8 signs you’re a highly intelligent person with persistent self-doubt

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Do you ever question your own intelligence?

I know, it sounds strange, but you wouldn’t be the only one.

Ever worked tirelessly to solve a problem and when you finally do, you think it’s more luck than brains?

You’d be surprised…that’s not always the case.

We often tend to be our own harshest critics, undermining our own abilities, questioning our own intelligence. It can feel like we are constantly wrestling with persistent self-doubt.

If you’re nodding your head right now, you’re not alone.

Interestingly enough, this self-doubt may be completely unfounded. You might be much smarter than you think you are. And the clues? They’re often hidden in plain sight.

Today, let’s explore 8 signs that you’re a highly intelligent person, despite your persistent self-doubt.

Bear in mind, my intention isn’t to convince you that you’re a genius if you’re doubting yourself. If you’re feeling that way, maybe some self-reflection or even professional help could be beneficial.

I’m simply here to shed some light on signs that most tend to overlook.

You might already be familiar with some of them…

…let’s find out.

1. You’re a curious soul

Ever notice how you’re always the one asking questions? I remember when I was a kid, I would irritate my parents with my constant “why’s” and “how’s”. I just wanted to understand how the world worked.

When you’re highly intelligent, you have an insatiable curiosity. You seek answers, you yearn for knowledge.

You’re not satisfied with just knowing the “what”, you need to understand the “why” and “how”.

However, this thirst for knowledge can also foster self-doubt, especially when answers elude you or when others may not share or understand your quest for understanding.

2. You’re a voracious reader

As a child, I was always buried in books. The library was my second home. Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Chronicles of Narnia…you name it, I read it.

Highly intelligent people have an undying love for reading. They find joy in learning new things, getting lost in different worlds, living different lives.

Reading not only broadens your perspective but also improves your empathy and understanding of others.

Your love for reading broadens your horizons, but at times, the vast amount of information you encounter can evoke feelings of inadequacy or wonder if you’ll ever know enough.

3. You appreciate solitude

It’s not uncommon for highly intelligent individuals to prefer solitude.

A study published in the British Journal of Psychology found that smarter people tend to derive less satisfaction than most people do from socializing with friends.

They are often content with their own thoughts and ideas, and enjoy spending time alone to reflect, ponder and let their minds wander.

However, your preference for solitude gives you space to think, yet it may also incubate self-doubt as you might overthink and question your intelligence in the absence of external validation.

4. You’re sensitive to other’s feelings

One sign that’s often overlooked is emotional sensitivity. Highly intelligent people often have a deep understanding and awareness of their own emotions and the emotions of others.

They can put themselves in someone else’s shoes, understand their feelings, their pain, their joy. If you’re someone who feels things deeply and are often moved by what others are going through, then this may be another sign of your intelligence.

Being emotionally sensitive allows you to connect with others on a deep level.

However, this heightened awareness could lead to self-doubt, especially when navigating complex social interactions or facing criticism.

5. You’re a daydreamer

I remember my teachers always scolding me for “having my head in the clouds”. Little did they know, daydreaming is a sign of an active and intelligent mind.

Highly intelligent individuals are often lost in their own thoughts, imagining different scenarios, solving problems in their heads, or simply pondering about the wonders of the universe.

This ability to lose yourself in your own mind, to dream and imagine, is a clear sign of a highly intelligent mind. 

While daydreaming is a sign of an active and intelligent mind, it can also be a breeding ground for self-doubt, especially when your imagination leads to self-reflection and comparisons with others or societal expectations.

6. You’re adaptable

Remember when you went on that trip and your luggage got lost? You had to make do with what you had and it turned out to be a great adventure.

Similarly, life throws curveballs at us and being adaptable is an important trait of highly intelligent people.

They can adjust to new situations and environments with ease, finding solutions to problems and making the best out of challenging circumstances.

Your adaptability showcases your intelligence in finding solutions to problems.

However, the ever-changing situations may sometimes leave you questioning your adequacy and the decisions you make.

7. You value deep conversations

Do you remember that night when we sat under the stars discussing the mysteries of the universe until sunrise? That wasn’t just a memorable night, it was a sign of your intelligence.

Highly intelligent people often crave deep, meaningful conversations. They’re not interested in small talk or gossip.

They want to discuss ideas, theories, dreams, and passions. If you find yourself yearning for these profound conversations, then this is another sign of your high intelligence.

Your craving for meaningful interactions reflects your intellectual depth. Yet, the rarity of such profound engagements or fear of misjudgment may nurture self-doubt.

8. You’re self-critical

My mom used to tell me that the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. I never quite understood what she meant until I grew older. She was referring to our ability to self-criticize.

Highly intelligent people are often their own harshest critics. They constantly question their abilities and achievements, always striving for better.

This persistent self-doubt, ironically, is a sign of higher intelligence. It drives us to learn more, do more and be more.

So if you’ve been doubting yourself, it’s time to see these signs as what they truly are – indications of your high intelligence.

Remember, being intelligent is not about knowing everything, but about having the curiosity to learn anything.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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