Photo: Brandi Redd
So, how smart do you think you are? Perhaps you feel comfortable about your cognitive abilities. Maybe you’re sometimes insecure and worry about being less smart than others. However, regardless of your self-perception, you could actually be smarter than you think.
Here’s the tricky thing about self-concept: It can be distorted. “At its most basic, self-concept is a collection of beliefs one holds about oneself and the responses of others. It embodies the answer to the question ‘Who am I?’” according to Verywell Mind.
But what happens when the beliefs you hold about yourself don’t match reality? Famous psychologist Carl Rogers refers to this principle as incongruence — a disconnect between your actual experience and self-image within that experience.
This means that when it comes to intelligence, you could have an inflated or deflated sense of your own capabilities. And there are ways to find out whether that’s the case beyond taking IQ tests or asking for the opinions of others. From worrying a lot to procrastinating, if you do the following seven things, you could be more intelligent than you think.
1. You worry a lot
Do you tend to worry a lot? Are you the type of person to run through all possible scenarios in your head and anticipate issues? It could be a sign of high intelligence, according to a study on intelligence and emotional disorders. Researchers concluded that “verbal intelligence was a unique positive predictor of worry and rumination severity.”
In other words, worrying is positively correlated with the ability to understand information, analyze it, and solve problems through word-based reasoning.
2. You go to bed late
Scientists dove into the relationship between intelligence and being a morning or evening person. And it turns out evening types had higher intelligence scores. So if you’re a night owl and can’t seem to get out of bed in the morning, it might actually mean you’re brilliant.
3. You doubt yourself
If you often doubt your own cognitive abilities, it could mean that you’re way smarter than average. Why? Blame the Dunning-Kruger effect, a cognitive bias where people overestimate their competence.
While we are all prone to experiencing this effect around different topics — it’s easier to feel overconfident when you know just a bit about something versus when you realize there is so much that you don’t know, it explains why smart people tend to doubt themselves more. They simply have a greater awareness of the fact that there is so much knowledge that they have yet to acquire.
4. You have self-control
Better self-control is linked to higher cognitive abilities, according to research on delay discounting and intelligence. Delay discounting is basically a fancy way of referring to delayed gratification.
The smarter you are, the greater your capacity for favoring long-term gain over short-term rewards. And yes, that translates into self-control, so if skipping dessert to keep your fitness goals in mind is the type of choice you often make, you could be sharper than average.
5. You procrastinate
Procrastinators, rejoice: Your tendency for leaving things until the last minute could actually be a sign that you’re super smart. Management expert Adam Grant says procrastination is a tool used by some of the most powerful and innovative thinkers.
“The time Steve Jobs was putting things off and noodling on possibilities was time well spent in letting more divergent ideas come to the table, as opposed to diving right in with the most conventional, the most obvious, the most familiar,” he told Business Insider.
Perhaps your productivity suffers when you procrastinate, but your creative juices flow. If that’s the case, you might just be a genius.
6. You need context to perform well
If you struggled in school, and still sometimes struggle at work in some settings, it could mean you’re more intelligent than you think.
For example, you might have trouble performing well in your job unless you grasp the bigger picture. Maybe you’re always asking questions to understand how your role and responsibilities tie into the larger vision of the company.
When given an isolated task without context, you perhaps even find it difficult to deliver. That’s not because there is anything wrong with you, but because your clever mind wants to understand how all the pieces of a system fit together to process information and solve problems.
You have a good sense of humor
Humor ability is a predictor of intelligence, according to a study on sexual selection. Feeling confused about how sexual attraction and IQ tie together? Well, researchers concluded that “general and verbal intelligence both predict humor production ability, which in turn predicts mating success, such as lifetime number of sexual partners.”
So if you have a good sense of humor, it might just mean you’re super smart (and more attractive).