I won't say intellectual curiosity is the only thing you need, but isn't it the most important? Worrying about being smart enough is a trap, instead you should cultivate curiosity and recognize your own lapses of curiosity and see how you can learn from them. Scholarship without this quality is easy to spot because it is dull. The writer is never asking himself interesting questions, and is satisfied with dull answers. We don't really know that much about literature or about the human mind, so the possibilities are endless.
I was wondering recently whether there is another sense, along with the 20 or so with which we are possessed, with the name I would give it being chronoception. Of course if I google this word I get some results so I am not the first to ask this question or invent this word. But that doesn't matter.
I am also wondering if there is related research into ruthmoception, where the question is not longer duration, but also segmentation and articulation in time. I'll have to go back and read Bergson.