14 signs you’re more intelligent than you give yourself credit for

Are you someone who always claims to be ‘just lucky’ when you achieve something remarkable?

Do you brush off compliments about your quick thinking or creative ideas as ‘nothing special’? 

Well, it’s time to stop downplaying your abilities because you might be considerably more intelligent than you think! 

You see, intelligence isn’t just about acing tests or solving complex equations. It comes in many forms and may be subtly rooted in your everyday behaviors.

So, let’s see what unexpected signs may prove you’re underestimating your intelligence.

1) You have a wide range of interests 

Many highly intelligent people focus solely on one field of interest. However, if you actively pursue knowledge in various areas, it obviously means you’re intellectually very curious and have the ability to grasp complex concepts across different domains.

Having diverse interests and hobbies can also show that you’re more intelligent than you give yourself credit.

This also makes you well-rounded, and you’re able to hold a conversation on a range of topics with your peers.

Further, you love reading and learning new things and go out of your way to find opportunities to expand your knowledge.

And lastly, because you’re engaging with multiple interests, you obviously have the mental flexibility and adaptability needed for that.

That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an evening of watching Netflix with your partner or friends, further illustrating your range. 

Hold on because we’re staying on the topic of learning with this next sign.

2) You’re a quick learner 

Tackling many topics often requires quick learning. If you grasp new concepts and ideas rapidly and find it easy to understand complex information or solve problems, it could mean you have above-average intelligence.

When you go back and remember your school days, were you bored and thought that things they taught you at school were too easy for you?

Or did you find that everything they taught was incredibly uninteresting, so you had to learn stuff on your own time?

That doesn’t necessarily mean you were a star pupil, as many intelligent people don’t excel in school

3) You can easily explain complex ideas 

Another thing I’ve noticed about people who are more intelligent than they think they are is that they not only get complex ideas faster, but they can easily explain them to others. 

This can require A LOT of patience as others typically aren’t as fast in taking in new information. 

It also means you can think critically, analyze information, and explain complex ideas in a way that makes sense to other people.

All of the above simply means you have a deep understanding of the subject matter and strong communication skills, which, in total, shows more intelligence.

Based on this, you probably also have this next sign. 

4) You have an excellent memory

If you can remember things well, it suggests that you have a good memory capacity. And having a good memory capacity is often linked to being intelligent

It also means you can learn new things quickly and remember them for a long time. So, if you have a great memory, it’s a sign that you might be really smart!

I have a friend who can vividly recount all our past experiences, like vacations, birthdays and other parties, bar crawls, and other significant events. He remembers specific details, conversations, and even the emotions he felt at that time to a great extent.

I love his ability, as I’m not anywhere near that memory capacity. But you know what this friend of mine isn’t very good at? Read on…

5) You learn from your mistakes 

Learning from other people’s mistakes is an undervalued skill. The second best to that is learning from your mistakes. But both of these are signs of highly intelligent people.  

When something goes wrong or turns out unexpected, you think about what happened and why instead of ignoring it or feeling bad about it. This is like playing detective with your own actions.

In life, this applies to everything from a failed project at work to a fight with a friend or even bigger life decisions.

It’s about understanding that mistakes aren’t just bad things to be avoided. On the contrary, they’re opportunities for learning and improvement.

6) You’re creative and original 

Another sign that you’re smarter than you think is that you’re creative and original, even though you don’t think so yourself.

When faced with challenges, instead of using the same old solutions everyone uses, you come up with fresh and inventive approaches. You’re not afraid to think outside the box and consider ideas that others might not.

Think about that for a moment. 

7) You have an active imagination

Being intelligent often also involves daydreaming and having an active imagination. If you do that regularly, it shows you have the ability to think beyond the present moment.

Here are a few examples:

  • You often imagine how to improve existing products or processes or invent entirely new ones.

  • You simulate different scenarios and outcomes in your mind when faced with a problem.

  • When trying to understand someone else’s feelings or viewpoint, you imagine yourself in their position.

  • You spend time imagining potential future events, both near and long-term.

  • You frequently find yourself lost in your own world, imagining scenarios ranging from adventurous, fantastical journeys to mundane everyday situations.

Having an active imagination often signals you have this next characteristic too. 

8) You enjoy being alone

I often joke that I like to talk with the smartest person in the room – me. 

But all jokes aside, highly intelligent people enjoy spending time alone when they can think, read, and indulge in their interests.

This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like socializing or being around others. It’s simply about finding value and fulfillment in spending time alone.

When you’re alone, you have the freedom to pursue your own interests, whether that’s reading a book, playing an instrument, gardening, painting, researching a topic you’re passionate about, or any other activity. 

You can immerse yourself fully without worrying about others’ judgments or interruptions.

9) You have a good sense of humor 

Meeting people that have a great sense of humor is the best. I mean, you can tell that they’re smart by just talking or listening to them for a couple of minutes. 

And, of course, studies have shown that funny people are more intelligent than the rest of the people. 

But why is that so?

Jokes often involve wordplay, puns, or understanding a situation from different and unexpected angles.

To ‘get’ a joke, you need to quickly understand twists and turns, which require fast thinking and the ability to see connections or contrasts.

Likewise, coming up with a funny joke or story requires creativity and the ability to see things in a unique way. 

You need to think about what others will find funny and deliver it at the right time and in the right way. It’s much harder than it looks (that’s what she said)! 

Coming up with jokes also means you notice more things than others. 

10) You notice more than others 

Being highly observant is a sign of intelligence because it involves processing a lot of information quickly and accurately. 

For example, noticing details and changes in your environment that others might overlook or being good at spotting patterns or trends. This could include patterns in data, recurring themes in literature, or social trends in your community.

It’s a skill that’s in high demand and can be very valuable in many areas of life (work, study, social relationships, personal interests, hobbies…).

11) You reflect on your own thoughts and actions 

Self-reflection, introspection, and self-awareness are also signs of highly intelligent people. If you’re looking inward and asking yourself why you think, feel, or behave in a certain way, you definitely don’t give yourself enough credit for being intelligent.

For example, if you find yourself procrastinating, you might contemplate whether it’s because you find a task boring, you’re feeling overwhelmed, or you’re afraid of failure. 

Understanding your actions can help you make changes if needed, like breaking down a task into smaller steps to combat overwhelm.  

Alright, we have two quick ones left.

12) You consistently set goals for yourself

Sticking to goals, especially long-term ones, is one of the most challenging things in life.

If you consistently set goals for yourself, pursue them with determination, and exhibit a strong drive to achieve personal excellence, it implies you have a motivated and ambitious mindset often associated with higher intelligence.

13) You’re good at estimating and guessing 

I left a fun one for the last sign. This might seem minor, but good guessing often comes from the ability to synthesize information and foresee possibilities. Although it’s often seen as a party trick, being good at this in real life has many perks.

From time management, budgeting, and cooking, but also sports and games, engineering, business, and risk assessment, being good at estimation and guessing can be not only incredibly useful but also essential in some fields.

Final thoughts

So, what do you think? Are you more intelligent than you give yourself credit for? For further reading, find out what unusual habits indicate a high level of intelligence.

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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