Strange Signs That You May Be Smarter Than the Average Bear

By Jake Schroeder
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Many people want to be geniuses, but do you really know what that means? How do you know if you’re a genius? An IQ test is one good indicator, but there are a few common behaviors and signs that geniuses display, too.

There are well-known displays of genius, most often shown in conversation and test taking. However, there are other signs that most people have no clue they should look for. The following are some quirky behaviors that might be signs of genius.

You Enjoy Your Own Company

Though being a loner isn’t a rule, most intelligent people prefer their own company and solitude over hanging out with others. The silence gives them time to hear their thoughts and to process their ideas and emotions. Intelligent people like to be inside their own heads much more than others' heads.

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This doesn’t mean, though, that they don’t have friends. In fact, being around others has its own place for those with above-average intelligence. However, being around others too often or for long periods of time can be emotionally draining for highly intelligent people.

You Tend to Be Messy

If your personal spaces — especially your workspace — stay messy, it might be a sign of higher intelligence. It’s been said more than once that creative people are messy. This is also true for geniuses. Tidy workspaces tend to cramp the thought processes of intelligent people, while chaotic ones tend to encourage much more creativity.

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Perhaps this is because tidiness tends to draw lines, whereas clutter represents a mound of opportunities. Though being chosen for an episode of Hoarders might be taking things a bit too far, being messy just might mean you’re a bonafide genius.

You Find Yourself Spinning Your Wheels

Geniuses tend to procrastinate, almost turning it into an artform. This actually isn’t laziness, though. A genius procrastinates for one simple reason: They cannot decide where to start. Highly intelligent people usually have a head full of thoughts and ideas they want to try, but finding the starting point is a problem.

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Oddly enough, geniuses typically spend more time trying to weigh out each idea and choose the best one than they do actually working on them. Most geniuses, though, won’t begin as long as they feel confused about where to start.


You’re Picky About How You Use Your Resources

When geniuses finally do make decisions, they’re picky about how they spend their time, money and other resources. Once they’ve mentally settled on what’s important, they won’t be swayed, even if it seems like a terrible idea to others.

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All of this is, typically, because they’ve spent so much time thinking through things that they have it all mapped out. They’ve thought through the pros and cons of their choice, and once they decide to act, they’ll only focus on what they feel is vital to the success of the venture.

You Delegate With Ease

Thanks to their uncanny ability to map out the path of their venture beforehand, geniuses know exactly where their own resources will serve them best. This means that they have no qualms about delegating the remaining tasks to others and have no problem relinquishing control over a task that they don’t feel is worthy of their own time and effort.

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Delegation completed by a genius tends to be very successful. Perhaps this is because they can easily see other people's strengths, so they know who’ll be best for each task.

You Refuse to Rush

Geniuses take their time to decide what to do, so why would they not take their time to get it done? They’re gifted at finding shortcuts that make tasks easier, and they have no problem using those shortcuts if they’re efficient.

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However, geniuses won’t compromise with their work. If there’s a step in the process that they feel requires a lot of attention, they’ll dedicate that time to that step. If a genius feels that something is worth more time, there won’t be any rushing them. Perfectionism tends to be a companion to intelligence.


You Exercise — Maybe

Though some intelligent people may be quite thin, it is not usually due to an interest in exercise. It’s quite the opposite, actually, as intellectuals prefer to do intellectual work; being active is usually nowhere near the top of the priority list.

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Unfortunately, a lack of exercise can lead to gaining weight, which can potentially have a negative impact on intelligence levels. If you’re a genius and hope to keep that status, it’s important to balance mental and physical activity. Yoga is a great solitary workout. You could also exercise while listening to an audiobook to stimulate your mind.

You Find Loud Noises Overwhelming

In the same sense that highly intelligent people prefer solitude, loud noises are disturbing to them. This may be because geniuses are often living inside of their thoughts and sudden, loud sounds shock them out of their pondering. Or perhaps they assume one of their doomsday thoughts is becoming a reality.

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It’s not always sudden noises, though. Sometimes it’s simply sitting beside someone who’s chewing too loudly or a pipe that’s dripping incessantly. In this sense, it’s more often the unexpected and irritating noises that geniuses cannot handle — these prevent them from thinking.

You Want to "Know It All"

Like a cat, an intellectual’s curiosity is insatiable. Highly intelligent people have a deep need to know it all. It’s not for bragging rights or to prove to others just how smart they are, either. They simply want to know everything that they can.

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This characteristic leads to a lot of reading, a lot of pondering and a lot of questioning. In fact, highly intelligent people tend to ponder the deep questions, including what the meaning of just about everything on Earth is. Questions like these have led to great discoveries and advancements over time.


You Still Can Admit You Don't Know It All Yet

One great thing about very intelligent people is that they generally don’t know just how intelligent they are. More often than not, they underestimate their intelligence, whereas people with average and below-average intelligence overestimate their intelligence. The smarter the person is, the less confident they seem to be.

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For geniuses to be so smart, they’re actually very hard on themselves and are typically much less sure of themselves than others. This may simply be due to the fact that geniuses know that there’s much better out there and they expect themselves to be better.

You Have No Box

You know that saying, "Think outside the box"? This is something that highly intelligent people don’t normally need to be reminded of — mostly because they have no boxes. Traditional answers don’t satisfy or stimulate geniuses, so they’re automatically looking for extraordinary solutions to even the most ordinary problems.

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This trait most likely ties into the fact that geniuses need to fix things. If there’s a problem, it’s obvious that ordinary solutions aren’t going to fix it. If the ordinary did fix the problem, it wouldn’t really be a problem, would it?

You Are Empathetic

There are people out there who have very high IQs but very low emotional intelligence. This is due to the tendency to think mostly on an intellectual level. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Sherlock, you’ve seen this in action.

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However, there are those who can easily pick up on and understand what others are thinking and feeling. This is known as emotional intelligence and is important in relationships. Geniuses with strong empathy are much more social than those without it. They can also solve problems in different ways because they understand the "human" side of things.


You Are an Expert at Putting Distractions on Hold

While unexpected noises may cause a genius some problems, they can easily put everyday, common distractions out of their minds. They can put all of their focus into their work and completely tune out the world around them as long as nothing loud and unusual occurs.

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For instance, a genius who has children can often tune out the ordinary sounds of playing as they work. This is true even in the case of complex problem-solving. If one of the children starts screaming or being louder than usual, though, the genius may become increasingly distracted and irritable.

You See Connections Even When There Don't Seem to Be Any

One reason geniuses are so great at solving problems is that they have an incredible ability to see connections between things. Often, these connections aren’t seen by the average eye and have no obvious relationship at all.

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This is what makes innovators so different from others. Consider the fact that someone had to figure out that an explosive charge could make wheels carry you to your destination before cars became a reality. Because they also naturally think outside of the box, geniuses see connections that others sometimes even consider insane.

You Can Make Others Laugh

Geniuses tend to have as much verbal intelligence as they do mental intelligence, meaning that they often have awesome senses of humor. This may have something to do with those unfathomable connections that they make, at least in some cases. Perhaps it could be due to the wealth of information that’s floating around in their minds.

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It may also be due to being able to pick stories, sentences and other things apart and pointing out any mistakes and silliness in them. It’s not much of a surprise that geniuses are excellent at making sarcastic remarks.


Sometimes Your Humor Can Seem Inappropriate

While humor is a great thing, sometimes a highly intelligent person's sense of humor can get them into trouble. At times, the jokes go beyond silliness and lightheartedness to a much darker type of humor. While it may seem disrespectful, that’s not actually the way they intend it.

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When a genius tells a dark-humored joke or laughs at one, it’s actually due to a couple of things. First, it involves the connections that they’re easily able to make between topics. Second, they often think more on an intellectual level than an emotional one.

You Are a Cat Person

It makes sense that geniuses are curious like cats are, especially because they’re much more often cat people than dog people. This fact is often shown even in cartoons where the "evil genius" is sitting in his chair petting his cat.

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Why a cat, though, as opposed to man's best friend? Perhaps it’s simply due to the similarities in cats and geniuses. More likely, though, it’s because dogs are much more active and require more attention. Cats are self-sufficient and don’t require walks. (Remember, geniuses aren’t very fond of exercise.)

You Are a Worrier

Highly intelligent people are constantly learning new things, pondering questions and working to solve problems in new and interesting ways. Is it any wonder, then, that they tend to worry often and about almost everything? With all of this information rolling around in their heads, worry seems like a natural result.

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This may also be the reason that some highly intelligent people have used recreational drugs, such as marijuana and alcohol, as adults. It would make sense to turn to substances as a way to escape their own thoughts — though there are certainly healthier methods of coping.


You Find That Things Come Pretty Easily to You

Geniuses seem to have a completely unfair advantage. In most cases, they simply do not have to try as hard as others. First off, with the ability to make connections between things, highly intelligent people most likely understand things that others have to force, such as difficult definitions or scientific concepts.

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It may also be because they’re so naturally curious, always learning and highly adaptable, so challenges are more like adventures for them. If you’re one of those people who never has to study or prepare for things, you might be very intelligent.

You Are the Oldest Child

When there’s more than one child in the family, the oldest one is often the smartest of the group. This isn’t because all of the intelligence was passed onto the first child and there wasn’t much left for the rest. It’s actually more likely that parents are able to be more involved with the first child than the others.

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It’s important to note that the differences in the IQs of multiple children are generally not major. Also, there are plenty of families whose younger children do amazing things.

You’re the Night Owl, Not the Early Bird

It’s a pretty widely known idea that highly intelligent people tend to stay up later than others. Geniuses tend to prefer working all-nighters instead of rising with the sun. Is this a biological characteristic or simply a choice that they make?

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Because some very smart people are early risers, it’s safe to assume that being a night owl is more than likely a choice. It’s quite possible that this is simply a fact because the world is awake during the day. During the night, a person can work — and think — while it’s peaceful and quiet.


Your Vocabulary Includes Some Less-Than-Stellar Words

You might have been told when you were growing up something like, "People who cuss do so because they have nothing intelligent to say." It sounds accurate, but it may not be. Oddly enough, the more naughty words there are in a person's vocabulary, the bigger their overall vocabulary tends to be.

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Fortunately, you don’t have to swear like a sailor to sound intelligent, though. Learning a word a day and reading more can do the job as well. Less-taboo words definitely go over better in your career and in social situations, too.

You Prefer Cold Showers

Cold water has long been thought to wake up your nervous system and your brain, so it’s no surprise that cold showers may be linked to higher cognitive function. But those who love hot showers can still enjoy higher intellectual capabilities.

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Taking a dip in a cold pool or even splashing your face with cold water in the mornings can give you a bit of a boost to start your day. Also, your showers don’t have to be at the freezing mark or be cold the whole time. Just try a few seconds of cold water.

You Doodle Long After Elementary School

Remember when you were young and loved to doodle? Sometimes even on off-limit things like the wall or your school desk? It’s a normal trait for young children, but it may be a sign of advanced intelligence for adults. The question is, "Why?"

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The answer: No one knows for sure. What is certain is that mindless doodling actually stimulates the memory, provides a way to visualize thoughts and gives the brain a break from intellectual work. Sometimes, a break is all that you need to put things into perspective and come up with answers to problems.


Your Head Is in the Clouds

Daydreaming may be frowned upon, but it’s actually a very effective activity. It provides benefits similar to doodling. Your brain gets to take a break and reset, and it allows you time to visualize things. It doesn’t stop there though.

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Daydreaming may also give you a way to visualize problems in different ways and give your brain the opportunity to be creative. While it may not be the thing to do while your spouse and your boss are speaking directly to you, allowing yourself to daydream throughout the day may improve your problem-solving abilities.

You Talk to Yourself

If you’ve been told that talking to yourself is a sign that you’re crazy, you’ve been told wrong. It’s actually a very helpful way to remember things, talk out problems and come up with solutions. It’s similar to using a friend to "talk it out."

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Additionally, talking to yourself can result in more confidence. For instance, if you have a speech to give, reciting it out loud can make you feel more comfortable during the actual event and help you pinpoint anything that you need to change in the speech.

You Are Efficiency-Driven

Geniuses look around themselves and — with or without effort — find ways to make everyday tasks more efficient. This goes along with their being picky about where they spend their time. To spend more time than is necessary on a given task is a waste of resources in the mind of a genius.

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Their solution? Find a way to cut down on the necessary time a task takes. This may be done with anything from a simple calendar that they hang all the way up to creating a new app or business/service. Being efficient is a top priority for highly intelligent people.


You Constantly Utilize the Internet

The beauty of the internet is that it offers a wealth of information at your fingertips and can give you the answers you need in seconds. For the ever-curious genius, this is simply another way to fuel their fire and expand their knowledge.

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Additionally, the internet is constantly evolving. This means that the more you use it, the more exposed you become to new things. Learning new things broadens your mind and, in turn, tends to increase intelligence. If you use the internet in a consistent manner, chances are that you’re more intelligent than non-users.

You Have Near-Constant Anxiety

While being a worrier has already been discussed, being riddled with anxiety full-time is an extension of this. Many geniuses have a hard time sitting still — relaxing is not a common occurrence. This is because many very intelligent people ponder everything, including the "doom and gloom" that might happen in any given situation.

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This type of thinking can put a lot of weight on a person. Geniuses — who already criticize themselves — can often turn the problems of others into their own problems. They then feel a need to solve those problems, hence the inability to relax and quell the anxiety.

You're Like a Chameleon

Geniuses are quite gifted at being able to adapt to pretty much any situation they might face. This is likely due to a number of other traits we’ve listed here. For instance, because they’re natural problem solvers, geniuses simply respond by becoming what they need to be.

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It might also be that as they ran through different scenarios in their heads, they were aware of the possibilities they might face and were already mentally prepared. Or perhaps they simply enjoy a new challenge and embrace it. Either way, they can blend in when need be.