Schools are encouraged to use these as a starting point for their own discussions regarding which aspects of intellectual character they want to target. The following copyright notice should be included when using these in any resources that are created:

The Future-Smart ® School. Copyright © C J Simister 2011


The capacity to cooperate and work productively with other people, to pool talents and build collective solutions; to know when to seek help from and when to support other people; to judge effectively when to speak up and when to compromise.

C J Simister defines intellectual character using the following 14 Future-Smart® dispositions:


An eagerness to ask questions and to explore beyond what is merely required; to be investigative and observant; to notice, discover, learn and understand new things


An intrinsic motivation to take responsibility for shaping one’s development and future; the drive to go the extra mile and put in the effort required; a desire to aim high and set clear goals and a willingness to be strategic, conscientious & practical in determining how these will be achieved.


A willingness to listen to others, to value and to try to understand their position, feelings and points of view.

Flexibility of Mind

A readiness to be open-minded, to recognise alternative perspectives and welcome novel ideas and viewpoints; to adjust one’s beliefs and change one’s mind in the light of new evidence and arguments.


The willingness to be careful, accurate and thorough, to pay attention to detail and avoid needless mistakes, to concentrate and become absorbed in what one is doing; the self-control to regulate behaviour and maintain direction when short-term instincts conflict with longer-term goals.

Good Judgement

The ‘stop and think’ factor; a desire to avoid gullibility, to use reason and think critically; a readiness to assess options carefully and think about the value of ideas and information before deciding who and what to believe and what to do in different situations.


A willingness to be independently-minded, to think ahead and work things out for oneself; to be resourceful, to organise oneself well and not rely on others to be told what to do.


The instinct to visualise; to make connections; to be creative with one’s thoughts rather than to think within conventional boundaries; to think laterally to generate novel ideas and solve tricky problems; the courage to stand by one’s ideas when needed.


The grit and determination to stick with it when situations are challenging and to recognise the importance of intellectual struggle; the self discipline to re-draft and improve rather than settle for a first attempt; a willingness to seek alternative ways of doing things when obstacles arise.


The strength, sense of balance and humour to deal positively with mishap and failure; to recognise that everyone stumbles but that successful people deal better with this; to use difficulties as learning experiences and opportunities for a new direction.


An inclination to review what has been learnt and to consider methods and approaches that have been tried; to analyse both successes and failures with a view to growing one’s potential.

Risk Taking

The courage to take a chance rather than to choose the easy option; to try new challenges and push oneself to develop new skills, even when success may not be guaranteed.

Self assurance

An understanding of and belief in one’s own developing capabilities; the capacity to balance assertiveness with humility; the ability to manage situations positively and with composure; the confidence to communicate with fluency, clarity, expression and persuasiveness.

What does it mean to be Future-Smart®?