What does it mean to be more intelligent than the vast majority of people?
What separates a “genius” from a person who is just very smart?
Hyper intelligence can be measured in many ways, so it’s worth keeping an open mind as we investigate those who are truly in the top tier of mental acuity.
Let’s take a look at the top signs of hyper intelligence.
1) You were an intensely curious infant
The first of the fascinating signs of hyper intelligence comes from infancy.
Geniuses and those with hyper intelligence often demonstrate the trait of intense curiosity as a baby and small child.
We’ve all seen this kind of child, crawling anywhere possible and even some places that aren’t!
Asking questions about everything and anything. Pointing and giggling, or pointing and screaming.
As they age the questions just get more insistent and profound.
They’re never bored and never satisfied by the answers adults give. They want to know about literally everything, and their curiosity is boundless.
This is a definite early sign of someone who will be hyper intelligent later in life.
2) You engage in critical thinking
Critical thinking is all about the willingness and ability to look at your beliefs and perceptions and question and investigate them.
It’s basically a form of self-awareness and openness to looking at issues and experiences from multiple angles.
Not everyone has this ability, which scientists also call first-rate thinking.
In short, first-rate thinking is the intellectual ability to fully grasp various sides of an issue and understand them regardless of whether or not you personally agree.
You are able to evaluate and make decisions about the veracity or logic of claims without mixing this with your own emotions or subjective experiences regarding the subject.
For example, you may fully understand the arguments for and against gay marriage and all their logical and emotional components while still holding your own strong view on the subject.
3) You’re aware of your blind spots
Another of the top signs of hyper intelligence is that you’re aware of your blind spots, or at least aware that you have blind spots.
You recognize your own faults and where you fall short, including subjects where you aren’t knowledgeable or have a lot to learn.
This ties into a sense of curiosity and wanting to know more.
Scientists call this the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is basically where people who are not very intelligent overestimate how smart they are and are ignorant of their pitfalls and blind spots.
Highly intelligent people, by contrast, tend to be very aware of where they fall short and are, in fact, often overestimating their own ignorance.
In other words, non-intelligent people are often even stupider than they realize, while highly intelligent people are often even smarter than they realize.
4) You are extremely perceptive of details and subtle cues
Another of the signs that you are extremely hyper intelligent is that you are very perceptive of details and subtle cues.
You notice everything around you, even when you’re not trying to, and you are often able to visually walk back or “explore” places you have been in retrospect.
You make a criminal’s worst nightmare as a witness, because you notice details other’s miss such as subtle smells, small behavior tics or even things like what type of shoes a random man is wearing in line at a cafe.
Those who are hyper intelligent notice much more than they even want to, and often the best writers and artists are people like this who need an outlet for the vast amount of details and insights they have in everyday life that the majority of others simply do not have.
5) You come up with new and innovative ideas and concepts
Everything around us first started from one thing and one thing only: an idea.
The greatest power in the world comes from the creation and implementation of powerful ideas that shape and define the reality of our lives and futures.
Among the most impressive signs of hyper intelligence is the ability to come up with compelling concepts and ideas that change and improve the world.
Not everyone can do this, and not all ideas are equally valid.
Technology progresses and refines itself because some ideas are objectively better than others: for example, there are forms of renewable energy which are better for the environment than fossil fuels.
The ability to envision a different world and ways to live and then help carry it out is a sign of genius, and the world is built and shaped by people of this kind.
On the purely idea level, we can see this too.
The philosophical and theological ideas and beliefs of Friedrich Nietzsche, Rabbi Nachman of Uman or the Prophet Muhammad continue to influence and shape the world to this day, and they will for centuries to come.
6) Able to learn and engage with new material rapidly and effectively
Another of the big signs of hyper intelligence is rapidity in learning and absorbing new content and concepts.
You are that star pupil who already knows all the key concepts and ideas that underlie a subject.
While other people are still trying to figure out what fusion means or why the American Revolution happened, you’re already analyzing the socio-economic roots of Karl Polanyi’s ideology and why Francis Fukayama was wrong.
The ability to immediately go to a “meta” level on subjects and analysis is a definite sign of hyper intelligence.
You immediately are able to reconcile the ground level with the higher level and put it all together into a coherent whole.
Then you’re able to take this coherent whole and problematize or challenge it from another angle or angles.
The point? Not abstract intellectualism, but finding an accurate and meaningful truth or at least compelling point of view that seeks to understand the fabric of the world we live in and the lives we lead.
7) Difficulty choosing just one career
One of the challenges (and opportunities) for hyper intelligent people is difficulty choosing just one career.
The reason is simple: hyper intelligent people have so many ideas and talents that it can often be hard for them to commit to just one job or field.
They may have multiple careers and be multi-talented in numerous ways that translate into professional success.
8) Seeking an escape from reality or trying to ‘dumb yourself down’
One of the downsides of being very intelligent is sometimes a feeling of being different or being “overwhelmed” by the need for intellectual and perceptual stimulation.
In other words, very intelligent people sometimes find less intelligent people and regular society very boring.
They also may find their own thoughts, observations and experiences a bit intense and seek to make them a bit less so.
One tool that they sometimes use to explore other states of consciousness or tamp down the overactive mind is drugs.
Now, using drugs doesn’t mean you’re hyper intelligent, but it sometimes does.
Look at somebody like Hunter S. Thompson for example, a drug-addled literary genius who produced work that stands the test of time despite (or perhaps partly because) he was blasted out of his mind.
“Throughout history, some of the most brilliant minds have been dependent on drugs or alcohol.
“Edgar Allan Poe was a lush, cocaine was the love of Sigmund Freud’s life, and Stephen King was high off his ass on Xanax, Valium, cocaine, NyQuil, alcohol, and pot for a good chunk of his career.”
9) Practicing intense and profound analyses
Very smart people think deeply about issues and topics, sometimes even when they don’t want to.
If this is put to good use it can lead to enormous success in business, innovation and the world of ideas.
Thinking deeply can be useful in some cases, but it can also become very abstract if not grounded in the practical world.
However one of the signs of a person who’s extremely intelligent is that they are able to ground their advanced ideas and analysis in the real world and make it useful in their own life and the lives of others.
10) You question and investigate what others take for granted
Next up in the top signs of hyper intelligence is that ability to question and explore what others take for granted.
This could be everything from the way we live in urban environments to how human relationships are structured and why.
It may be trying to change the way we eat or what we eat, or it could be exploring new forms of communication and using technology to connect new groups of people.
There are so many new discoveries and horizons which open up when we question and explore what people take for granted.
Because everything we take for granted first started with hyper intelligent and dedicated people questioning what used to be taken for granted before that.
Are you hyper intelligent?
The question of whether you are hyper intelligent can be delved into in various ways, including by looking at the pointers above.
The technical definition of a genius varies, from everything to an IQ above 180 (about 1 in 2 million people) to more relaxed standards of an IQ above 140.
But another fascinating way to approach the topic is by the idea of “multiple intelligence” proposed by Harvard psychologist Dr. Howard Gardner.
In this theory, there are many ways to be hyper intelligent, not just one or two.
This includes extraordinary ability in language, mathematics, the environment and ecology, visual and spatial arts, music, athletics, communication and emotional intelligence.
Some may be extremely emotionally intelligent and be a genius actor, for example, but be absolutely hopeless in mathematics.
Another may be a genius at understanding the environment and working in it, but have little emotional or verbal intelligence.
The theory of multiple intelligence is becoming increasingly popular and leads to a promising potential wherein the hyper intelligent people of the world could cross-pollinate and use their various amazing abilities to create incredible and brilliant new worlds.