I’m quite sure all of us know someone, whether closely or from afar, who was always a bit of an oddball.
Maybe they’re someone with their nose constantly buried in a book, talking to themselves, and mostly alone. You just can’t figure them out.
Maybe you even recognize some of these habits in yourself.
Well, has it ever crossed your mind that these unimposing figures are geniuses-in-the-making?
Singular individuals have singular quirks, but these could be signs of an intelligent being.
Here are 7 weird habits that indicate a high level of intelligence.
1) They are curious
Intelligent people are naturally curious.
They want to learn what they can about the world around them.
Curiosity is a sign of a hungry mind. They think of questions not many would and are always open to trying new things.
Someone with a high curiosity quotient often comes up with original ideas that may or may not lie within the current norms. It also helps one solve complex problems.
Look no further than Albert Einstein, who said: “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”
2) They enjoy being alone
Another weird habit that indicates a high level of intelligence is enjoying solitude.
Research found that smarter people are less satisfied when they have to socialize with friends.
This could possibly be due to having less time for working on personal projects and other activities they would rather do alone.
They are also able to think and reflect, free from distractions and the necessary reciprocation in social situations.
Being alone also allows them to notice things more closely than they would if they were occupied with interacting with people.
3) They are more active at night
Being more active at nighttime is one of the weird habits that indicate a high level of intelligence.
A 2009 study suggested that a tendency towards eveningness—that is, being a night owl—is a relatively new evolutionary trait.
Those with higher IQs are more likely to deviate from certain evolutionary traits, specifically the circadian rhythm. To refresh your memory, circadian rhythm refers to the changes following a 24-hour cycle that respond to light and dark.
A second study conducted by Belgian researchers tested cognition of both early risers and night owls 1.5 hours and 10.5 hours after waking.
Both groups tested equally well 1.5 hours after waking, but after 10.5 hours, night owls scored better.
Yet another study showed that night owls hit a peak of energy at 9:00 p.m. that early risers never match, which the researchers attribute to “maximal central nervous system drive”.
4) They tend to daydream
One of the weird habits that indicate a high level of intelligence is daydreaming.
Though daydreaming is usually associated with having one’s head up in the clouds and being unable to concentrate, it can actually help solve problems and stimulate the flow of new ideas.
In science, daydreaming is believed to be most closely associated with “mind-wandering”, in which you are thinking about things not connected to your current activity or task.
Mind wandering also plays a vital role in maintaining your brain’s focus levels, getting the creative juices flowing, and having a better understanding of other people’s mental state.
So remember that classmate of yours that’s always looking out the window, with their face a picture of concentration? Don’t write them off—there might be a genius in your midst.
5) They embrace failure
What was it that Thomas Edison said, when he yet again did not successfully invent a working light bulb? “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Perhaps another weird habit that indicates a high level of intelligence is accepting failure with open arms.
Not getting discouraged in the face of apparent failure requires one to have certain qualities; persistence, patience, and grit, to name a few.
Nearly every famous person in history—even those whose names we immediately associate with genius—has experienced failure.
Let me again use Albert Einstein as an example. As a youth, he was first believed to be mentally slow and antisocial, having begun speaking at four years old and reading at seven.
But we all know how wrong that turned out to be.
6) They are avid readers
Whatever preconceived notions you have of bookworms, hopefully this discussion on this habit will disabuse you of it, for reading a lot has varied benefits to a person’s intelligence.
Reading books, whether fiction or nonfiction, can open your mind to new ideas, places, cultures, and people.
Calling it “weird” may not be true for everybody, but reading is a weird habit that indicates a high level of intelligence.
Personally, I enjoy reading historical fiction (Philippa Gregory books about the royal family in 16th to 18th century England).
As a result, I’ve learned so much about real facts and real people with the bonus of imagined events and relationships.
I’ve also read other historical fiction novels by other authors, such as Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha and Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko, which shed light on the history of Japan and Korea, respectively.
One of my favorites is one you may be more familiar with: Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, which only lit the fire of my interest in all things Mob-related.
Another favorite is Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, which was a story of Black maids against the backdrop of 1960’s racially-charged United States.
Another very good book that I recommend whenever the opportunity presents itself is Arlene J. Chai’s The Last Time I Saw Mother, the story of three Filipino-Chinese women across generations, in post-war Manila, Philippines.
The very act of reading also helps brain health, by stimulating areas of the brain and improving connectivity.
It may also lessen the likelihood of suffering memory loss and cognitive decline, and increase concentration and focus.
7) They are frequent walkers
While walking is an activity that can benefit one physically, what you might not know is that it can also help keep your brain healthy.
For one, walking stimulates the release of BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is necessary to create new neurons and ensure that existing neurons survive. BDNF is a molecule essential to learning- and memory-related changes.
It can also jumpstart creativity, thanks to the increase in oxygen and nutrients that go to the brain during this exercise.
Walking can also decrease your risk for cognitive decline.
According to a study, older adults who walked 4,000 steps or more daily had better cognitive functioning and thicker medial temporal lobe, which contain “memory-critical regions”.
This physical activity also curbs the effects of stress: impaired memory, attention, and cognitive flexibility—especially so when walking amidst nature.
Neuroscientist Andrew Huberman of Stanford Medicine’s Department of Neurobiology said that the stress-reducing effect of walking outdoors involves “optic flow”, or our perception of things moving past us that helps quiet the mind.
Different types of intelligence
While intelligence is often associated with excellence in academics, or being “book-smart”, as some people call it, there is no denying that this is not where it ends.
Athletes, dancers, craftsmen, and surgeons have bodily-kinesthetic intelligence thanks to the mind-body connection.
Those who can ask and reflect on the meaning of life and similar questions exhibit existential intelligence.
Intrapersonal intelligence is seen in people who can understand themselves and use this to pave a path in their own lives; they are mostly spiritual leaders and psychologists.
Teachers, social workers, politicians, and actors, meanwhile, are able to interact with others effectively, both in verbal and nonverbal communication, thereby displaying interpersonal intelligence.
There is also linguistic intelligence and logical-mathematical intelligence, that help us express complex thoughts and solve problems, respectively.
Musical intelligence is possessed by composers, singers, conductors, and even listeners.
Farmers, plant scientists and chefs, too, possess what is called naturalist intelligence, an understanding of living things and nature in general.
Finally, there is spatial intelligence, which has to do with imagery, spatial reasoning, graphic and artistic skills among others. Pilots, architects and sculptors, to name a few, possess this intelligence.
The bottom line
Knowing the weird habits that indicate a high level of intelligence helps us recognize it in ourselves or others, and hopefully, foster it.
It also helps us be less discriminative of people whose habits we find “weird.”
After all, we’re all weird in some way. For others, it’s just a brilliant mind shining through.