8 ways intelligent people see the world differently

Technology is advancing at breakneck speed and making incredible changes to the world and how we live in it.

I think about my grandmother’s life with total amazement.

She lived through the advent of cars (the first one she saw made her cry and run away) and telephones, followed by computers, the Internet, and even smartphones and tablets.

So I can’t even imagine what I’ll see in my lifetime.

But very intelligent people can. In fact, that’s one thing that sets them apart.

Truly intelligent people see the world differently in a number of unique ways, and this different perspective allows them to drive change and innovation across the world.

Here are some examples of how really intelligent people’s perspectives differ from those of the average person. 

1) They see deeply into objects.

When a regular person looks at any object, a car, let’s say, they typically see it quite superficially.

OK, unless they have a lot of specialized knowledge of cars.

They’ll probably look at the color, the shape, the make and model. They’ll probably even take in a bit of the interior design, maybe the lights, and will make an assessment of how much they think the price tag is.

Highly intelligent people, on the other hand, will look into so much more

They look at the materials and the connections between them.

They look at the techniques used to assemble the different parts and even dismantle the parts in their mind’s eye.

They think about the sources of the materials, the history and development of the design, the people who may have made the car, where and how they live, and a lot more.

They use an incredible knowledge base and inquisitiveness to see objects as whole histories, not just as superficial things to touch and look at.

2) They don’t just accept things as they are.

They never stop questioning and looking for holes in theories or incorrect perceptions. Why?

Because they want to find out more about how the world works and always wonder if we’re correct or not in our understanding.

That’s why highly intelligent people make great scientists and, indeed, developed scientific thinking in the first place.

Science is inquisitiveness into the nature of the world around us, applied through a controlled framework.

Essentially, you look at how something seems to work, develop a theory on why, and then test that theory to find out if it’s correct or not. 

Being incorrect is exciting for these people because it means there’s something we thought we understood correctly that we don’t, or not quite.

Intelligent people are always wondering “how” and “why” and are interested in finding answers, even if they almost always lead to new questions.

3) They see infinite depth.

pic1248 1 8 ways intelligent people see the world differently

It’s not just objects that super-smart people seek to understand in great depth.

Most of us regular folks just navigate the world with our daily routines and don’t think too much about it. We just see what the world presents us with and try to deal with it.

We’re too busy just surviving.

But super-smart people are totally absorbed in the incredible depth and texture of the world around them.

They can always dig deeper into anything they see, peeling back information like the layers of an infinite onion.

As I already mentioned, they deconstruct objects.

But it doesn’t stop there.

They think about concepts, pulling them apart to see how they’re constructed.

They look at natural and artificial systems and find depth in them that amazes and obsesses them.

In short, they never stop looking for more and are never disappointed because they can always find it.

4) They almost never get bored.

You know those days when there’s just nothing at all to do?

OK, you’ve got Netflix, so they’re probably not as common as they once were.

But I bet there still are times that most people feel there’s just nothing interesting to do – life is just boring.

Not so for the highly intelligent among us.

Because of their unstoppable curiosity and ability to look deeper into the world around them, they almost never find themselves bored.

They can entertain themselves by observing, wondering, and investigating that less intelligent people simply can’t.

But I did say “almost never”.

Really intelligent people can find themselves bored or at least not appropriately stimulated in situations where they’re not intellectually challenged.

School is a perfect example – if these people aren’t streamed into more challenging classes, they’ll feel stuck in systems that hold them back from learning and satisfying their curiosity, and they can actually get quite bored.

5) They see the small things.

I’ve already mentioned how highly intelligent people can look deeper and deeper into the details of objects and systems.

In fact, research has found that they’re better than average at seeing physical motion in small objects.

But they also see this motion in larger objects, which seems peculiar.

Or at least it does until the scientists who conducted this study explain what it might mean. 

They suggest that this is something fundamentally different about how the brains of high-IQ people work.

There’s so much information in the world that it can be distracting and even overwhelming, especially to people who process so much of it.

Therefore, scaling down to focus on small details while paying less attention to larger patterns may be a coping strategy for smart people.

They manage to block out information that would otherwise distract them, and that may make their brains more efficient.

6) They perceive a need to hide.

pic1077 8 ways intelligent people see the world differently

This is a very interesting point about super-smart people that most others don’t know about.

Because they’re highly intelligent, these people tend to notice things quicker than others, and one thing they notice at a young age is that they seem to be smarter than their peers.

But humans are social animals, and when you’re a kid, sticking out from the group or being different can be a very difficult thing to deal with.

So rather than letting their intellects shine, so many very intelligent people hide themselves away in an attempt to fit in or just to avoid ridicule like being called a smarty-pants.

It’s funny to think of “smart” as an insult, but for kids trying to fit in, it certainly can be, as it can be a source of jealousy for others.

In the end, many super-smart people learn to hide their intelligence even into adulthood.

While it normally seeps out in their behaviors, you might suddenly find yourself completely surprised to find just how intelligent someone you know is!

7) They clearly see their own limitations.

The Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates is famous for saying, “I know that I know nothing.”

His renowned intelligence aside, Socrates was expressing by this just how little he actually knew about the world on the whole.

He felt like his knowledge and intellect were so limited that he basically knew such a small part of all there is to know that it was closer to zero.

Statistics would probably back him up on this today.

On the other side of things is the Dunning-Kruger effect, a bias that makes people with limited understanding or competence overestimate their knowledge.

In other words, people who don’t know very much about something don’t know how much there is to know, so they think they know a bigger portion than they do.

They don’t know how much they don’t know.

For bright folks like Socrates, this doesn’t happen.

They see the limits of their knowledge.

Although they might recognize their superior intelligence, they know how much there is to learn about the vast universe and how little they already know.

8) They see “–isms” for what they are.

Nationalism, conservatism, Catholicism, patriotism, communism, militarism…

These are some of the “-isms” that most of us take for granted.

We agree that there are countries, religions, political systems, and all these other -isms that structure our lives. 

But really intelligent people see these systems for what they truly are – human-made systems.

These structures control the way we think and act, and for highly intelligent people, that’s not ideal.

They tend to highly value free thought, unencumbered by limits and directions that come from the top down.

That’s why they bristle against the rules and outlines of –isms. They see these systems as inflexible (which they generally are) and prefer to stay outside of them to pursue their own intellectual curiosities.

The world is different to the ultra-smart

These eight ways intelligent people see the world differently are extremely important if you want to understand these people, especially if you’re one of them.

They guide the way they think and interact both with the world and others around them.

They also show us just how different highly intelligent people really are.

Picture of Marcel Deer

Marcel Deer

Marcel is a journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur. When not obsessing over his man cave or the latest tech, he’s failing helplessly at training his obnoxious rescue dog ‘Boogies’.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.