If someone displays these 13 traits, they’re probably a genius

There’s always someone more intelligent than us. That’s simply one of the facts of life. But did you ever wonder whether someone was more than just smart? That they’re genius?

There are many telltale signs and traits that support this. So if you ever wondered if someone you know, or even yourself, is a genius, here are the features to pay attention to. 

1) Excellent memory

While not a defining trait of intelligence, many intellectuals have exceptional memory skills. They can easily retain extensive amounts of information and recall it when needed, which helps them in problem-solving and decision-making processes.

I think the people that don’t have an excellent memory and have trouble remembering what they had for breakfast yesterday are the ones that appreciate this trait the most.

If you thought memory declines as you age, well, you were right. In middle age and beyond, your memory starts becoming weaker.

But as some cognitive functions do become weaker with age, others actually improve.

And you know what excellent memory helps with? Rapid learning, of course. 

2) Rapid learning

People with a keen talent for learning new things are also probably geniuses, especially when coupled with other traits on this list. 

They grasp new concepts quickly and absorb knowledge from various sources, making them adept at picking up new skills.

As someone who did relatively well at school but had to read and reread sections countless times, watching someone doing it once and retaining all the info in their head was incredibly frustrating. 

Unfortunately, the school system is based on repetition and knowing things by heart instead of focusing on practical use. 

But for those who can learn rapidly, either system is fine as they adapt and learn everything quickly regardless. 

3) High cognitive ability

This trait refers to the person’s overall mental capacity and ability to process information efficiently. 

They can quickly understand complex concepts, identify patterns, and make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas.

If you or someone you know have a rich vocabulary, excel in language-related tasks, communicate ideas with clarity and precision, have mathematical capabilities, etc., they might be geniuses.

But retaining knowledge well is one thing, but applying it in the real world is something completely different. 

That’s why many geniuses don’t accomplish anything “meaningful” in their lives. They don’t invent something groundbreaking or stay remembered as exceptional people. 

On the other hand, many unremarkable people on paper, go on to achieve tremendous things and stay remembered forever in society. 

4) Analytical thinking

Some people have strong analytical skills, helping them break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable components. 

This approach helps them develop systematic solutions to complex challenges. Most geniuses, if not all, have this precious trait.

When faced with a wealth of data, they can effectively interpret and analyze the information to extract valuable insights and actionable knowledge. 

They distinguish between relevant and irrelevant data points, focusing on what’s crucial for their analysis.

But they can often do this because they have the following characteristic. 

5) Hyperfocus

While focus is a common trait among intelligent people, some display hyperfocus. They become so engrossed in a task or topic that they lose track of time and surroundings.

Brilliant people are often separated from the rest of us because they can concentrate intensely on tasks without being easily distracted. 

This ability allows them to delve into complex subjects and achieve remarkable results.

On the other side, here I am, using the Pomodoro Technique to do most things because my ability to focus is getting worse and worse. 

We now know that smartphones are largely to blame for the lack of focus in people. In fact, Americans, on average, touch their phones more than 2,500 times per day.

6) Mental flexibility


Geniuses can adapt their thinking and problem-solving strategies to suit different situations. They aren’t rigid in their approach or set in their ways but are open to adjusting their methods as needed.

For example, let’s take a game we primarily associate with geniuses and intelligent people – chess.

A chess player with mental flexibility avoids sticking to familiar strategies, adapting their game plan to counter the opponent’s unexpected moves, leading to surprising victories.

Or a successful writer. They seek feedback on their writing, accept constructive criticism, and use it to refine their work, resulting in a more engaging and polished book.

I could go on and on, but these examples showcase how mental flexibility enables intelligent people to thrive in different scenarios, encouraging adaptability, creativity, and effective decision-making across different domains.

7) Exceptional problem-solving skills

As you could just learn above, highly intelligent people excel in problem-solving. They have the ability to analyze, think critically, and come up with innovative solutions. 

In short, they can tackle complex problems with creativity and efficiency.

For example, they can mentally simulate scenarios and potential outcomes swiftly. This ability allows them to assess the feasibility and implications of different solutions efficiently.

Economists and financial analysts often deal with complex market dynamics and economic scenarios. 

Brilliant people in these fields mentally simulate the impact of various economic policies, market changes, or investment strategies to make informed decisions.

They have a “feeling” or a knack for these things. 

8) Unconventional thinking

Geniuses often display unconventional or even eccentric ways of thinking. Some of them challenge established norms and come up with ideas far outside the mainstream, leading to groundbreaking discoveries.

Tesla was known for his unconventional thinking and visionary ideas. His unconventional approach to electrical engineering revolutionized power distribution and laid the foundation for modern electricity grids.

His work on alternating current (AC) electricity challenged the prevailing direct current (DC) systems of his time.

But Tesla is also known for being a prolific daydreamer who could imagine entire inventions. 

9) Daydreaming and imagination

A rich and active imagination is often present in intelligent individuals and geniuses. They daydream and explore possibilities beyond the boundaries of reality.

For geniuses, daydreaming can be a way to escape the constraints of reality and explore new possibilities and scenarios in their minds. 

It’s a mental space to play with ideas, visualize solutions, and experiment with different concepts.

10) Curiosity

I’m a naturally curious person, but I’m nowhere near as curious as brilliant people. 

They are naturally curious about the world around them and eager to explore new topics and ask questions to deepen their understanding. 

This incredible interest drives them to pursue knowledge and explore various areas of interest.

But geniuses aren’t content with limiting themselves to a narrow range of interests. They actively explore diverse subjects and disciplines, broadening their knowledge horizons and making unique connections between seemingly unrelated fields.

For them, learning is a lifelong journey. They understand knowledge is ever-evolving, and there’s always more to discover and understand. 

Curiosity drives them to keep exploring, adapting, and growing intellectually.

11) Creativity

Intelligence is about more than memorization or logical thinking. It also involves creativity. 

Genius individuals think beyond conventional boundaries, generating unexplored ideas and innovative solutions to problems.

They excel at divergent thinking, which involves generating a wide range of ideas in response to a single problem. 

They explore multiple perspectives and possibilities, avoiding limited or narrow thinking.

One of the best examples of this is the renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking who made significant contributions to our understanding of black holes, the nature of the universe, and the theory of everything. 

His creative thinking and groundbreaking theories continue to influence physics to this day.

12) Open-mindedness

Intellectual curiosity is often accompanied by open-mindedness. Geniuses are open to different perspectives and are willing to consider ideas that may challenge their existing beliefs or opinions.

That’s why many scientific works and discoveries are peer-reviewed and scrutinized by other scientists.   

The bigger the discovery, the more eyes will be on it. And probably more criticism. Some valid, some not so much. 

That’s why intelligent people encourage effective communication and collaboration.

But above all, open-mindedness is a key factor in their ability to integrate knowledge from various disciplines, leading to creativity, breakthroughs, and a humble attitude toward continuous learning.

13) High self-motivation

People are driven by external factors such as money or rewards and internal, like enjoyment, sense of purpose, passion, etc. 

Geniuses are often more internally driven and have a strong desire to achieve their goals. Their passion and motivation propel them forward, even when faced with obstacles or setbacks.

We already know they have an intrinsic curiosity and passion for learning, fueling their desire to continually explore new subjects and acquire knowledge. 

This intrinsic motivation allows them to engage in activities simply for the joy of learning and mastering new skills rather than relying solely on external rewards or recognition.

Final thoughts

Well, there you have it – 13 traits that show whether someone is a genius. Of course, many more could describe someone as a genius, but only an intelligence test or their lifework can tell us exactly. 

Leonardo da Vinci never got tested by Mensa, yet we know for certain he was a genius. 

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Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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