11 non-obvious signs you might be a genius without realizing it

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When I think genius, I picture a highly intelligent, somewhat tortured, endlessly talented person with no chill.

Albert Einstein. Michelangelo. Nikola Tesla. Marie Curie.

But while being a genius is usually linked to IQ, it’s essential to remember that smarts come in many forms.

Just because you can’t solve complex equations or paint a masterpiece doesn’t mean that you’re not sharp as a tack.

Here are 11 non-obvious signs you might be a genius without realizing it.

Who knows, perhaps you’re Mensa material after all.

1) You ask a lot of questions

Intelligent people are naturally curious. The reverse might be true as well.

According to a study, a hungry mind directly correlates to academic achievement.

If you wonder about things, you’re more likely to research them.

And since we live in the information age, finding answers to your (many) questions is easier than ever before.

Geniuses have an insatiable curiosity and a desire to understand the many intricacies of the universe.

They’re the ones who ask themselves why the sky is blue and whether we truly live in a simulation.

If you’re constantly questioning the world, you’re in good company.

The only problem arises when those questions cloud your mind at 2 a.m. and don’t let you fall asleep.

Which brings me to my next point.

2) You’re a night owl

I’ve struggled to maintain a “normal” sleep schedule since I left high school, which was approximately forever ago.

Once I no longer had to wake up early to make it to classes, I realized I functioned much better in the afternoon and evening.

Having a 9-to-5 job was also a hassle. Before noon, I’m like an unfriendly raccoon who hisses at you if you attempt to make small talk.

It’s one of the reasons I chose to become a freelancer: I can make my own schedule and not be forced to set 179 separate alarms to ensure I get out the door in time.

If you’re the same, you’ll be happy to know that studies have shown night owls are smarter and more creative than early risers.

Maybe something about the quiet, contemplative hours of the night sparks genius ideas.

Next time someone looks down on you as they ramble about their 5 a.m. morning routine, you have my permission to knock them off their high horse.

3) You daydream

Another non-obvious sign you might be a genius without realizing it?

You daydream.

Daydreamers score higher on intelligence and creativity tests, so zoning out as you do other things isn’t necessarily bad.

It just means that your mind is busy with matters more important than paying attention to the boring conversations in your immediate vicinity.

I do it constantly, making this excellent news.

I actually spent a solid 5 minutes between writing points 2) and 3) imagining what I would do if I were magically transported to a realm where time is used as currency.

(I would happily sacrifice ten years of my life to be sent back to my world. I don’t like change.)

Did I write this entire article to give myself a confidence boost?

I’m not ruling it out.

4) You’re messy

Messy, I am not, so I guess this article ultimately isn’t about me.


Back to more serious things, intelligent people frequently have messy houses and thrive in chaotic environments.

I’m guessing it’s because they have heavier topics on their minds and can’t waste brain cells dusting shelves and washing dishes.

Household tasks are boring. Plus, messy surroundings spark new ideas.

Hopefully, your genius makes you rich enough to afford a cleaner.

Living in filth is typically frowned upon.

5) You’re funny

Science says that being funny is a sign of intelligence. The more offbeat your sense of humor, the better.

As a person who’s been writing for the internet for years, let me tell you – crafting a joke is no walk in the park.

Coming up with witty remarks in everyday conversations is even trickier. Your brain is perpetually humming.

And before you point out that comedy is often used as a coping mechanism to deal with trauma, let’s focus on more pleasant things.

Embrace your inner weirdo and keep the jokes coming.

6) You’re single

Returning to signs you might be a genius that just so happen to make me feel better, high intelligence is linked to staying single longer.

If you have trouble settling down, it may be because you’re secretly a brainiac.

You can see why. Intelligent people:

  • Relentlessly pursue their ambitions, leaving them less time for romance
  • Know their worth and don’t settle for less than they deserve
  • Tend to overthink relationships and self-sabotage (ouch!)
  • Value their independence, so they don’t give it up for just anyone
  • Are too mature to play games, which dating in the 21st century seems to be all about

When your loved ones give you a hard time about your inability to find a long-term companion, remember that you have nothing to feel lousy about.

Running into the woods, living off the land, and letting your intellect drive you insane is a respectable retirement plan.

7) You procrastinate

Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci is rumored to have been a great procrastinator?

He got a lot done, but he also started creative or commissioned tasks without completing them.

Similarly, Mozart put the finishing touches on his famous opera “Don Giovanni” the morning of the performance, after pretty much wasting the previous 14 days (which were already past the deadline).

Based on this not-at-all-anecdotal evidence, we can safely assume that procrastination isn’t solely a productivity killer.

It’s a sign of a creative genius at work.

When you procrastinate, your brain is subconsciously mulling over the task at hand. Once you finally sit down to get it done, it feels like magic.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a habit of delaying tasks and busying yourself with nonsense.

Your synapses are firing in the background.

8) You swear… a lot

Cursing signals intelligence, especially if you do it in a creative way.

Coming up with innovative curses or insults shows you have a wide vocabulary.

You probably have a way with words, too.

Do coworkers compliment you on the originality of your emails? Do you write hilarious poems to celebrate your friends’ birthdays? Do you give inspirational toasts at formal celebrations?

Then, I suggest you sit down and write the next great American novel.

You may have a hidden talent you haven’t discovered yet.

9) You follow an unconventional life path

Intelligent individuals think critically about societal norms and expectations.

Just because there are traditional ways to live and work doesn’t mean they don’t question them — quite the contrary.

If they find these traditional paths don’t work for them, they make a detour.

That’s why I’m sure you can find geniuses traveling the world with only a backpack to their name.

Living a quiet life on a farm surrounded by books and chickens.

Staring at their computer screen in a crowded garage they can barely afford to rent, working on the next app that will revolutionize the world.

If you also follow an unconventional life path, you might be a genius in disguise.

Let others judge your unruly ways.

They’ll come to regret it later.

10) You talk to yourself

People who talk to themselves aren’t (always) nuts.

In fact, conversing with yourself can indicate a higher level of intelligence.

People talk to themselves as a way to work through complex problems or organize their thoughts.

Moreover, chatting with yourself involves self-reflection and introspection, which leads to personal growth.

Granted, yelling randomly while walking down the street and muttering erratically are signs that you should seek medical attention.

But self-talk in general?

It signals you have plenty going on under the hood.

11) You’re an autodidact

Autodidacts are self-taught individuals who exhibit a thirst for knowledge that goes beyond formal education.

In other words, they have a strong drive to learn and expand their mind after leaving school.

They do so by taking classes, researching topics they’re passionate about, and tracking down individuals willing to share what they know.

On that note, if you find yourself delving into a wide range of topics, you might be more intelligent than you give yourself credit for.

Unfortunately, people keen to expand their horizons can get so interested in a subject that it sidetracks them from everything else.

That’s how I sometimes end up reading Wikipedia pages about Jack the Ripper’s victims on the bus and missing my stop.

Final thoughts

You’ve made it this far. 

Are you a genius in the making?

If so, please use your talents to invent a dating app that works.

I was kidding about running into the woods and living off the land as a retirement plan.

There are wild animals out there. I would survive four days.

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