Wait a second here – how could you be smart without knowing it?
Wouldn’t not knowing you’re bright be a sign that you’re actually a bit dim?
It might all be a bit confusing if you don’t think about what it actually means to be highly intelligent. I’m talking here about intelligence that goes above and beyond average and even very clever folks.
The problem is that if you don’t have anyone around you to a) recognize, b) test, and c) push your intelligence, you might not ever realize just how bright you truly are.
You might be surrounded by people who have no way of understanding your potential or pushing you to develop it. So unless you discover it for yourself, you might not ever know just how smart you are.
But you might have already noticed some signs that you’re not exactly like other people.
Well, if you pick up on these ten signs, then you’re probably highly intelligent, even if you don’t realize it.
1) You have broad interests.
Are you interested in pretty much everything?
Guess what – most people aren’t!
Most people actually have pretty limited interests.
Some are way into cars, some people love animals, and some odd ducks are only interested in animals that drive cars.
Most of us start out exploring the world as kids. We go to school and learn many subjects, but as we get older, we tend to shrink back from most of them.
Look at the famous polymath Leonardo da Vinci, however, for the perfect example of an incredibly smart person who was interested in everything.
He was interested in human anatomy, math, music, technology, astronomy, science, architecture, and, of course, art – he painted arguably the most famous painting in history.
If you have similarly diverse interests, it’s probably because you’re a lot more intelligent than you might realize.
2) You love a challenge or a puzzle.
It’s often said that idle hands are the devil’s workshop, but for you, there might be a different and more appropriate saying.
How about “an idle mind is the root of all boredom”?
If you love challenging your mind, it’s probably because you have an intellect worth reckoning with.
And in much the same way that an athletic person feels a need to use their muscles, you probably feel a constant urge to put your mind to the test.
This can mean puzzles and riddles but also more serious problems as diverse as engineering ideas and political solutions. You just love thinking about the hard things.
3) You always ask questions.
People who are very intelligent are almost always supremely curious.
I don’t mean curious as in weird, though that’s the case for some!
I mean that they’re curious about how things work, what they’re made from, and where they come from. They want to know why people do what they do and why natural processes are the way they seem to be.
Most people grow out of their intensely curious phase by the age of five or so, but not those people who are highly intelligent. It’s like their brains need to be constantly fed to be satisfied, so they keep asking questions to find food for thought.
4) You’re self-reflective.
Many, but not all, highly intelligent people are able to turn their intense curiosity and capacity for analysis inward.
If you’re one of them, a sign will be that you often think about yourself, your place in the world, and your behavior. You analyze the things you do and the motivations and reasons behind them.
I’m not just talking about after the fact, either.
As they say, hindsight is 20/20, and most people think about why they did things after they’re done.
But if you’re very intelligent, you probably spend lots of time thinking about yourself before during and after you do things.
5) You’ve got a great sense of humor.
I’ll be the first to admit that humor is subjective.
Some people find things funny that other people would never dream of laughing at.
Me? I love slapstick-style fail videos. It’s not high-brow stuff, I admit. I don’t know what it is, but I just find them hysterical.
If you’re a person with a great sense of humor, you can probably find the funny side of just about every situation under the sun.
What’s humor got to do with intelligence?
Unless you’re into slapstick like me, it takes a lot to quickly offer up a witty comment, get someone’s funny implications, or see something funny about a situation.
You often need to have a sharp wit and the ability to see much deeper than face value in order to get to the humor. So if you can do this, it’s probably a sign that you’re more intelligent than you think.
6) You notice things that others don’t.
I’m talking here about details that other people let pass them by and patterns or connections that others simply don’t pick up on.
You can call it the power of perception if you like. You can call it being highly observant.
People who are highly intelligent look into things a lot deeper than the rest of us, and I mean that in both a literal and a metaphorical sense.
They have the ability to dig deeper into things that we think we already know about. That’s what often makes them great scientists who can always go down another level to find incredible discoveries about the mysteries of the world.
At the same time, having incredible powers of perception can be confusing for some intelligent people. They might see patterns in how things happen or how people behave that others don’t.
And they’re often told they’re wrong or crazy by less intelligent people who don’t see the same things. If this happens to you, you know how frustrating it can be.
7) You love learning.
One of the best signs of a really intelligent mind is that you love learning.
A food metaphor works to describe what I mean here.
You can think of people with lesser intelligence as being like people who fill up easily. At the same time, your appetite for new information is nearly insatiable.
Like a champion eater, you can learn and learn and almost never feel full until, at least, you run into ideas and concepts that strain the limits of your intellect.
You might think, “Hey, everyone loves to learn new things!”
Not in the way you do. Most people don’t have even half the appetite you do, and it’s a sign that you’re more intelligent than you probably thought.
8) You’re open-minded.
It might be surprising, but most people don’t really like new ideas.
After all, that’s what it really means to be open-minded.
Most people confuse the word open-minded with accepting. They mean that they accept things like different political ideas or ways of living.
But being truly open-minded means you let new ideas in and give them respectful consideration. This also means that you aren’t afraid to change your mind when you find a good reason to like a better conception that’s clearly an improvement on your own.
If this sounds like you, it’s very likely that you have high intelligence, even if you don’t realize it. But I hope you’re starting to!
9) You’re creative.
Are you highly creative?
Do you love to explore concepts and make new things?
This trait is one more sign of high intelligence.
Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “We can’t solve a problem using the same thinking we used when we created it.”
Whether or not these were his exact words is up for debate, but his meaning was clear.
He was specifically talking about finding an end to war following WWII, and his meaning suggests that there is no military solution to militarism.
But what he also suggests is that we have to look outside our current ideas and constraints to find new ways of thinking. Isn’t this exactly what creativity is?
It takes great intelligence to come up with all-new ideas, so if you’re highly creative, you may also be quite bright!
10) People often don’t get you.
Sadly, being highly intelligent isn’t all sunshine and lollipops.
There are several downsides to it that we’ve already discussed a bit. However, the biggest one might be a feeling of loneliness, apartness, or that people don’t really get you.
It can be just as hard to relate to people who are much more intelligent than yourself as to people who are much less intelligent.
So many highly intelligent people often struggle socially.
Do these ten signs you’re highly intelligent, even if you don’t realize it, ring a bell?
If any of them do, I hope you’re starting to realize now just what’s going on in your life and why you might feel different from everyone around you.