6 Signs You’re Intelligent (Even If You Don’t Think So)

What would you say about your intelligence? Do you think your IQ is average, or even above average? Or maybe you find it too cheesy to give yourself so much credit, so you think your intellectual abilities are not as high as you’d like them to be?

As you’ll soon learn, intelligence is not always about being able to learn huge books of definitions, solving quantum physics equations or multiplying big numbers in your head. Being smart can mean a lot of things – and even if you don’t think so, you’re probably much smarter than you think. If you’re interested to learn more, keep reading!

1. You’re highly creative

Do you feel like you have an artistic soul? Maybe you like to paint, play an instrument, dance… No matter your preferred art form, if you’re creative, you’re most likely intelligent too!

For a long time, psychologists have considered creativity to be a form of intelligence. And even though research has shown that intelligent people aren’t necessarily creative, the opposite is usually true – the ones who are creative are also intelligent! This is because creativity is not just about being talented to paint a pretty picture. It’s also about thinking outside the box, finding new solutions for problems, having a different perspective. And you these are all traits that intelligent people have!

2. Your room is a bit messy

Have you ever heard of the term “creative mess”? As it turns out, that’s not just an excuse messy people give to justify their messiness, it’s actually backed by research!

A study published in a journal Psychological Science in 2013 found that working in a cluttered and messy room can actually spark creativity. In the study, 48 participants were asked to come up with unusual and creative ways to use a table tennis ball. The 24 people who worked in the clean room gave far fewer creative answers than those who worked in the messy room. And since we know creativity goes hand in hand with intelligence, you could say that your creative mess actually shows off how clever you are.

So: if someone complains about the state of your room, tell them you’re just sparking your creativity and innovation!

3. You have smart friends

People say: “like attracts like”. And when it comes to intelligence, this might be true!

When we choose our friends or partners, we usually tend to hang out with those we have something in common with. Of course, this doesn’t mean we want them to be 100% the same as we are, but we need some common ground to have something to talk about, right?

Think about the people you hang out with. Do you think they’re smart and talented? If the answer is yes – you’re probably just as smart as them! Think about it, if they were above your level, you would probably feel bored in their company. Maybe you wouldn’t understand them or you wouldn’t know how to even start a meaningful conversation with them. But, because you’re all such a smart bunch (including you!), you’re able to connect on a deeper level.

4. You’re empathetic

Do you care about other people deeply? Do you always try to see their perspective, and can you feel their pain if someone close to you is hurting? If you think that description suits you, you probably have high empathy and emotional intelligence, commonly known as EQ.

Emotional intelligence is an important aspect of intelligence – it’s the ability to understand emotions and express them in ways that are healthy and productive. Being empathetic, which is a key component of emotional intelligence, means that you can see things from someone else’s point of view. It means that you can see if someone is struggling – you have no problem reading their subtle body language cues. It means you’re deeply accepting of everyone around you, and you have no problem understanding their experiences. It’s a special type of talent that deserves to be called a type of intelligence, and you can be proud of being this way!

5. You want to know eeeverything!

We just talked about EQ – emotional intelligence quotient. You’ve probably heard about IQ – general intelligence quotient. But have you heard of the curiosity quotient – CQ? Curiosity quotient represents your desire and motivation to learn new things. And it’s been shown that the more you’re curious, you’re also probably more intelligent. But why is that? It could be that curious people “feed their curiosity” by investing a lot of time and effort researching new things and learning as much as they can. Also, they are more likely to come up with original ideas which helps them solve problems more effectively. So, if you love to learn new things about the world around you, you’re probably much smarter than you think!

6. You don’t think you’re very smart

Do you know that one person who just loves to boast and tell everyone how smart they are? And at the same time, there’s this other person who is clearly clever, but has a low opinion about their intelligence?

This is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect – a cognitive bias that makes people overestimate, or underestimate their intelligence. It has been shown by research that people who are more intellectually gifted hold more realistic and grounded views of themselves. They know how much there is to learn and they recognize intelligence in other people. Because they know this, they spend their time seeking knowledge, as much as they can get.  This makes them feel like they’re not really smart, but it’s exactly what makes them smart in the first place. 

Closing thoughts

What do you think? Do some of these points describe you?

It’s always so easy to think the worst about ourselves. Or to simply disregard all the nice things others tell us. But there’s really no reason for you to think you’re not smart. Intelligence is a very, very wide concept, so wide that even today psychologists are still researching it and finding out new things about it everyday. The one thing they do agree on is that you can be intelligent in many different ways. You don’t have to be Einstein to be intelligent. And if you allow yourself to see it, you’ll be able to fulfill your potential even further!


Cherry, K. (2021, August 6). Dunning-Kruger Effect: Why Incompetent People Think They Are Superior. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/an-overview-of-the-dunning-kruger-effect-4160740

Raypole, C. (2020, December 15). 11 Signs of Intelligence Proving There’s More Than One Way to Be a Genius. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-intelligence#empathy

Shana Lebowitz & Áine Cain, Business Insider. (2018, November 17). 17 Signs You Might Be Smart – Even if It Doesn’t Feel Like It. ScienceAlert. https://www.sciencealert.com/17-science-backed-signs-you-re-smarter-than-you-realise

Vohs, K. D., Redden, J. P., & Rahinel, R. (2013). Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity. Psychological Science, 24(9), 1860–1867. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613480186

Wai, J. (2011, April 12). If You Are Creative, Are You Also Intelligent? Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-the-next-einstein/201104/if-you-are-creative-are-you-also-intelligent

Zivanovic, V. (2015, December 21). 10 Signs You’re Exceptionally Smart Though You Don’t Appear To Be. Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-signs-youre-exceptionally-smart-though-you-dont-appear.html

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