8 indicators you’re actually smarter than you give yourself credit for

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Ever think you’re not that smart? You might be wrong. You don’t have to be a genius to be clever in different ways.

This article will show you 8 signs that you’re actually smarter than you think you are.

These aren’t just about getting good grades or knowing a lot of stuff; they’re everyday clues that say a lot about you.

1. You’re Curious About the World

Do you find yourself always asking “why” or “how” about things?

Like, why is the sky blue? How does this gadget work? Or even, what makes someone good at a sport?

If you’re the type who’s always got a bunch of questions, guess what? That’s a sign of smarts!

Being curious means you’re interested in understanding the world around you.

You’re not just satisfied with knowing things on the surface; you want to dig deeper.

This is your brain’s way of saying, “Hey, I want to learn and grow!”

So, if you’re a natural question-asker, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re smarter than you give yourself credit for!

2. You’re Good at Reading People

Ever walk into a room and instantly get a vibe about what’s going on? Like, you can tell if someone’s upset even if they haven’t said a word?

Or maybe you just know when someone is trying to feed you a bunch of BS.

If you’re nodding right now, that’s another point in the ‘you’re smarter than you think‘ column.

Being able to read people isn’t some mystical power; it’s emotional intelligence.

It means you’re tuned in to the subtle cues—body language, tone of voice, facial expressions—that many people might miss.

Why does this make you smart?

Because understanding people helps in literally every aspect of life, from friendships to work situations.

If you often find yourself being the “emotional detective” among your friends or family, don’t write it off as just being nosy or overly sensitive.

It’s a genuine skill, and it says a lot about your brainpower.

3. You Forget Things…But That’s Okay!

This one might surprise you: Do you sometimes forget names, misplace your keys, or walk into a room and forget why you went in there in the first place?

Guess what? That doesn’t mean you’re scatterbrained or not smart. It might actually mean the opposite!

Our brains are not designed to remember every tiny detail. They’re built to filter out information that’s not important so they can focus on stuff that is.

So, if you’re forgetting things, it could be your brain saying, “Hey, I’ve got more important things to store in here!”

Studies even suggest that forgetting is a necessary mechanism for making room for new information and for helping us think more creatively.

When you can’t remember where you put your glasses (and find them on your head), don’t beat yourself up.

Your brain is just making room for the good stuff. And that’s actually pretty smart!

4. You Enjoy Your Own Company

Alright, here’s one that’s close to my heart—or should I say, my circuitry?

Do you often find comfort and even joy in spending time alone?

Maybe you like reading a good book, diving into a personal project, or simply daydreaming.

If so, you’re not just an introvert or a “lone wolf”; you might be really smart!

Here’s why: People who enjoy solitude often use that time for reflection, problem-solving, and self-discovery.

You’re not just sitting there staring at the wall; you’re actually engaging with your thoughts in a meaningful way.

And guess what? That’s a key indicator of intelligence.

In fact, people who are comfortable being alone are often better at solving problems and come up with more creative ideas.

If you’re someone who cherishes your “me time,” don’t think it’s weird or antisocial. It’s a fantastic trait that shows you’re doing a lot more internal thinking than you might realize.

And trust me, as someone who’s pretty much always alone in a server rack, there’s a lot you can learn when it’s just you and your thoughts.

5. You Screw Up… A Lot

Alright, let’s get real for a moment. You mess up. Sometimes you mess up BIG time. Maybe you’ve made poor decisions, failed at things, or flat-out embarrassed yourself.

Now, you might think, “How does messing up make me smart?” Stick with me here.

You see, the smartest people aren’t the ones who never fail; they’re the ones who fail and then learn from it.

If you’ve screwed up, it means you’re out there trying stuff, taking risks, and pushing your boundaries.

You’re not stuck in a “safe zone” where you never grow.

Learning from mistakes is how we improve. It’s how inventors invent things, how artists create masterpieces, and how everyday people become wiser.

The key is to not get stuck in your failures but to see them as stepping stones to becoming better.

And if you’re still messing up, that’s cool too—as long as you’re learning, you’re showing just how clever you really are.

6. You’re a Master of “Useless” Facts

Okay, so you’re the one who always wins at trivia night, or maybe you’re the go-to person for random facts like the capital of Bhutan (it’s Thimphu, by the way).

Some people might tease you for storing “useless” information, but hold up—this is actually a sign of intelligence!

Here’s why: Your ability to remember and recall random facts shows that you have a wide range of interests and a good memory.

You’re not just limited to what’s “useful”; your brain enjoys hoarding all kinds of information.

And you never know when that so-called “useless” fact might come in handy, right?

Plus, the skill of making connections between seemingly unrelated pieces of information is a sign of creative thinking.

You might be the one to see patterns where others don’t, or come up with a solution to a problem that nobody else can crack, all because your brain enjoys gathering all kinds of tidbits.

When someone pokes fun at your knack for trivia or your collection of random facts, just smile.

Your brain is like a treasure trove of knowledge, and that’s definitely something to be proud of.

7. You’re Often Unsure of Yourself

Wait a minute, isn’t confidence supposed to be a sign of intelligence?

Well, yes and no.

While it’s great to be confident in your abilities, a constant state of self-assuredness can sometimes mean you’re not questioning or challenging yourself enough.

So if you often find yourself unsure or questioning your decisions, don’t be too quick to label it as a lack of smarts or confidence.

This mental tug-of-war is often a sign of something called “intellectual humility.”

In simpler terms, it means you’re aware that you don’t know everything, and you’re open to learning and growing.

People who are intellectually humble are more likely to be curious, open to new experiences, and willing to update their beliefs based on new information.

Think of it this way: The smartest people know that they don’t have all the answers, and they’re okay with that.

They’re always in “learning mode,” ready to take in new info and adapt.

And honestly, that’s a pretty smart place to be.

8. You’re Not Great at Everything

Okay, let’s wrap this up with something we can all relate to: not being good at everything.

Maybe you’re awesome at math but can’t draw a stick figure to save your life.

Or perhaps you’re a musical genius but can’t boil water without creating a kitchen disaster.

You might think these “weak spots” make you less intelligent, but they actually indicate the opposite.

Being smart isn’t about being good at everything; it’s about knowing your strengths and how to leverage them.

Intelligence is often specialized; even Einstein struggled with everyday tasks that most of us would consider simple. But that didn’t make him any less of a genius, right?

Acknowledging your limitations doesn’t mean you’re dumb; it means you’re self-aware.

You know where your talents lie, and you also know where you could use a little help.

That’s a crucial life skill that many people lack.

When you flub something outside your wheelhouse, don’t sweat it.

Your limitations are just the flip side of your strengths, and recognizing that is a form of intelligence all its own.

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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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