7 Subtle Signs You Have Superior Intelligence & Think At A Genius Level

These traits are extremely rare, but indicate huge brainpower.

Last updated on Jun 27, 2024

intelligent woman smiling Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

You want to be smart, and you do a few things to improve your intellect. You read books, you watch TED talks, or you spend more time with the brilliant people around you.

But are your efforts paying off? Sometimes, we may not realize that we have high intelligence and need to do the work to look inward. Luckily, there are a few ways to tell for certain.

Here are 7 subtle signs you have superior intelligence

1. You're quick on your feet

intelligent woman thinking quickly Alvaro Balderas / Pexels

Perhaps one of your friends calls you, but you don't pick up because you know they will ask you for a favor or want you to do work for them. Then, they call once and you don't pick up again.

Later, you find out that your friend was with your bestie when they made the call. When you didn't pick up, your friend asked your bestie to call, thinking you were purposely dodging talking to them.

Luckily, your bestie has your back. They pretend to call you, stick the phone to their ear, and say, "No, they aren't picking up" when, in fact, they never made the call.

This is just one example of being quick on your feet. And it's a sure sign of remarkable intelligence. Your friend has it, but do you?

RELATED: The 6-Question Test That Reveals If You're Really As Quick-Witted As You Think


2. You find unique solutions to everyday problems

intelligent man on his computer Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Let's say you're not the handiest person in the world, but you are very creative. Instead of buying a new door closer to fit on your door, you take a filled water bottle and tie it to a meter-long rope, tying the rope to the ceiling of the doorway, and putting the rope over the door on the other side.

This makes it so whenever someone opens the door, the door closes by itself; due to the positioning of the rope, the gravity of the filled water bottle acts in the direction to close the door. It's genius!

This is the opposite of functional fixedness. Functional fixedness is the psychological bias that restricts you to use a thing only in the way it’s meant to be. For instance, using a water bottle only to drink water.

But that water bottle serves another purpose, and it can use gravity to create a makeshift door closer. It's surely not the only example of thinking outside the box, but it is a sign of high intelligence.


3. You think in unexpected ways

intelligent woman looking outside and thinking Juan Pablo Serrano / Pexels

In one of his shows, Stephen Colbert asked Keanu Reeves, “What happens after we die, Keanu Reeves?”

Now, this question could have two common expected answers — the religious kind and the atheist kind. The religious answer would involve going to heaven or going to purgatory. The atheist answer would be you just die, and nothing happens.

But Reeves chose neither of these options. Instead, he paused for a while and said, “I know that the ones who love us will miss us.” And everyone’s jaw dropped.

His answer wasn’t unobvious, but it was unexpected. And that made all the difference.

RELATED: One-Of-A-Kind, Well-Liked Humans Follow 13 Specific 'Golden Rules'


4. You don't give unsolicited advice

women having a conversation Alexander Suhorucov / Pexels

As you move through life, people are sure to give their two cents when you don't ask for it. It can be unsolicited advice about your love life, your career, or even your fashion choices.

But because you have high intellect, you see right through their "advice." Them, on the other hand, are showing signs of a lack of intelligence, where they cannot even realize and accept that they aren't good at something.

But if you can accept it — and you don’t give advice on things you’re not great at — that’s a sign of high self-awareness and high intelligence.

5. You seek unconventional methods

men coming up with unique ideas Armin Rimoldi / Pexels

Here’s a simple rule in life to follow: "If you do things the same way as everyone else, you’re going to get the same results as everyone else." That’s why intelligent people are suckers for unconventional methods.

For instance, a common method for studying is post-testing. This is when you solve questions after studying. However, there's another concept called Pretesting, where you solve questions before even studying the topic.

It seems silly, but it’s actually wonderful because it tells you the kind of questions asked in an exam. And then when you actually sit down to study, your cognitive attention is reallocated according to the importance of a given topic.

A sure sign of intelligence is asking yourself, “Is there a better way to do it than how the majority does it?” When you do that, you find unconventional methods that lead to better and faster results.

RELATED: 3 Things That Only Frustrate Highly Intelligent People At Work


6. You observe and deduce, and not just look

woman observing intelligently Hamidreza Salehian / Pexels

An exchange between Dr. John Watson and Sherlock Holmes from "A Scandal in Bohemia" goes like this:

Sherlock: You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room?

Dr. Watson: Frequently.

Sherlock: How often?

Dr. Watson: Well, some hundreds of times.

Sherlock: Then how many are there?

Dr. Watson: How many?! I don’t know.

Sherlock: Quite so. You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps because I have both seen and observed.

And that’s just it! Most people just look at the world, but some people truly observe it mindfully and make deductions. That’s a sign of superior intelligence.

7. You can keep up and adapt in any social environment

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We all know a person who is able to make friends everywhere they go. They connect with complete strangers, no matter how unique the social situation might be.

While you may think this is a sign of social intelligence, it's not — it’s a sign of intelligence overall. And there are two reasons why.

First of all, to connect with different people, you need to have a knowledge of a wide variety of subjects. That’s what allows you to find common ground with so many people. Secondly, even when you have knowledge of a variety of subjects, you have to be able to adapt according to the room.

Most people often feel out of place. But that person you know? They never feel out of place, no matter what kind of room they find themselves in. And genius-level thinkers are able to adjust and adapt according to the room.

RELATED: 7 Rare Signs You Have Incredible People Skills

Akshad Singi, M.D. is a writer whose work has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, Medium, and more.