10 signs you’re dealing with a really smart person, according to psychology

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Smart people simply have the edge over those who aren’t as smart. It’s as if they have cheat codes for life. 

What do I mean by that? Well, many smart people simply make better decisions, focus more easily, and often have long-term goals and aspirations. 

However, sometimes it can be a bit harder to notice someone is smart as they don’t show off their brains. They also might be brilliant in one area while ordinary or sub-par in others.

So, without further ado, let’s see the signs you’re dealing with a really smart person, according to psychology.

1) They’re always asking questions and pursuing new knowledge

Many super-smart people I know never settle for what they know. They’re interested in so many topics that it’s impossible for them to know everything about anything. 

Although I’m not even close to that level of intelligence, I’m the same. I love dabbling in many areas, even the ones I’ll never fully understand. 

And that’s the thing: smart people are naturally curious. They’re the ones always asking “why” and “how” about everything. 

They want to understand the world around them and are constantly looking up new information and experiences.

2) They analyze situations deeply and often think outside the box

This means they don’t just take things at face value. They think deeply about issues, ask tough questions, and look for evidence to support their conclusions. 

They’re not afraid to challenge the status quo and think outside the box.

So, instead of just cramming facts to ace tests, they want to know what’s behind the data and information they’re learning. 

In turn, that makes it much easier for them to memorize certain facts that others struggle with. 

They don’t stick to one textbook but dive into all sorts of info from different places and connect the dots between different subjects to really get what’s going on.

And you know what helps with that? Being able to focus. 

3) They can focus better on tasks for extended periods

When smart people are working on something important, they’re able to block out distractions and concentrate fully on the task at hand. 

They can immerse themselves completely in whatever they’re doing.

Once they’re locked in, they’re unstoppable. They can spend hours diving into a project without even realizing how much time has passed.

And when they’re in the zone, they’re really in it. They become totally absorbed in what they’re doing, almost like they’re in their own little world. It’s like they’re living and breathing their projects.

Most of the time, that also means they’re more productive than those who can’t focus and keep looking at their phones for distractions. 

4) They set high goals for themselves and work hard to achieve them

They also have big dreams and the determination to make them a reality. They set high goals for themselves and are willing to put in the hard work and effort required to achieve them.

Psychology recognizes the importance of setting specific, challenging goals for motivation and achievement.

When you aim high and challenge yourself, it gives you a roadmap to follow, makes you try harder, and helps you keep going even when things get tough.

That’s why smart people won’t say things like, “I want to exercise more.” They’ll set a specific goal like “I want to run a 5k race in three months.” 

You see how much of a difference that is. It gives you a clear target to work towards and motivates you to train consistently to achieve it.

5) They can find humor in different situations and use it to connect with others

Psychologists study humor to understand its cognitive, emotional, and social functions. A sense of humor can serve different purposes:

  • Stress relief, 
  • Social bonding, 
  • Mental flexibility, and 
  • Creative problem-solving.

Yet, I think the best quality of many smart people is the way they use humor to bring people together. 

They know that laughter is like a super glue for relationships, so they use it to make connections and build friendships.

But they’re also not just funny for the sake of it:

They use humor to deal with tough stuff, too. It’s a coping mechanism that helps them stay positive and help others see the bright side, even in rough times.

6) They remember details and make connections quickly

Smart people also remember details and make connections quickly simply by having a sharp memory and being able to link things together fast.

Ever met someone who seems to connect the dots lightning-fast? That’s what I mean here. They can see how different pieces of information fit together, even if they appear unrelated at first glance.

Think of it like recognizing a familiar face in a crowd. Smart folks can spot patterns in information, whether it’s in numbers, words, or even everyday situations.

And, most importantly, when faced with a problem, they’re the ones who can come up with solutions on the spot. 

Their ability to remember details and see connections allows them to think quickly and adapt to changing situations.

7) They recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and are always looking to improve

Recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses means understanding what you’re good at and where you could use some improvement. 

It’s like knowing that you’re really great at playing the guitar but might struggle with public speaking. Nothing complicated, right? 

You’d think so. But then, why are there so many people who don’t realize they suck at something or that their way of thinking is harmful to them and others? 

Well, smart people know themselves well. They understand their strengths and weaknesses and are constantly striving to improve. 

They’re not afraid to admit when they’ve made a misstep and are constantly looking for ways to grow and develop.

8) They’re often not afraid of the unknown

When I say someone isn’t afraid of the unknown, it means they’re okay with not having all the answers. 

They don’t freak out when things are uncertain or when they’re not sure what’s going to happen next.

Intelligence is linked to the ability to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity. Smart people are comfortable with not having all the answers and love navigating through complex, uncertain situations without feeling overwhelmed.

Imagine you’re going on a road trip to a place you’ve never been before. Instead of worrying about every little detail or getting stressed about not knowing exactly what to expect, someone who’s not afraid of the unknown would just go with the flow.

They’d be excited about the adventure and see it as a chance to discover new things along the way. 

They’re not bothered by the fact that they’ll take a few wrong turns or encounter unexpected detours. 

They’re cool with it because they know they’ll figure it out as they go.

9) They’re intrinsically motivated

Many smart people do things because they genuinely like doing them, not because they’ll get something out of it, like money or praise.

They’re driven by their own interests and passions. They’ll dive into a project or activity because they find it exciting and enjoyable, not because they want a reward.

In everyday life, intrinsic motivation means you’re more likely to stick with something even when it’s challenging because you genuinely enjoy it.

It keeps you motivated and engaged, even when there’s no prize at the end. And for smart people, it’s often what drives their curiosity, creativity, and love of learning.

10) They reflect on things and experiences

And lastly, smart people take a moment to think about what’s going on in their lives. When they finish a big project for school or work, instead of moving right on to the next thing, they stop and think about how it all went down.

They ask themselves stuff like:

  • “What did I do well?”
  • “What could I’ve done better?”
  • “How did I handle the tough parts?”
  • “What did I learn from this whole thing?”

Final thoughts

Intelligence isn’t just about being book-smart or solving complex math problems. It’s also about how we approach challenges, interact with others, and navigate the world around us.

Smart people embrace qualities like curiosity, adaptability, and intrinsic motivation. They also learn from their experiences, celebrate their strengths, and work on areas where they want to improve.

And that’s how you recognize them!

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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