10 signs you’re not unintelligent, you’re just overthinking

Are you an overthinker? If you are, that must be why you’ve ended up here! 

You want to know how to stop, don’t you? Many of us overthinkers tend to underestimate ourselves thanks to feedback from others. 

And in addition to that, we’re so hard on ourselves!

Here are 10 signs you should give yourself more credit, because you’re actually capable of achieving great things – that is, if you didn’t overthink so much!

Let’s get started…

1) You take on more tasks than you can manage

Here’s the first sign you’re not unintelligent, but are just overthinking: you take on more tasks than you can manage.

Sometimes, when you try to achieve so much in one go, things can turn out badly. 

Why is that?

Maybe you’ve got too much on your plate and can’t focus on your tasks. That leads you to perform poorly, making your managers think you’re incapable.

But the truth is: you’re just unable to prioritize. It’s not that you’re unintelligent! 

Many people take on more tasks than they can manage because they want to show someone else what they’re capable of. 

Perhaps you’ve felt restless with your role at work and want to explore new ways to contribute to your team. 

The problem with this, though, is that you aren’t putting in this extra effort for YOURSELF.

Let me explain…

People who take on more tasks than they can manage are usually trying to prove something to others. And this brings me to my next point…

2) You work to prove yourself to others (but why?)

…you work to prove yourself to others. But why?! 

Let me tell you a story: I used to be a people-pleaser many years ago and it set me up for failure.

That’s because I was never doing what I thought was right but what I thought I OUGHT to do. And it put me at the mercy of others, making me think I was unintelligent…

Maybe you want to impress your parents after a failed business venture, or make up for a bad score on a test. Sounds familiar?

But here’s where you’ve got it wrong. You’re not putting in that work because YOU want to do well!

You’re working so hard because there’s a part of you that wants validation. And that’s just not the way to go…

This is the root of your tendency to overthink: you’re always worrying about how others see you.

And you’re also letting the past affect how you behave in the present! Let’s talk more about this in the next point.

3) You let your past mistakes define you

So, you agree that you let your past mistakes define you. Well, what to do next?

Here’s what I think: you’re once again worrying about the way you are being perceived by others!

Let’s go back to my previous point where I talked about how you wanted to do better on a test because your parents were disappointed. 

You’re essentially letting your past mistakes define you; since you felt like a “failure” the first time, you don’t want to experience that again.

So you work harder trying to do better the next time!

Which isn’t a problem, by the way…

The real problem is that this type of mindset leads you to overthink. And it makes you feel unintelligent, because you don’t see how YOU’RE improving.

You’re only seeing the end goal, which is to impress someone else!

4) You tend to worry about the future

And that’s why you’re someone who tends to worry about the future as well. Then again, who doesn’t?

We all worry about the future. About bills to be paid, about a medical checkup, about meeting with our boss.

But many people don’t really overthink it; they just let the thought linger in their mind for a moment before it passes.

For you, though, you tend to worry about the future – obsessively. You think that worrying helps you keep that important task in mind so you can make sure to do your best for it.

But here’s the thing: you’re subconsciously trying to control the outcome. You think, “if I worry about the future enough, I’ll always be prepared for anything that crops up.”

That’s a recipe for disaster. And it makes you paralyzed by fear, so much so that you feel afraid to make important decisions!

Let’s talk about that right now…

5) You’re afraid to make big decisions

As an overthinker, you’re afraid to make big decisions. And let me tell you, this is one way to make yourself feel unintelligent.

You may have heard from friends or parents that you “can’t make up your mind” or “you’re too picky”. 

And even if they don’t say it out loud, these people are hinting to you that you can’t make decisions on your own. 

Which can come off as unintelligent to them…

We all know that intelligence has nothing to do with just getting good grades. It also has to do with being able to take charge of your own life.

That’s why overthinking big decisions can make you feel unintelligent. 

It’s like your mind is going around in circles, and you just don’t know why!

6) You put yourself down a lot

Speaking of your mind going around in circles, you also can’t help but put yourself down all the time. 

Listen to me: you don’t have to do that. And I know how hard it is as an overthinker – you feel like you can’t be sure about anything you do unless you obsess over it.

Here’s the problem. You’re doing the same thing to yourself! 

Because you’re so used to “perfection” in what you do, you get upset if you show signs that YOU aren’t “perfect”.

But hey, no one is. It’s an illusion: we will never have control over some things like the way others see us. And I mentioned this earlier too.

Realize that you are intelligent, much more than you think – you’re just too hard on yourself

This leads me to my next point…

7) You let other people speak for you

…you let other people speak for you! Now why do you do that?

It’s got to do with the fact that you don’t feel intelligent enough. You believe that other people “know better” anyway, so why not let them make the big decisions?

I talked earlier about being afraid to make big decisions – when you’re an overthinker, you tend to mull over your options instead of making a choice.

And if this decision involves other people – say, moving to a new place for a job and leaving your partner back home – you worry even more.

What overthinkers tend to do is this: they let the other person decide.

But again, I have to stress this. Practice not putting your life in the hands of others, even the people you love!

It’ll make you feel much more confident, and in turn, help you realize how intelligent you really are! 

8) You obsess over the small details

Another sign that you’re not unintelligent – but simply overthink everything – is that you obsess over the small details.

Let me explain.

Say you’re working on a project with a team and you’re given a task. However, you fail to turn it in by the deadline because you were so busy nitpicking your own work!

Like I mentioned earlier, someone who’s an overthinker tends to be a perfectionist. And as you can see in the example I just gave, this can actually affect other people around you. 

Next time you’re working on a project, look over it just once when you’re done and hand it in!

Don’t let your thoughts wander…remember, you’ve already checked it! What more is there to see?

9) You ask a lot of questions

Here’s another tendency you may have as an overthinker: you’re someone who asks a lot of questions.

Let me just preface my point by saying that it’s not a bad thing! In fact, I’m going to talk about why it makes YOU intelligent – so you can let out a sigh of relief…

Although I mentioned previously that being too careful can make you seem unintelligent, asking a lot of questions is an asset.

That is, if you ask the right ones…

Even though you may feel like you are overthinking when you have a lot of questions, it all depends on the types of questions you ask.

And here’s how you can learn to ask the right ones…

10) You don’t trust your intuition

…by trusting your intuition! That’s right – and I’m going to let you in on a secret.

When you follow your intuition, you are able to block out ALL the things I mentioned earlier that stop you from seeing your intelligence. 

Things like parental disapproval and negative feedback…

To end off, let me just reiterate the one thing you need to do to stop overthinking: no one’s opinion matters but yours. 

So find the courage to trust yourself. And soon enough, you’ll see that it pays off!

Juliana Mei

Juliana Mei

Juliana Mei is a content writer and marketer who's passionate about finding the best way to position your brand to your audience. She finds joy in art, music and literature, and most importantly, through writing, which she hopes to inspire others by.

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