8 subtle signs you’re more intelligent than you think

Intelligence is a multifaceted attribute that extends beyond good grades and high IQ scores. It’s woven subtly into your habits, behaviors, and natural inclinations. Sometimes, you may be showcasing your intelligence without even realizing it. 

To help you identify these signs, I’ve gathered 8 subtle indicators that hint at a high level of intelligence. 

By the end of this article, you might discover you’re smarter than you think! 

1) You’re a night owl

Have you always felt more awake and creative during the late-night hours? If you’re a night owl, it may be a sign you’re more intelligent than you think.

A study from the London School of Economics suggests that people who are naturally nocturnal tend to be smarter. 

It’s thought that intelligent people are more likely to be night owls because they are more inclined to seek novel experiences—nighttime providing the perfect backdrop.

Still, this doesn’t mean you should start staying up late to boost your IQ. 

Remember, your physical health is paramount, and a lack of sleep can have serious repercussions. It’s more about the natural tendency for night-time activity, rather than actively fighting sleep.

2) You’re often lost in thought

Another sign that you might be more intelligent than you think is if you’re a daydreamer or you’re often lost in thought. 

The funny thing is, people used to think this habit is kind of, well, ditzy. But thanks to research, daydreaming or getting lost in the clouds now gets a good rap. It’s now considered a sign of a highly active and intelligent brain. 

In other words, getting lost in your thoughts means your brain is actually working overtime.

On the flip side, don’t mistake constant daydreaming for productivity. While it’s a sign of intelligence, it’s equally important to stay focused and grounded in reality. 

After all, daydreams are only effective when they inspire actions that lead to achieving your goals.

3) You doubt yourself a lot

Here’s a strange paradox: apparently, if you’ve ever felt like you’re not as smart as people think, that’s a sign you actually are. 

That’s the Dunning-Kruger effect, which suggests that intelligent people are more likely to underestimate their abilities. 

So, those self-doubts you’re feeling may just be a sign that you’re smarter than you give yourself credit for.

That said, it’s important not to let this self-doubt consume you. Yes, it’s a sign of intelligence, but it shouldn’t lead to self-deprecation or inaction. 

Use it to stay humble and keep striving for self-improvement, which I’m pretty sure is also a strong suit of yours because…

4) You understand how much you don’t know

The most intelligent people are often those who realize that they have so much more to learn. Remember the Dunning-Kruger effect?

As a smart person, you’re very much aware of your own limitations, and you constantly seek new opportunities to grow. 

Again, it’s crucial to maintain balance. While acknowledging that there’s so much you don’t know is a sign of intelligence, it shouldn’t paralyze you from making decisions or taking actions. 

It’s about walking the fine line between knowing your limitations and pushing your boundaries.

Remember, intelligence is not only about understanding the world but also understanding ourselves.

5) You’re adaptable

Understanding the world means you accept that change is inevitable, and that conflicts and problems are part and parcel of life. 

See, intelligence isn’t all about acing exams or solving complex math problems. Even the way you easily adjust to new environments and changes is a sign of high intelligence. 

This ability to adapt is a vital evolutionary trait, a clear indicator of an intelligent mind that can navigate through life’s unpredictable twists and turns.

This leads me to my next point…

6) You’re good at managing your emotions

Those unpredictable twists and turns? Sometimes they can get so overwhelming and stressful. 

How do intelligent people manage? 

Well, they’re not just book-smart or street-smart; they’re also adept at regulating their emotions. 

That’s emotional intelligence at work, and it’s as crucial as academic intelligence, if not more so. 

If you’re the type who can stay cool while there’s chaos all around you, rest assured,  you’re smarter than you think. Your high emotional intelligence equips you with the skills necessary to withstand the storms!

Not only that, but they are also your secret to building wide social networks and strong, meaningful relationships.

7) You enjoy your own company

Even though you do enjoy the company of other people, you’re also comfortable spending time alone. That’s another subtle sign you’re more intelligent than you think you are. 

You see, for intelligent people, solitude is not a lonely time but an opportunity to reflect, generate new ideas, and be with their thoughts. 

In fact, the most creative minds in the world do their best work while in solitude. 

8) You have a good sense of humor

Finally, believe it or not, having a good sense of humor is linked with high intelligence. Intelligent people are often good at seeing the humor in situations and making others laugh. 

Do you know why humor is considered a sign of intelligence? Because it’s actually a complex mental activity. Take a look at what being humorous involves: 

  • Sharp cognitive skills, abstract thinking, mental agility, and creativity to grasp language nuances and contexts 
  • Social intelligence to read an audience and figure out what others will find funny
  • Problem-solving abilities and quick thinking to nail comedic thinking and original thought
  • Psychological complexity to hold and reconcile the conflicting thoughts that go into a joke

True enough, the smartest people I know are not the serious and brooding types. They’re the ones who crack me up with the wittiest comebacks and the most insightful and thoughtful jokes. 

Final thoughts

So, do you still think you can’t hold a candle to the smartest people you know? If you recognize yourself in any of these signs, you definitely can!

That said, the key takeaway here is to appreciate these traits in yourself, but also remember to balance them with mindfulness and empathy toward others.

After all, intelligence isn’t just about how much we know—it’s about how we apply it to make the world a better place.

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