Admitedly I only read a few of the top answers, but I couldn't take it any more. These answers described we're characteristics of high achievement individuals... Not necessarily those with high intelligence. Success is a red herring. People of average and even below average intelligence can be very successful and those with high intelligence can be total disasters driven to compulsive and destructive behaviors by the many detriments that so often come with their "gifts".... the label in education circles is called "twice-exceptional" and comes as things like high IQ+learning disability (e.g. Einstein was reportedly Dyslexic). Yes there can be a correlation between high intelligence and the drive for achievement but high intellectual capacity does not assure achievement (the kid that sits in the front of the class and answers every question is not necessarily the smartest in the room) determine motivation (any genX slackers out there that didn't "perform up to their potential"?) or curiosity. In fact quite the opposite can be just as true. Intelligence is not correlated with self motivation. Think about those folks you've encountered who are the smartest people you've ever met... Are they the most successful? Were they the valedictorian of every class they were in? Probably not. Also, extreme intelligence will show in many forms... The gregarious polymath... The hyper focused but socially ill equipped genius, etc. There is no one good answer. Also think about the brilliant criminal, the sociopath/psychopath and those who suffer psychological illness such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder... Strong correlations there with above average intelligence. and never dismiss the power of hard work. The number 1 predictor of success beyond intelligence is tenacity... or as its popular to call it now, grit. Intelligence helps, but hard work and determination are much stronger predictors of achievement And you will usually call those folks "smart". Donald Trump springs to mind... Focused, aggressive, determined and successful without a doubt... But I don't expect his intelligence to be much beyond average.