There are a lot of people in the world who appear to be dimmer than they really are. It’s not that they are intentionally being covert with their intelligence, but they would rather not advertise it as freely as some people do with their stupidity. Whether it is modesty, or politeness that prevents these people from showcasing their intellect, they often seem like your average Joe. That is, until they surprise you by reciting a quote from Plato, or laying down some mind-blowing solution to your quandary.
Here are 9 ways to tell if you’re what I like to call, an “incognito intellectual.”
You Are A Night Owl
Researchers at the University of Madrid found that night owls scored higher than early birds in tests linked to general intelligence, such as inductive reasoning, conceptual and analytical thinking. Of course, that doesn’t mean that people who prefer to wake up before sunrise are idiots- they’re just smart in a different way.
Jim Horne, a professor of psychophysiology at Loughborough University, said this about the Spanish study: “Evening types tend to be the more extrovert creative types, the poets, artists and inventors, while the morning types are the deducers, as often seen with civil servants and accountants.” The study suggests higher intelligence, as well as a different type of intelligence can be found in people who prefer to stay up late at night, and sleep later during the day. Now, that doesn’t mean that by forcing yourself to stay awake till midnight you will become a super-genius.
The reason night owls are are more intelligent is due to what they choose to spend their time on during the later hours. They will learn how to play an instrument, study a new language, and find the answers to random things that pique their curiosity during the day. Because this all goes on behind the curtain, it is surprising to others when those talents emerge.
You’re The Quiet Type
You’ve spent enough time on this planet to take note of certain commonalities in people. It seems the louder someone is, the more obtuse their sentiment. Maybe it’s because quiet people will usually take the time to consider the situation and assess possible outcomes before giving a response.
There are a lot of misconceptions about quiet types- they are socially awkward, introverts, rude, dull etc. While not all people who prefer silence to boisterous behaviour are highly intelligent, it’s safe to say that someone who refrains from speaking without thinking first, is one smart cookie.
You Speak Your Mind
A smart person knows when to tell it like it is. It is impossible to please everyone, all of the time, and attempting to do so is borderline stupidity. Those who are able to say “no,” or “that’s not a good idea,” in counter-productive situations, as well as saying “yes,” and giving support to those ideas that others all-too-quickly throw away, are considered intelligent.
You Prefer The Company Of Other Intelligent People
You are the company you keep. I’m not saying that if you help homeless people at a shelter then you must be homeless- that’s idiotic. I mean that if you hang around with artists who inspire you, poets who stir your soul, philosophers and great thinkers who spark curiosity in your brain box, then you are likely to be considered intelligent- like they are. Creativity is a big part of higher intelligence, so if your mates are out-of-the-box thinkers and doers, you probably are too.
You Are In A Constant State Of Improvement
One trait I have found in each and every “incognito intellectual” is their constant striving for self-improvement. They never settle for mediocrity, and they are not ones to accept “okay” as a description for any quality in their lives. If you find yourself saying “this could be better” and then attempting to attain that improvement, you are using brain power and showing intelligence.
You Enjoy Challenges
Rarely will you find an intelligent person with an “I can’t” mentality. That’s because smart people know that learning new things and facing challenges in life will undoubtedly help them grow as individuals. A self-defeating mindset is dumb-plain and simple. Believing in yourself so you can experience all of life’s possibilities is a clear sign of intelligence, regardless of success or failure. Which brings me to my next point…
You Are Unafraid Of Failure
The reason many people quit before the race even begins is because they are afraid of failing. An “incognito intellectual” doesn’t worry about such things- if they stumble or fall, they always get back up. If you notice yourself trying new things, or finding new ways to succeed where you failed before, then you are smarter than you think.
You Ask Questions
A very common misconception that has been held since the schoolyard days is that “only dummies ask questions.” Raising your hand to get a clearer understanding of the topic at hand usually led to quiet giggles from the back of the class. This is completely backwards thinking.
“Incognito intellectuals” like to ask questions because they like to fully comprehend the matter at hand. They will listen intently to what you have to say, without interruption, and ask questions for clarification and better understanding. If you understand something, you can teach something. Like Einstein said, “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
You Don’t Consider Yourself To Be Exceptionally Intelligent
When someone is too stupid to know they are being stupid, they are experiencing the Dunning-Kruger effect. I know you have encountered someone like this- especially if you have a television set.
“[This effect] occurs where people fail to adequately assess their level of competence — or specifically, their incompetence — at a task and thus consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. This lack of awareness is attributed to their lower level of competence robbing them of the ability to critically analyse their performance, leading to a significant overestimate of themselves.”
It seems the opposite is also true. “Incognito intellectuals” often underestimate their level of intelligence because they realize there is vast room for improvement. The ability to gauge your level of intelligence on a subject is exactly what makes you intelligent.
Not everyone wants to be a Sheldon Cooper. Some people just want to be better, more informed versions of themselves. And that’s about as intelligent as it gets.