7 Signs You Are Intelligent Without Knowing It.

Many believe that a person’s manners, routines, and physical appearance can tell us if they are intelligent or not. But, intelligence is not an observable trait. It is not a trait accurately measured by a standardized exam or grades. 

Intelligence has many facets, and it does not simply refer to the knowledge obtained through books. Yet, two things distinguish an intelligent person– their understanding that they do not know all the answers and their willingness to continue to learn.   

Shakespeare alluded to these two traits when he said, ” The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise know himself to be a fool,” in As You Like It. This alludes to a character trait common in intelligent people– the ability to practice self-awareness, one of the many qualities of an intelligent individual.

  • You are curious.

One trait of intelligent people is curiosity. Most people are motivated by money or fame, but curiosity is what motivates a wise person. Intelligent individuals seek to know and understand more about the world and those around them. They are always learning. 

A study conducted at Goldsmiths University in London asserts that learning affects your cognitive function and growth. The more you learn, the “bigger” your brain becomes. Perhaps, not literally, but you get the point. 

But, it is not enough to learn something. You have to be open to learning something new. According to the Journal of Individual Differences, traits such as open-mindedness and curiosity correlated with those who scored higher on IQ exams. 

Personally, the IQ exam is not an accurate representation of intelligence. Yet, many people think it is a valid barometer of intelligence. 

  • You are open-minded.

Jumping off from the previous point, open-mindedness is another trait intelligent people have in common. Being open-minded and curious go hand in hand because what use is it being curious about something if you are not willing to understand it. 

But, open-mindedness does not just mean being able to understand or accept different ideas. Open-mindedness, in the context of intelligence, refers to a willingness to see from different perspectives before making a judgment. Seeing from different perspectives allows you to gather more information and make more well-informed decisions. 

A 2008 study from Yale University asserted this belief– intelligent people tend to be more open-minded. 

  • You are messy.

Many people would assume that intelligent individuals are rigid. highly organized. While it may be the case for some, many intelligent folks are messy. However, do not confuse this–an aversion to order does not mean you are intelligent. 

The reason messiness is linked to intelligence is that messy provides ideas. Putting things that appear dissimilar next to each, such as a tennis ball and a coffee pot, can offer you ideas that you might have not thought of before. 

  • You are good at being by yourself.

Many people assume that intelligent individuals are introverts. While this makes sense, and it can be true in some cases, some intelligent people are extroverted. 

But, regardless of your MBTI or degree of comfortableness regarding being around others, intelligent individuals are content with spending some time alone. This time alone allows them to prioritize and plan. 

  • You talk to yourself.

If you talk to yourself, don’t worry about the weird looks others give you. It just means you might be a bit smarter than others. Talking to yourself out loud can have negative connotations. Often, people mistake it for a mental illness. 

However, talking out loud to yourself can be a sign of intelligence. A study by psychologists Paloma Mari-Beffa and Alexander Kirkham of Bangor University deduced that talking to yourself is important. It denotes self-control and it is a form of intelligence. We all have thoughts racing through our minds. Speaking them out loud is a way of organizing them. In fact, talking to yourself out loud conveys measured concentration. 

  • You are funny.

Humor is a great indicator of intelligence because humor is about understanding social and sometimes polemical events and distilling those events into something that strikes a chord with the person hearing the joke. 

A study from the University of New Mexico found that comedians and comics scored higher in verbal intelligence. 

  • You are not convinced that you are that intelligent. 

Lastly, many intelligent individuals are convinced that they are not that intelligent. The primary reason is that they know they have much more to learn. 

Whether you were able to find some of these traits in yourself or not, remember we all have different types of intelligence. Also, intelligence is not a fixed trait. It grows over time. 


Cain, I. (2017, November 22). 17 signs you’re intelligent – even if it doesn’t feel like it. The Independent. Retrieved April 14, 2022, from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/17-signs-you-re-intelligent-even-if-it-doesn-t-feel-like-it-a8069606.html 

Mautz, S. (2019, July 11). 9 signs you’re more intelligent than you think, according to Science. Inc.com. Retrieved April 14, 2022, from https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/9-signs-youre-more-intelligent-than-you-think-according-to-science.html 

Raypole, C. (2020, December 15). 11 surprising signs of Intelligence. Healthline. Retrieved April 14, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-of-intelligence 

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