20 Signs of Above Average Intelligence

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By Darryl Henderson

Intelligence presents itself in many forms, as it’s a multi-faceted, complex trait that we all possess in some form. However, those who possess more of it than others often demonstrate a selection of easy-to-spot tells. To illustrate, here are 20 signs of above-average intelligence.

Ability to Solve Problems

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Highly intelligent people will relish the opportunity to take on a problem, often staying calm despite being under pressure. They will find solutions that other people wouldn’t have even considered, offering a new perspective. They’ll also be able to spot hidden patterns, generating solutions that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.


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Contrary to popular belief, daydreaming isn’t a common trait of lazy people; instead, it’s a sign of above-average intelligence! The Independent suggests that people who daydream may get distracted because they have too much brain capacity rather than daydreaming because they don’t want to work. So, leave them to it!

Longing to Learn

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The desire to constantly learn and expand the mind is ever present within those of higher-than-average intelligence. They don’t take learning for granted, enjoying the process of discovering new information, realizing there is still so much they don’t know, despite their intelligence. That’s highly admirable!

Good Memory

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Those with above-average intelligence can consume more information at a faster rate and retain it for a long time. This ability could include recalling academic information, remembering people’s names, or simply remembering events that happened a long time ago. It makes learning new stuff a heck of a lot easier, too!

Anxious Worrying

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Intelligence and anxiety go hand in hand, much because of the higher activity taking place in the brains of people with above-average intelligence. Their over-exposure to mental stimuli can lead to over-excitability, which often presents itself in the form of worrying and feelings of anxiety. Being a genius isn’t always easy!

Reading a Lot

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People with above-average intelligence tend to read a considerable amount more than most. It doesn’t matter about the format; they could have their nose in a book, a newspaper, or even an article on their smartphone. On each occasion, they’ll be studiously analyzing the text to its finer details, learning as they go.

Enjoying Alone Time

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Intelligent people aren’t ones to shirk from spending time by themselves; instead, they enjoy the peace and quiet that solitude brings. They feel as though they can fully relax when they’re alone, not having to worry about acting up in order to appear social.

Being Empathetic

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According to CNBC, people who possess an above-average level of intelligence tend to be more empathetic. They can pay full attention to someone’s emotions and easily understand what they are saying and feeling. This makes emotional intelligence and a deep understanding of people clear signs of a high IQ.

Highly Observant

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It’s hard to switch off the mind of an intelligent person, as they are constant observers, taking in a wealth of information gathered from their surroundings. They’ll spot things that most people wouldn’t, such as someone’s outfit, a unique car color, or a rare bird on a rooftop.

Being Perfectionists

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Being highly intelligent doesn’t always feel like a gift, especially when you’re struggling to finish things due to the burden of perfectionism. It’s likely that you’ll have been made aware of your intelligence from a young age, prompting you to aim for the highest standards, even if they’re unattainable.

Deep Focus

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Intelligent people have a strange ability to shut off the rest of the world and enter a state of deep focus once they get their minds invested in something. This ability can’t be switched on and off in an instant, but once it’s on, it allows for extreme productivity levels.

Mild Temper

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There’s a direct correlation between physical aggression and a lower level of intelligence, with intellectuals usually finding less brutal ways to settle confrontations. The need to lash out stems from a lack of ability to process emotions and calm oneself down instead of handling disagreements with logic.

Open Minded

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As Verywell Mind suggests, people with a high IQ are always willing to approach problems with an open mind, enjoying novelty and craving challenging experiences. They are happy to leave their comfort zone, embracing new scenarios and situations with little regard for failure or looking inferior to others. If only this were more common!


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Having a high level of intelligence makes you realize that success isn’t instant, taking time to manifest itself. It requires a lot of perseverance and hard work to get to where you want to be, which is something that most intelligent people will be prepared for.


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Self-awareness is a trait commonly associated with highly intelligent people. By better understanding themselves along with their strengths and weaknesses, intelligent people can forge a clearer direction and path in life. Sadly, most of us struggle with this a lot!

Understanding of Limitations

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Nobody wants to be the only person who doesn’t understand what’s going on, meaning that most would nod along, pretending they’re in the know. However, someone with great intelligence would see this as the perfect opportunity to learn something new, unafraid to expose their lack of knowledge in exchange for education.


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While not all highly intelligent people would regard themselves as naturally creative, having increased brain power can greatly aid in creative pursuits. This isn’t to say that only those who possess a high IQ can be creative, but it simply may not come as easily to those with lower intelligence levels.

Broad Vocabulary

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Interestingly, smart people often speak slower as they search for the exact correct word or phrase to get their point across. It’s this precision search for the correct terminology that results in their use of a wide range of vocabulary, whereas most of us just choose the first words that come to mind.

Able to Adapt

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As the World Economic Forum notes, an increased level of intelligence drastically helps a human’s ability to adapt to their surroundings. This allows intelligent people to take in things around them, and when paired with their natural problem-solving skills, this makes them highly adaptable people.

Logical Thought Processes

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Last but not least, logic is a key component of an intelligent person’s psyche, meaning they’ll rarely rush into a decision without thinking it through first. Instead, they’ll maintain a level of composure when faced with a big conundrum and will usually be able to walk you through every step of their thought process. Now that is intelligent!

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