Intelligence has been something that has been prized by society for as long as it has existed. This is because success which has always been the consequence of certain intelligences, has been the way society measures progress in an individual.
Intelligence can never be gauged by grades; great minds like the Emperor Akbar or even William Shakespeare, the bard of Stratford, never even received much education yet they are admired for their achievements all over the world.
Would you say you are intelligent? Despite scoring average or even poorly in exams, have others around you come up to you and admired your intellect? This is a more obvious marker for intelligence than grades.
The misconceptions that lead to a misguided correlation of intelligence and grades arises from our essentially flawed education system. We have been conditioned to overlook at individual talents and proclivities and rather concentrate of force-feeding a lot of contradictory information in the name of holistic education.
This is what Albert Einstein criticised too: He called it testing the ability of a monkey, a fish and an elephant to climb a tree. It is essentially unfair and often cruel enough to break children quite early.
So obviously we have established how system-guided or rather system – (mis)guided norms cannot tell you if you are truly smart; rather you should look out for these signs in yourself or others.
These are signs you just cannot fake. You have them or you don’t.
1. You are aware of how much you don’t know
Ever heard of a certain quote from Socrates, who through his paradoxes kick-started Western civilisation as we know it today?
The Greek wise man once said “I know that I know nothing.”
This is one of the most enigmatic of his paradoxes; a truly wise person knows that his knowledge too is limited and he acknowledges it, because it is through that acknowledgement that he gives rise to curiosity and a willingness to know what he does not.
2. Curiosity is the driving force of your life
A curious child is more likely to become an innovator later in life than one who mugs up to vomit it on his/her answer sheet.
Curiosity in general is an evolutionary thing: the more one wants to know the more likely they are to actually try and find answers.
3. Intelligence and empathy go hand in hand
Intelligent people also normally have a high emotional quotient and it really makes sense; they are normally sensitive and discerning about the people around them and it is not surprising when they can understand what others feel.
4. You don’t have a biased opinion of yourself
You know what you are. You know where you stand.
Others’ opinions on the same don’t seem to perturb you because you are aware of yourself and your abilities. That makes your opinion on yourself the least biased.
5. You enjoy your alone time
How can someone improve themselves further?
Simple: Think about your mistakes and try not to repeat them.
This is why intelligent people are more often loners and introverts. They are constantly re-evaluating their mistakes and trying their best to not repeat them.
6. You chew a lot of gum/consume things like candy
This is something that a lot of smart people are found to be doing. This is probably because having your body busy with something as menial as chewing on something, leaves your brain open to reflection, introspection and thinking.
There is a considerable amount of research confirming this pattern.
7. You are most productive at odd hours of the night
God bless the night-owls. This is because your brain is more active in general than others.
It is so active that it doesn’t really fall under the jurisdiction of a conventional circadian rhythm.
8. You are sarcastic and humorous
This is because of your ability to improvise to suit the situation, and a lot of studies prove that sarcasm is linked to Intelligence.
And remember Chandler from Friends? He was the only one who could fit the ‘intelligent’ bill in the cast to be honest; Joey being the dumb one and Ross the geek.
That’s what made him the most lovable character too: humour and sarcasm.
9. You sleep at odd times in the day; sometimes for just a few minutes
Ever heard of the genius inventor/innovator/painter/sculptor Leonardo da Vinci?
Well, master da Vinci was rumoured to practice what is called the polyphasic form of sleep, also called the Uberman sleep cycle: he used to take short naps of 20-30 mins every four hours.
This works because smarter brains get tired easily but also get recharged easy.