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Intelligence manifests in various forms and often in the most unexpected ways. Some of the brightest minds possess habits that might seem peculiar to others, but these quirks could be subtle indicators of high intelligence.


Monochrome engraving brain illustration in top view isolated on white background

Here are ten such unusual habits:

Talking to Yourself

Far from being a sign of madness, self-dialogue can be a sign of advanced cognitive function. It helps in organizing thoughts and clarifying concepts.


A cluttered workspace or a disorganized schedule can sometimes indicate a busy, creative mind. Studies have shown that messiness can be associated with creativity and unconventional thinking.

Walking Paces:

A habit of walking to think or pacing during brainstorming sessions can be a sign of an active, engaged brain. For insights into this, consider Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, which delves into the dual systems of our brain and how they shape our thought processes.

Reading for Pleasure

A voracious appetite for books, not just for information but for pleasure, suggests a curious and imaginative mind. How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading” by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren is an excellent guide for anyone looking to enhance their reading skills.

Being Forgetful

Sometimes, forgetfulness is less about a lack of memory and more about an active brain prioritizing large chunks of important data over minute details.

Enjoying Dark Humor

Appreciating complex and dark humor can indicate a higher level of intelligence, as it requires more mental gymnastics to understand and enjoy such wit.

Night Owls

People who prefer staying up late often show traits of creativity, intellectual curiosity, and non-conformity.

Enjoying Solitude

Intelligent individuals often cherish solitude, as it provides the space and quietness needed for deep thinking and reflection.


The ability to adapt to new situations and think on one’s feet is a hallmark of intelligent minds. This trait is well explored in Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein, which advocates for the intellectual benefit of being able to adapt and draw from a wide range of experiences.

Observing and Listening More Than Talking

Intelligent people often prefer to listen and observe during conversations, absorbing and processing information before contributing.

These habits might seem unusual, but they often are signs of a lively and intelligent mind. Embracing these traits can not only lead to self-acceptance, but also to a greater understanding of the complexities of human intelligence.

For those interested in exploring more about the nuances of human intelligence, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” by Daniel Goleman is a must-read. This book expands the traditional understanding of intelligence to include emotional aspects, offering a holistic view of what it truly means to be smart.