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You don’t consider yourself as someone particularly smart.
You haven’t invented anything, you’re not a philosopher…in fact, your grades are just so-so!
But why do some people tell you that you’re clever? Well, there’s a chance you’re actually smart but you just don’t know it.
Want to know for sure?
Here are 10 traits that you might secretly be a smart person.
1) You’ve got a potty mouth
People like to assume that if you curse, you’re someone with a small vocabulary, a shallow mind, and are nothing more than a boor.
Those who have no issues saying “f*ck” or “What a load of shite!” are more likely to be creative, open-minded, and honest.
If you cuss like a sailor, you probably don’t waste your mental energy trying to censor every word just so that you can sound polite.
2) You’re always asking questions
It doesn’t matter whether the question is serious or trivial—you’re just naturally curious that some people even find you annoying.
But what can you do?
You’re just the kind of person to wonder why the sky is blue. And why everyone’s using miles and feet when kilometers and centimeters are more sensible.
You also ask why people hate certain things—like, say, pineapple on pizza, and spiders— and if there’s any real justification for that hate.
And most important of all is that you always ask whether you’re actually right or not.
Smart people always want to know more, while everyone else would be content not questioning the world around them at all.
3) You have no problem changing your mind
When something comes up that challenges your old beliefs, you don’t dig your heels and insist that you were right.
Maybe you were mistaken about the history of France or the age of the solar system, or maybe you had misunderstood a quote you’ve been repeating all your life.
It doesn’t have to be science and history.
You’re also willing to change your mind about everything else in your day-to-day life—from which brand of soap to use to how you store your food.
Sometimes it’s no big deal to change your mind on something. Sometimes it can uproot everything you’ve believed so far and crushes your ego to dust.
You take the effort to try nonetheless to admit it when you’re wrong and then change your mind.
4) You’re witty and hilarious
Humor is another thing most people don’t associate with intelligence.
If anything, people tend to assume that smart people are gloomy, nerdy, and socially awkward.
But humor actually requires a lot of smarts to pull off quite well.
You need to think on the spot, know how to read the room, set up the mood, and then drop your joke at the right time—all of this while still engaging with the people around you.
Even better, in fact, if you make your own jokes, too.
All of this requires a sharp, perceptive mind. So if people tell you you’re funny, you’re actually smarter than you think.
5) You like noticing and analyzing patterns
When people talk of smart people, they usually say things like “they know a lot of things!” and “they’re good at solving puzzles!”
Underappreciated is the fact that smart people are very good at noticing patterns, even ones that are so vague that they take weeks, even years to figure out.
For example, Einstein noticed that physics affected everything equally, and so tried to understand why there appeared to be exceptions.
As for you, you get excited when you’re learning about how certain things keep happening, or how certain people keep doing the same things.
You might think “Well, isn’t that a normal thing to do?”
Trust me—some people won’t even notice patterns even if it’s being pointed out to them.
So if you notice patterns and you love connecting the dots, you’re probably smarter than the average person.
6) You don’t associate wealth or academics with intelligence
The dullest tools in the shed would see someone slam the car door on their leg and they’ll happily declare “masterful gambit, sir!”
All it takes is for that person to be someone obscenely wealthy or decorated in academic achievements like straight As and a Magna Cum Laude.
But you don’t think this way. You find it silly, if anything.
Schools are only good at measuring certain kinds of intelligence after all. Besides, there are so many smart and successful people who never finished school.
And wealth? Meh, you know so many smart people who are earning minimum wage and so many wealthy people who talk nonsense.
7) You’re good at simplifying things
Einstein once said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
And the reverse is true—if you can explain it simply, that just means you’re smart about the particular topic.
People like to think that smart people make the people around them feel dumb, and a lot of smart people actually struggle to make complicated knowledge easy to understand.
Only someone who is incredibly smart can grasp something so thoroughly that they can break it down for ordinary people.
They’re able to let other people understand even if they likely don’t have the full context for the given topic.
And this is something that you can do.
You somehow just have a knack for making things easy for others to digest and comprehend, no matter how complicated the topic may be.
8) You have impostor syndrome
Most people would think that being called smart would be an amazing compliment. But you feel awkward when people say this to you.
It makes you uncomfortable when someone calls you “smart” or gives you too much praise for something you did.
Chances are that you suffer from impostor syndrome (like a lot of smart people) and don’t believe you deserve the praise.
Charles Bukowski said, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
The fact that you don’t feel comfortable being called smart is often a sign that you’re much smarter than you think you are!
9) You listen more than you speak
Whether you’re discussing with someone at a conference, watching TV, or arguing with someone online, you’re the kind of person who spends a lot of time listening and thinking.
You don’t immediately hit back with a retort or interrupt people while they’re still speaking.
You don’t drop your commentary on the stuff on TV before you finish watching everything.
You don’t immediately type up a reply the moment the other person has sent theirs.
Instead, you take the time to listen and give the new information you’re given enough time to marinate.
You try to understand what was being portrayed or discussed, and then to figure out whether you’re on the same page before you think of your response.
Sure, all this listening might slow you down, but you’d rather move in the right direction than just blabber nonstop.
10) You can entertain a thought while disagreeing with it
You don’t have to agree with something for you to understand it. You might think that ice does not belong on beer, for example, but still try to understand why someone would like it and try not to judge those who think differently from you too harshly.
Or you might disagree with people who say that the supernatural is real, but at the same time tolerate people who think that way and understand why they hold those beliefs.
When talking with people, you’re willing to hear them out and to try to understand their perspectives even when they differ from or even contradict yours.
There are many different ways to be “smart”, and there’s no guarantee that you excel at every single way there is to be smart.