intelligent people in the world. According to him, the most important character trait, by a significant margin, is being aware.

“If you think about what’s been wrong in Washington for a long time, it’s a whole lot of people who are very intellectually arrogant about the positions they have, on both sides of the aisle,” Leary stated in his new research.

The study focused on people with different political views

The study itself was performed with regard to the growing diversity in the political opinions in the United States. Comparing results from people on both sides of the political spectrum, the research showed conclusive results that both liberals and conservatives are prone to intellectual humility.

“But even in interpersonal relationships, the minor squabbles we have with our friends, lovers and co-workers are often about relatively trivial things where we are convinced that our view of the world is correct and their view is wrong,” Leary further added.

“There are stereotypes about conservatives and religiously conservative people being less intellectually humble about their beliefs. We didn’t find a shred of evidence to support that.”

Published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin science journal, the study revealed that those who are intellectually humble have a better ability to assess the evidence presented to them. What’s more, people who are more aware, have a tendency to be able to stick to their once established principles, thus expressing more integrity.

While the research is not necessarily a statement towards how people should be more aware, it does show a significant relation to the intellectual humility of people and their stance on political issues.

With no difference between both conservatives and liberals, people who were more intellectually humble showed a better understanding and evaluation of the evidence they were presented with. They also were far more likely to not be judgmental but rather understanding without “flip-flopping” on the political issues at hand.

“If you’re sitting around a table at a meeting and the boss is very low in intellectual humility, he or she isn’t going to listen to other people’s suggestions. Yet we know that good leadership requires broadness of perspective and taking as many perspectives into account as possible,” professor Leary explained further in his research.

Why this character trait is important

Leary himself has been conducting similar research throughout the year, focusing on people’s need to belong in relation to their overall happiness and feelings of accomplishment in life. According to him, our self-esteem is directly related to our self-presentation and ability to better evaluate ourselves and our identities.

Combined with his new findings, his professional statement provides deeper insight into what we should focus on in our personal growth in order to have a more persistent notion towards our developmental happiness.

That being said, regardless of what side of the political spectrum you are on, exposing yourself to facts is a process through which you can work towards building your fundamental awareness of yourself and others around you, which in turn might bring you more happiness.

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