It goes without saying that intelligence has its perks.
Quick thinking, problem-solving prowess, and a thirst for knowledge are just a few of the benefits that come with being naturally smart.
But like everything else in life, there’s always a flip side.
If you consider yourself intelligent, chances are you don’t notice some of the quirks and behaviors you exhibit–things that quietly influence your interactions and decision-making processes.
In this article, we’ll uncover the subtle habits you may not realize you’re doing because, well, you’re naturally smart.
Let’s dive in!
1) You tend to overanalyze things
Here’s the thing: since smart people have “big” brains, this means there’s more real estate for other mental activities. Case in point: the intelligent person’s tendency to overthink.
They say ignorance is bliss, so when you’re not ignorant, what does this mean for you? Well, often it indicates a proneness for overanalyzing.
Smart people might dissect and replay everyday interactions in their heads, or analyze every possible outcome.
Maybe they’ll read into things that are meaningless and put meaning to them. They may get so caught up in thinking about all the possible outcomes that they can be highly indecisive at times.
2) You struggle with small talk
Smart people like to converse about things that matter and have depth. They enjoy intellectually stimulating topics. Anything less, they may have a tendency to struggle.
That’s why they might get awkward in certain social situations–after all, one can only talk about the weather so much.
Small talk is often considered superficial and mundane and the intelligent person has a hard time faking pleasantries. To make a long story short, they aren’t plastic.
Because of this, smart people occasionally come across as snobs or distant to certain people. This brings me to my next point…
3) You might be an intellectual snob
Speaking of snobs, intellectual snobbery is a negative trait that can often manifest in some smart folk.
It involves looking down on others who are deemed to be less intelligent or knowledgeable.
This can lead to a lack of respect for others and difficulty in forming positive relationships.
Smart people may need to learn to appreciate the strengths of others, and not judge them solely based on their level of intelligence.
By doing so, they can have more positive and meaningful relationships.
My cousin is one of the smartest people I know. She’s overachieved her entire life.
Academically, she was brilliant. She graduated with an MBA from one of the top business schools in the world… on a full scholarship. Now she runs a successful start-up in Silicon Valley.
But at times, she’s also flawed. For instance, she has a tendency to look down on others who she feels aren’t on her level of intelligence.
Whenever she comes home, she likes to lecture our family and friends about how to live their lives… alluding to how her ways are vastly superior.
This habit creates alienation and disillusionment—things that with a bit more intellectual humility can be avoided.
4) You sometimes lack creativity
Many intelligent people are often analytical and logical thinkers, which at times makes it difficult for them to think creatively.
They might have a hard time generating new ideas, as their minds tend to focus on analyzing and organizing information.
They occasionally overlook that creativity is a valuable trait in many areas of life, including art, business, and problem-solving.
5) You underestimate others
Another habit that smart people seem to possess is underestimating others.
Being highly intelligent, you’re inclined to believe that you’re the only one in the room who can get things done properly, which can lead to micromanaging and a lack of trust in your peers.
Like my cousin, you can also alienate people with this mentality once they catch on.
That said, it’s important to remember that everyone has their own strengths and abilities.
Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks and trust others to get the job done. You’ll be surprised by how much you can achieve when you work with others.
6) You rely too heavily on intellect
But the catch is that sometimes they might overlook other crucial stuff.
For example, emotions and feelings can be a bit of a puzzle for them. Building deep and meaningful relationships often takes a backseat to more intellectual pursuits.
Practical skills? Well, let’s just say they might be stellar in theory but stumble a bit in everyday hands-on tasks. Smart people are in their thoughts while the rest of us have to deal with the nitty-gritty.
7) You sometimes neglect self-care
As a smart person, you’re probably highly focused on achieving your goals. But keep in mind that it’s important to take care of yourself as well.
Neglecting self-care can lead to burnout and reduced productivity.
Make sure to prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Do things you enjoy!
Believe it or not, there’s more to life than work or study.
Take breaks when necessary. Also, get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and spend time doing things you enjoy.
When I work for long hours, I find that my production suffers. I get caught up and feel guilty when I feel like taking a break.
But when I think about it, I realize that taking time off to do things I enjoy or find relaxing gives me a much clearer head.
In turn, I’m far more motivated to produce quality results.
8) You assume others think like you
I’ll go out on a limb and guess that you sometimes assume that others can effortlessly grasp complex concepts like you can.
This assumption can lead to miscommunication and frustration, especially when collaborating in teams or teaching others.
It is important for the intellectually gifted to recognize and appreciate people’s differences, adjusting their communication and teaching methods accordingly. Time to get off that high horse!
Having empathy and patience while simultaneously acknowledging the diverse perspectives of others can improve teamwork, facilitate knowledge transfer, and promote mutual growth and success. Real talk.
9) You drink too much
Many smart people I’ve come across have been prone to overindulge in alcohol. They do this as a form of escapism.
Smart people sometimes get jaded by the mundanity of everyday life. To change things up a bit and feel something, they might turn to the bottle.
Smart people may also struggle with social situations particularly if they feel that others don’t share their interests or level of intelligence. As we’ve established, they often find small talk or social niceties to be boring or meaningless and prefer more substantial topics.
To lower their inhibitions and fit in with the crowd, alcohol provides a quick fix.
This reminds me of something Ernest Hemingway said: “ An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.”
10) You sometimes feel like a misunderstood loner
Occasionally, smart folks often find themselves wandering through a world where they don’t quite fit in.
Their high-level way of thinking sets them apart from the crowd, leaving them feeling like they’re on a different wavelength than their peers.
It’s a challenge for them to find fellow thinkers who share their enthusiasm for knowledge and can keep up with their rapid-fire thoughts. This can occasionally lead to loneliness and isolation.
11) You sometimes lack empathy
As we’ve established, dealing with feelings can sometimes be a foreign practice to some smart people.
An extreme example is Benedict Cumberback’s version of Sherlock Holmes, an incredible genius but also a character devoid of any emotion.
Sherlock may have been an amazing detective but he was virtually incapable of making any human connections.
Smart people’s focus on logical reasoning and problem-solving can overshadow their ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and be empathetic.
It’s not that they don’t care; it’s just that their minds are wired to prioritize analysis over emotions.
As a result, they might unintentionally come across as cold or distant.
It’s important for smart people to recognize this tendency and make the extra effort to empathize with others and actively listen to their feelings and experiences.
In conclusion, being a naturally smart person can be both a blessing and a curse. While your intelligence can help you achieve great things, it can also lead to self-imposed limitations and bad habits.
By being aware of these tendencies and working on them, you can empower yourself to reach your full potential.
Remember, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about progress. And with a little self-awareness and a lot of hard work, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.