Intelligence is a highly valued trait in society.
We see these in movies, books, and other media. The famous Sherlock Holmes has had different adaptations featuring his cleverness and brilliant deduction skills.
But contrary to popular belief, clever people are usually in the shadows—unnoticed, unseen, and inconspicuous—and you might actually be one of them!
Here’s a list of ten undeniable signs you’re a clever person (and smarter than most people think)!
1) You make the people around you feel smarter
We commonly think that smart people make the people around them feel stupid because they know so many things that a lot of people don’t know about.
And this might come as a surprise because it’s actually quite the opposite.
If you’re a smart person, you know not to gatekeep knowledge. More often than not, you actually willingly share it.
You can explain big, complicated concepts and turn them into chunks of information that are easier to understand for everybody. Think: Hank Green and his science TikToks.
This is something that can be a little hard to understand when you’re young. When your IQ is above a certain level, it’s easy to think that everybody else is stupid.
But growing older also means that you’ve learned to grow out of this arrogance.
2) You’re not arrogant
A lot of “smart” people are arrogant.
However, these types of people are usually a lot less smart than they think they are—but you’re not one of them.
As a truly smart person, you don’t think you’re better than everyone else just because you happen to know more than them. In fact, you’re probably smart enough to know you’re not better than everyone.
And, more importantly, you don’t pretend to know everything.
You know that admitting your lack of knowledge is better than pretending you know something that you don’t; that the latter can actually make you look stupid.
Looking stupid is not really something you’re afraid of, though.
3) You’re not afraid of looking stupid
Looking stupid is a fear that a lot of people have.
We usually avoid people who are smarter than ourselves because we’re afraid of looking stupid in front of them.
But this is not something you’re afraid of.
You’re not afraid to admit you don’t know something, even when it’s something thought to be common knowledge.
You’re not afraid to ask “stupid” questions, even if you know you’re gonna get laughed at.
Because you know that at the core of all of this lies the road to discovering new knowledge—and there’s no amount of fear that could stop you from pursuing that journey.
4) You’re observant
Fake smart people love to be the center of attention.
They love to always be that one person talking everyone’s ears off about a very niche interest, like crypto or the stock trade.
But if you’re a genuinely smart person, you don’t really care much about that. You know the value of being observant.
This is probably the reason you’re probably smarter than you appear—because you don’t always try to grab the spotlight, and definitely don’t need the validation of strangers.
Instead of boasting about your knowledge and your achievements, you find it more productive to simply look and listen, because:
- you can tell so much about a person or a situation just by looking, and;
- you don’t feel an incessant need to prove yourself.
In fact, your high observation skills actually make you feel great empathy towards those around you.
5) You’re highly empathic
Emotional intelligence is something that people usually don’t expect of smart people. Knowledgeable, yes. Creative, maybe. But empathic? It’s rarely ever expected of them.
This might be because of our deeply rooted belief that smart people are arrogant and self-serving.
This might be true for some of them, but definitely not for all of them—and certainly not for you!
Research actually found that intelligent people have experienced great empathy.
In this study in 2021, people who were thought to be intellectually “gifted” also manifested high empathy.
So if you’re a person who is smart and feels deep empathy for those around you, you might just resonate with the findings of this particular trait.
6) You’re open-minded
Too often, we find ourselves unable to accept our mistakes when we make them.
We find shame in admitting we’re wrong.
But for clever people—for you—it’s quite the opposite.
The fact that you know that you don’t know everything means your mind is always open to new knowledge, even if this knowledge can sometimes challenge your very own belief systems.
This is because there’s nothing more important to smart people like you than the pursuit of knowledge and the truth.
In fact, you know very well that there is a danger to stubbornly believing in our own ideas without being open to those of others.
7) You’re passionate
Passion is a common trait of different types of intelligent people.
The greatest scientists are passionate about the world, with a thirst for discovering new knowledge.
The finest artists have a fiery passion for art and create wonderful things with their hands and their mind.
The world’s best writers are deeply passionate about expressing their feelings and imagination through stories.
So if you are passionate about something—may it be art, science, or stories—it might just mean that you are a highly intelligent person.
And this fiery passion is the gas that fuels your unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
8) You have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge
If you’re a smart person, you know that you don’t know everything.
But that doesn’t stop you from wanting to know everything there is in the world.
For some people, it’s enough to see the magic of the things they don’t know how to do or create.
But for you, you want to know it all—
How clothes are sewn.
How songs are composed.
How puzzles are solved.
How books are written.
Your desire for knowledge and discovery is just unstoppable.
And this is also probably why you have (too) many hobbies.
9) You have (too) many hobbies
Go back to how you spent the quarantine.
Did you take up more hobbies than you can count?
Sewing, knitting, cross-stitching, playing the guitar and the piano—I bet you tried to learn it all.
If you answered yes to the previous question, it might be a tell-tale sign that you are a very clever person.
Smart people have an intense passion for learning and discovery.
This is why you might find yourself itching to learn new things, especially when you’re bored—and these hobbies really scratch that itch.
Despite this fiery passion, though, you still have high self-control.
10) You have high self-control
In a modern culture of instant gratification, dopamine highs, and easy access to virtually anything, it’s so easy to be impulsive.
I myself have fallen victim to this. Feeling sad? Just check out whatever it is that pleases me at the moment in my shopping cart.
However, it was actually found that smart people have high self-control—and not just when it comes to online shopping.
They know when it’s not their turn to speak because it might hurt someone. They avoid arguments when they’re angry to stop themselves from saying hurtful things.
They know actions have consequences, and they’re always weighing the consequences of each decision they make.
However, this trait can also be to their detriment. Thinking too much causes them to worry often.
11) You worry often
Do you find yourself worrying often?
About every decision you make?
Sometimes even thinking too far ahead, falling down a slippery slope of consequences for each action you take?
A dire situation to constantly put yourself in, for sure—and a common trait for smart people.
This research shows a link between intelligence and a tendency to worry, even showing the association between intelligence and disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and depression.
So if you’re a smart person who often finds yourself worrying, it would probably do you some good to stop thinking every so often.