Being smart isn’t just about acing exams. The reality is there are lots of ways to be clever.
Intelligence is so multifaceted that you may not realize all the ways it shows up in your life.
Here are 12 signs you’re a smarter person than you think you are.
1) You recognize there’s a lot about life you still don’t know
It may sound strange but research has found that smarter people have a tendency to underestimate themselves.
Meanwhile, those who are less cable overestimate their abilities.
That means doubt itself can be an indicator that you’re cleverer than you think.
If you ever suffer from imposter syndrome or call your own skills into question, although it doesn’t feel like it, it might just be a good sign!
Those people who are so self-assured may act like they know it all, but they don’t. And the arrogance they carry around is often what stands in the way of them growing as people.
When we recognize there are plenty of things we still don’t understand in life, we remain open.
That gives you a far better mindset for learning, as we’ll see next.
2) You believe that what you don’t know already, you can always learn
It’s true that a certain amount of our intelligence comes down to genetics. But that’s not the whole story.
Experts estimate around 50% of your intelligence is down to environmental factors.
Intelligence is far more flexible than we often expect. Our attitude and approach to learning can make all the difference.
Believing that your intelligence isn’t set in stone and that you can always improve your skills and abilities is referred to as having a growth mindset.
Those with a fixed mindset on the other hand take more of a defeatist stance and think there’s not a lot they can do to change.
Research shows that students with a growth mindset get better grades.
Simply understanding that how smart you are is always changing means you’re already smarter than you think.
3) You’re happy to ask for help when you need it
If you think relying on others makes you less smart, you’d be wrong.
It’s the most stupid people who never seek counsel, and they miss out because of it.
We all need the support and wisdom of others and being able to ask for it is crucial.
One study noted that far from making you look stupid, turning to others not only makes you more likable, it also makes you look smarter.
Harvard Business School researchers Francesca Gino and Alison Wood Brooks explained:
“We have the wrong mindset when thinking about asking for advice. We actually view people who seek our advice as much more competent than people who forego the opportunity to seek advice.”
4) You ask plenty of questions
Asking lots of questions is a strong sign of something significant:
You’re naturally inquisitive.
Curiosity is fundamental to intelligence because it is that interest in the world that spurs us on to discover things.
A 2011 study concluded that curiosity is a big part of academic performance and just as important as intelligence itself in determining success.
Perhaps that’s why Albert Einstein once famously remarked:
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
5) You know yourself well
Certain aspects of growth simply cannot happen without self-awareness.
It may not help you to learn your times tables, but it will help you manage your thoughts and emotions, as well as get along better with others.
When it comes to succeeding in life, your emotional intelligence is just as significant as your IQ.
When you can observe, reflect on, and understand what makes you tick, you have a far greater capacity for change and expansion as a person.
After all, in order to improve our weaknesses, we must first be able to see them.
6) You’re a bit of a worrier
As they say, ignorance can be bliss.
That’s why one of the unfortunate side effects of being an introspective person with a rich inner world is the impact that can have on your mental health.
Research has noted that worriers are more perceptive and more intelligent.
Well, as the author of one study, Jeremy Coplan, noted:
“While excessive worry is generally seen as a negative trait and high intelligence as a positive one, worry may cause our species to avoid dangerous situations, regardless of how remote a possibility they may be. In essence, worry may make people ‘take no chances,’ and such people may have higher survival rates. Thus, like intelligence, worry may confer a benefit upon the species.”
7) You care about others and can see things from their side
Empathy is another sign of emotional intelligence.
Those with high emotional intelligence are usually empathetic because they are able to understand and share the emotions of others.
Being book-smart is one thing, but being socially smart is quite another.
We live together in societies where cooperation matters.
Having plenty of empathy for others is a vital social skill that shows that you are socially smart.
8) You’re a people person
Do you consider yourself a bit of a people person who is good at getting along with all sorts of folks?
Maybe you have the gift of the gab?
If so, don’t overlook this ability. Then chances are, it means you’re an excellent communicator.
Whenever we rub someone up the wrong way, it’s usually our communication that’s at fault.
So if you are skilled at making connections, you must have the ability to express yourself well.
This is yet another sign of social intelligence.
9) You’ve got a good sense of humor
Time and time again, a good sense of humor has been shown to be attractive in a potential partner.
But the deeper reason behind that may well come down to its reflection of intelligence.
Researchers have discovered that funny people have higher IQs than their less funny peers.
That’s because they say that it takes cognitive and emotional ability to process and produce humor.
So rather than make you the class clown, a good sense of humor is a sign that you’re smart.
10) You notice the little things
Being observant is incredibly useful.
It means that you can take in the world around you, process plenty of information, and learn from it.
Does nothing get past you?
Having attention to detail suggests you have good focus and are mindful of the world around you, both of which are signs of being smart.
This can also help to strengthen your working memory, which is key for recalling the things we learn.
11) You relish alone time
Introverts already appreciate the benefits of more alone time because it gives them an opportunity to process their thoughts and reflect.
Being alone does give you more time to think.
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why a link has been found between how content we are to be alone, and our level of intelligence.
12) You always know what to do in a crisis
Are you the one that everyone turns to when they’ve got a problem?
Being able to think on your feet highlights that you’re most likely:
- A rational thinker
- Good at problem-solving
Problem-solving is a big part of intelligence.
Life is a series of puzzles that we need to figure out. It throws at us countless sticky situations and dilemmas.
Your ability to think critically, be creative, be adaptable, and figure out solutions says a lot about how smart you are.
There are plenty of ways to be smart
One of the biggest reasons people tend to underestimate their own intelligence comes down to this:
They mistakenly think that a high IQ is the be-all and end-all.
Yet it’s actually a pretty flawed and limited measure of all the different ways people can be smart.
In a nutshell, what truly makes us smart is our ability to:
- Learn from experience
- Recognize problems
- Solve problems
…And as we’ve just seen, lots of factors play a part in this.