13 quirky habits that make you appear highly intelligent

We all have a fair share of our own quirky habits. But some of them make us look smart and interesting, while others have the opposite effect. 

Today, I’m focusing on the ones that make us appear highly intelligent. So let’s dive in and find out what they are.

1) Playing devil’s advocate

When discussing things, some people are agreeable, others are contrarian, and some love to play the devil’s advocate

Playing devil’s advocate means you’re presenting alternative viewpoints. This challenges the status quo and stimulates critical thinking. 

It also demonstrates your willingness to engage in intellectual debate and consider perspectives that may differ from your own.

Although this quirky habit can make you appear clever or even brilliant, it can also annoy the living hell out of others.

Just be careful not to overdo it. 

2) Practicing Stoic philosophy

Stoic philosophy has gained some traction in modern society. Incorporating principles of Stoic philosophy, such as emotional resilience and rational decision-making, shows your ability to apply ancient wisdom to modern life.

Some famous people that practice this philosophy include Tim Ferriss, J.K. Rowling, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Tom Brady. 

Although it’s not for everyone, some principles can be beneficial for the majority of people:

  • Emotional resilience
  • Calmness in adversity
  • Focus on what’s within your control
  • Freedom from material attachments
  • Moral responsibility
  • Focus on self-improvement
  • Interconnectedness and empathy

These are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more, I recommend reading A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine. 

3) Having unusual hobbies

Unusual hobbies often require creativity, problem-solving, and a willingness to explore new territories.

For example, lock picking. Learning the art of lock picking demonstrates dexterity, analytical thinking, and a deep understanding of mechanical systems.

Or what about astronomy? Studying the night sky and learning about celestial bodies demonstrates your interest in astronomy, mathematics, and the universe’s mysteries.

There are countless quirky hobbies that make you look highly intelligent. But there’s also the risk of making you appear plain weird. 

Some hobbies and activities are better left behind closed doors because the general public is still too close-minded. 

4) Practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness is a habit that everyone should incorporate into their daily lives. Engaging in mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing, improves your cognitive focus and clarity. 

This habit allows you to approach tasks and conversations with heightened presence and mental sharpness.

I know at least ten people who should start doing this because they’re too stressed and filled with anxiety. 

Yet, I know that if I recommended this to them, they’d dismiss it because of the familiar culprits like lack of time, “it’s too boring,” kids, etc. 

5) Attending public lectures and talks

Public lectures, talks, book signings, and public debates are fairly regular events you can find in almost every town, right? 

Yet, how many people do you know that attend them regularly, occasionally, or ever? Probably not many.

Still, routinely attending talks, lectures, and similar on various subjects shows your dedication to expanding your knowledge and engaging with diverse ideas. 

You also appear more worldly.

If you get the chance, start this relatively quirky habit. It’s only quirky because not many people are participating. Other than that, it’s admirable for sure. 

6) Learning a new skill regularly

Another habit that isn’t done by many people is regularly learning a new skill. Whether that’s cooking new types of meals, basic first aid, digital marketing, negotiation skills, dance steps, or anything else you may find useful is up to you.

Demonstrating a continuous desire to learn new skills or hobbies reflects your intellectual curiosity and adaptability. It also proves that you’re open to challenges and eager to expand your horizons.

7) Using metaphors

This quirky habit not only makes you look smart but also makes you a better and more efficient communicator. 

Skillfully incorporating metaphors and analogies into your explanations reveals your ability to simplify complex concepts and relate them to everyday experiences.

By doing that, you’re making them more accessible to a broader audience. That’s especially beneficial to all the teachers, managers, leaders, and anyone else working with people and managing or teaching them. 

8) Embracing silence

If you’ve ever heard intellectuals talk, you must have noticed that many are incredibly composed and speak in a measured and calm way.

Pausing before responding shows that you’re considering your words carefully, allowing you to provide well-thought-out responses instead of relying on impulse. This can also create an air of anticipation, drawing attention to your insights.

On the other side, new studies show that talking this way makes you look insincere. Go figure. 

9) Welcoming failure

Most of us don’t like to fail at anything. We hate setbacks and curse when we lose in a game of charades, let alone in more significant things in life.

But if you view failures as opportunities for growth, it highlights your willingness to learn from mistakes. 

This habit also reveals your resilience and ability to analyze what went wrong and improve in the future.

For example, instead of blaming everyone else if a creative project doesn’t turn out as expected, use the experience to analyze what worked and what didn’t and apply those insights to your next project.

Or if you’re like me and trying to lose weight. I do that by counting calories. Anyone who has done it before knows how fast it becomes a burden.

Once you skip a couple of days, it’s hard to start doing it again. You feel like a failure and want to scrap this praiseworthy habit altogether.  

But with the right mentality, you should come back invigorated and ready to jot down everything once again. 

10) Using humor and wit

Employing humor effectively in conversations reveals your quick thinking, ability to make connections between seemingly unrelated topics, and knack for wordplay and clever commentary.

Humor also eases tense situations and breaks the ice, showcasing your emotional intelligence and social skills.

But above all, people are more likely to remember and engage in conversations sprinkled with humor, creating a lasting impression.

11) Reverse engineering

Reverse engineering is a skill and a habit of deconstructing complex systems or problems to understand their underlying components. 

It proves you have analytical skills and the ability to unravel intricate structures. 

For example, many people take apart and analyze engine components to boost their performance.

Some study successful people and businesses and reverse engineer how they got there in order to do the same themselves. 

Whatever you’re reverse engineering, it’s a habit that makes you appear intelligent

12) Keeping a curiosity journal

Maintaining a journal to document questions, observations, and research ideas reveals your constant thirst for knowledge and your commitment to exploring new concepts.

It’s a tool to stimulate intellectual curiosity and encourage a deeper exploration of diverse subjects. 

This quirky habit not only makes you appear highly intelligent but also promotes continuous learning and self-discovery.

Some of the smartest people in history kept journals or notebooks. People like Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Susan Sontag, Virginia Woolf, and others. 

13) Creating original content

And lastly, if you’re writing articles, essays, or blog posts that explore complex topics in a clear and insightful way displays your ability to share your thoughts effectively.

Starting a blog is incredibly easy these days, as is creating a YouTube channel.

By doing that, you not only open a creative valve but can also position yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field. 

Final thoughts

Quirky or not, some habits are almost exclusively made by intelligent people. If your desire is to be seen as one, you better start incorporating some of them from this list.  

Not only will others see you as more brilliant, but they will be good for you too. 

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.

If someone has these 8 personality traits, you cannot trust them

If your partner has these 7 personality traits, you’re definitely dating the right person