18 Things Only Highly Intelligent People Do Daily

If your IQ’s much higher than average, chances are you’ll engage in certain activities every day that set you apart from the pack. Things like reading, problem-solving, and learning help exercise a big brain and satisfy their curiosity and intellect. Here are 18 telling signs that your brain is more capable than most!

Read Extensively

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Brilliant people often have an insatiable appetite for knowledge and an interest in the views, experiences, and opinions of others, even if they contradict their own. Healthline says there are three main types of intelligence, but all of them are stimulated by reading—further improving a person’s comprehension, vocabulary, and general knowledge.

Think Critically

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Transformation coach Anuj Sharma asserts on LinkedIn, “Highly intelligent individuals are skilled critical thinkers. They can analyze information objectively, assess arguments, and make informed decisions.” Smart people rarely take information at face value and always analyze, question, and evaluate the information they’re given—consequently, they’re not easily deceived!

Set New Challenges

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According to Hack Spirit, highly intelligent people crave complexity and get bored if they aren’t given tasks that are challenging enough. This can lead them to constantly set new goals and push their mental boundaries. Most intelligent people thrive on the personal growth and self-improvement this attitude brings.

Practice Self-Reflection

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Introspection is a trait common to those with a high IQ who often spend time considering past events and experiences, personal beliefs, problems, and philosophical questions. Global English Editing states, “Smart people understand the importance of self-reflection. They routinely take a step back to analyze their actions, decisions, and emotions.”


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Physical exercise is a daily routine for many smart people—partly because they understand the health benefits but also because physical well-being is linked to improved cognitive abilities and better mental health. Regular exercise helps improve creativity, focus, and mood, supporting their intellectual performance.

Be Curious

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Clever people have naturally inquiring minds and are always eager to explore new ideas, ask questions, and discover how things work. FutureLearn states that, just as with children, intelligent adults constantly seek to understand the world around them better and have an elevated interest in new concepts, innovations, and scientific discoveries.

Prioritize Sleep

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Bond University claims our brains use 20% of our body’s energy requirements yet only account for 2% of its weight. In short, heavy thinking can be tiring, and more intelligent people need more sleep. Quality rest enhances memory, problem-solving abilities, and creativity while supporting emotional intelligence.

Practice Mindfulness

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Maintaining a clear, focused mind is essential for a big thinker, so exercises like meditation and deep breathing are common. Unfortunately, there is a downside, too—Nature says an excess of mindfulness can lead to overthinking that may cause smart people to hesitate to join social gatherings or avoid certain social situations.

Be Creative

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Creativity is not just for artists; highly intelligent people often engage in activities such as writing, painting, inventing, and playing musical instruments. Such tasks improve cognitive function and stimulate different areas of the brain than more traditional academic pursuits, expanding their skill base and providing alternative challenges.

Set and Review Goals

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According to MindTools, setting clear, achievable goals, regularly assessing them, and making progress are crucial to a successful life and personal growth. Intelligent people know this and are often goal-oriented, giving themselves the focus and motivation they need to accomplish their dreams.

Stay Connected

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Despite stereotypes of the lonely genius, highly intelligent people understand the value of social connections, particularly for mental stimulation, debate, and knowledge sharing. Although they rarely have huge social circles, they frequently maintain meaningful bonds with a few close friends and colleagues—particularly those who challenge them intellectually.

Stay Informed

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Intelligent people feel the need to stay informed about world events, scientific discoveries, and cultural events, so they often read or watch the news. Although Business Insider reports that biased, low-quality news (like Fox News) can actually make you less informed, those who consume impartial, high-brow news (like Reuters/The Washington Post) are better able to keep abreast of world events.

Actively Listen

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Active listening is a common skill that intelligent people possess. Because they think before speaking and like to gather and process all the information before contributing, they often listen attentively, process information thoroughly, and respond thoughtfully—making them excellent listeners, advisors, and problem solvers.

Learn from Mistakes

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Anyone can feel discouraged and frustrated by failure, but smart people are more likely to turn these negative experiences into an opportunity to learn and improve. Highly intelligent people want to know precisely how and why they failed—they then use this knowledge for personal growth and apply it in future endeavors.

Manage Time Efficiently

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Forbes asserts that smart people know they cannot manage time—only themselves and others. Consequently, they often manage their time efficiently, prioritize tasks, and minimize distractions. This skill, focus, and discipline enable them to accomplish more in less time, improving their productivity.

Make Rational Decisions

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Impulsiveness is not something clever people typically indulge in. People with capable brains can decide on the best course of action, so they usually use their intelligence to analyze data, predict outcomes, and make smart assessments about what to do. Consequently, their decisions are frequently rational and considered.

Nurture Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional intelligence (how we perceive, process, and regulate our feelings) can be just as important as cognitive ability, and clever people often exhibit both. They can recognize emotions in themselves and others, understand the underlying causes, and empathize, all of which can make them excellent leaders.

Apply Knowledge

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People with high IQs don’t just acquire knowledge; they use what they’ve learned to solve real-life problems and find solutions to everyday inconveniences. This skill makes them especially useful in survival situations, as they are particularly adept at innovating and at informed, rational thought.

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