Being smart isn’t just about acing tests or quoting Shakespeare.
Sometimes, it’s about relating to others or coming up with an out-of-the-box approach to a problem that has been bugging you for days.
But while cleverness is multi-faced, there are certain things brilliant minds generally have in common.
Without further ado, if you’re a truly intelligent person, you probably have these 12 personality traits.
See how many you can check off the list.
Intelligent folks can’t help but ask questions about anything they find intriguing.
Quantum physics. Life on Mars. The 11 KFC herbs and spices.
Whenever a dilemma pops into their mind, they have no rest until they find an answer. As a result, you’ll often find them with their heads in a book or their eyes glued to a documentary.
Wikipedia entries aren’t satisfying enough.
Thankfully, we live in the golden age of information, so it’s easier than ever to satisfy your (many) curiosities.
That said, here’s what you can do to take your pursuit of knowledge to the next level:
- Travel to new places whenever you can to expose yourself to different cultures
- Read things that are outside your comfort zone
- Experience art in any shape and form
- Make it a habit to question every piece of information you stumble upon
- Join clubs or groups that cater to your interests
Creativity is a sign of intelligence because it reflects a person’s ability to make unique connections between seemingly unrelated concepts.
Creative individuals usually excel in divergent thinking, meaning they can come up with multiple possible answers to a single problem.
Then, they analyze those answers and mold them into an original idea.
Regardless of your medium, being creative is a glaring sign that your brain is firing on all cylinders.
Don’t sell yourself short.
If you’re an empathetic person, you understand the emotions of others, usually to a surprisingly deep (and uncomfortable) degree.
Possessing empathy demonstrates an individual’s flair to discern and relate to the experiences and perspectives of those around them.
Following that logic, empathy isn’t only a manifestation of social intelligence, but it denotes that you have a vast understanding of the human condition.
Or, at the very least, you’re well on your way to developing that.
Next time you find yourself empathizing with someone’s joy or sharing their sorrow, remember that intelligence doesn’t just involve your little grey cells.
It involves the heart and soul, too.
4) Listening skills
Speaking of empathy, intelligent people frequently have amazing listening skills.
After all, if you’re curious about others and empathetic, you’re also more likely to stay focused when someone else speaks.
I don’t know what it is about me, but strangers are eager to spill their secrets whenever they’re in my immediate vicinity.
I was on the train a couple of days ago, and this elderly lady engaged me in conversation.
Fast-forward to 10 minutes later, and she already shared her entire family tree, why she was heading to the doctor, and all the problems her four kids were facing at that moment.
All I did was nod politely and struggle to keep my eyes open, as it was 8 AM.
Being able to make someone open up by just giving them your undivided attention?
Your body isn’t the only one that’s a wonderland. Your mind is one as well.
5) Sense of humor
Being funny is a sign of intelligence.
It’s not just me who believes that. Science confirms.
Humor requires creativity, which we already established that it signals a fascinating mind.
It also involves finding hidden patterns, understanding double meanings, and employing abstract thinking.
When someone makes a hilarious remark, they showcase their cognitive agility and penchant to think beyond the surface level.
Oh, and effective humor involves understanding social dynamics and emotional cues. These derive from the empathy we previously discussed.
So, you’re both empathetic and funny?
You must be a blast on a first date.
Independence is a quality closely associated with intelligence, as it reflects an individual’s capacity for self-sufficiency.
Intelligent individuals are naturally resourceful, able to adapt to changing circumstances and surmount obstacles without dependence on external support.
This adaptability stems from their desire to learn and the aptitude to apply their knowledge effectively.
Additionally, independent people are proactive in pursuing their goals, be it in their educational pursuits, career endeavors, or personal lives.
If you recognize yourself in this description, you probably excel at understanding the consequences of your actions.
You know that if you don’t act on your wants and needs, your life loses a bit of its meaning.
You’re smarter than you realize.
7) Problem-solving tendencies
If you’re a truly intelligent person, there’s a good chance your problem-solving skills are through the roof.
You’re always the one who comes up with innovative solutions and clever fixes that leave your friends or co-workers flabbergasted and jealous that they didn’t think of them first.
I have this friend who was irritated with how inefficient it was to gather everyone’s lunch orders at work.
In response, she created a separate Slack channel for lunch only and would nudge everyone to send their order in the channel by a certain time or be left out.
The frustration associated with the process vanished, and she’s still being praised for that simple solution to this very day.
No one else was eager to step up.
Intelligent folks tend to be well-versed in effective communication.
They can articulate their thoughts clearly and engage in insightful conversations. Not only that, but they can express complex ideas in a relatable manner.
This makes them quite charming, don’t you think?
Plus, intelligent individuals are usually willing to explore different perspectives and adapt their communication style to suit the needs of those they’re interacting with.
Far from being snobbish, they entertain others with fascinating insights and endless wit.
If you’re the life of every party and your popularity is insane, you’re probably clever, too.
Otherwise, your audience wouldn’t keep coming back for more.
Are you familiar with the concept of delayed gratification?
It basically means that you delay immediate rewards for the sake of long-term goals.
For instance, if you’re on a weight-loss journey, skipping the gym because you’re feeling lazy might give you a temporary dose of dopamine.
In the grand scheme of things, however, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Intelligent individuals tend to live by this concept and are willing to invest time and effort in pursuing complex objectives that may not yield immediate results.
In other words, they’re incredibly patient.
Which serves them well, especially when coupled with the next point on the list.
Using the same example, going to the gym on a regular basis may not be something that comes naturally to you.
While motivation may be enough to get you out the door the first three or four times, determination is what helps you stick to this habit in the long run.
Intelligent people often possess a clear sense of purpose and are goal-oriented, which means that their determination is never in short supply.
Even if you’re not intelligent by traditional metrics like IQ, research shows that people who persevere are more likely to succeed in life.
That’s not nothing.
11) Good memory
Intelligence involves the capacity and desire to learn, as well as the ability to acquire new information quickly.
It stands to reason that intelligent people can have an excellent memory, which enhances their cognitive abilities.
It also facilitates effective problem-solving and decision-making.
If you can effortlessly recall relevant facts and past experiences, you have a better shot at being successful when addressing novel challenges.
How great is that?
To end on a fun note, intelligent people are often incredibly quirky.
They might be night owls. Swear a lot. Daydream often.
Or embrace “weird” hobbies that not everyone understands.
These hobbies reflect their insatiable curiosity, as they’re not content with just the ordinary; they crave so much more.
Einstein never wore socks and slept for at least 10 hours per day.
Do you like to solve intricate crossword puzzles?
Create intricate sculptures out of bars or soap?
Collect vintage toilets?
Rest assured, you’re in no way a freak.
You’re simply very intelligent.
Intelligence comes in many shapes and sizes.
While some people do well with numbers, others can recite poetry off the bat.
While some read voraciously, others have a knack for keeping the attention of an entire room.
Regardless of which type of intelligence you display, celebrate it.
Your extraordinary mind will serve you well as you navigate life’s winding paths, no roadmap included.