We constantly compare ourselves to our peers and sometimes feel we can’t compete, but there may be reasons to believe you are smarter than you could imagine.

In work, school, and in life, we are constantly competing with others. The way to get ahead is to be the smartest, the most innovative, or simply just the best. When we liken ourselves to others, we see their skills alongside our shortcomings. Doing this can leave us feeling inadequate, but it is entirely possible that you are, in fact, smarter than you think.

Intelligence shows itself differently in everyone. You may not even realise that your level of intelligence is higher than you think you are when comparing yourself to your peers. Obvious intelligence can be a sign that your colleague just worked hard to reach a certain outcome.

These ten signs show that you are smarter than you thought:

  1. You are creative

The ‘smart’ subjects don’t tend to include creative ones, but creativity is a huge sign that you are a smarter person than you think. Creativity is thinking in different ways. It shows a skill for critical thinking and developing out of the box ideas.

Critical thinking can be honed and applied to other areas of life to become a priceless skill.

  1. Puzzles aren’t puzzling

In the same sphere as critical thinking, if you enjoy puzzles, it’s almost definite that your intelligence is higher than you thought. Noticing patterns and sequences in things is an indicator if the ability to think at a highly intelligent level.

If you enjoy puzzles and enjoy those which are more challenging, your intelligence is probably higher than most.

  1. Your common knowledge ain’t so common

Do you often find yourself overestimating what others are capable of understanding and being confused when they don’t? Those with higher intelligence can often get confused when others don’t share their knowledge or understanding in a given situation.

This is a very common sign that you are smarter than you thought you were. The ability to grasp information quickly and think a few steps ahead in a given situation is a sign of greater intelligence, as you can anticipate what is coming next.

  1. You think on your feet

If you’re the one that people want around in a crisis, then your IQ is definitely higher than most. The ability to find solutions to complex problems coupled with the ability to think under pressure shows that you can think quickly and critically at the same time.

  1. Always the advisor

When people have a problem, they tend to go to those they think most capable of solving it. If you’re constantly acting as the advisor to friends and family, they clearly believe in your intelligence and you should, too.

  1. Learning on the go

Do you find yourself picking up information and methods as you work? Do you learn better by doing something than by reading about it? This is a typical sign that you could be smarter than you think.

The ability to pick up techniques and information quickly and in the moment shows that your retention capabilities are much higher than those who need to repetitively study to reach the same level.

  1. You can apply your experience elsewhere

Applying principles from one field of knowledge to another is a key indicator of critical thinking. Critical thinking in itself is not an easy skill to learn, so if you can do it naturally, you are at a great advantage.

  1. You’re a night owl

Studies have shown that there is a distinct link between IQ and sleep habits. Those with a higher IQ tended to stay up later and sleep later throughout the week.

Although you shouldn’t use intelligence as a reason not to go to bed, if you find yourself preferring to work later, your sleep habits could be telling you something.

  1. You’re adaptable

Intelligence is not just being book-smart, it’s also the ability to thrive in different situations. Being thrown in at the deep end and being able to adapt your own behaviour or the environment around you is a sign of a high IQ.

  1. You’re messy

Messiness is a sure sign of intelligence. Not in the sense that you can’t keep your room tidy, but in the sense that your workspace is constantly cluttered with different papers and projects.

Einstein is the classic example of a messy desk being a sign of genius, along with Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs. If you can’t seem to keep your desk clean, it just might be that you are smarter than you think.

Instead of constantly comparing ourselves to others, we need to start having confidence in our own intelligence. Rather than seeing how you compare to others, focus on your personal strengths and the things that make you unique.

We are all individuals and it is the things that make us special are the things that make us intelligent in our own right. Intelligence may not always be obvious, you just need to know what to look for.


  1. https://www.forbes.com/
  2. https://www.businessinsider.nl/

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