20 Things That Distinguish Smart People From the Rest

If you’re a smart person, you may be wondering what traits make you stand out from everyone else, especially if many people comment on your differences. This isn’t anything to worry about; instead, it can be a good thing! Here are 20 things that distinguish smart people from the rest.

Emotional Intelligence

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Smart people aren’t just book smart. They’re also known for being aware of their own emotions and those of others around them. For example, the Expert Editor writes, “Smart people tend to have strong emotional intelligence, which means they have a heightened awareness of their own emotions and can empathize with others.”

Lifelong Curiosity

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One of the telltale signs that you’re a smart person is that you have a lifelong curiosity and a desire to always learn and grow. You’ll always engage with any new ideas and experiences, as it’s a great way to learn something. You always seek a deeper understanding of life that’s way below surface level.


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You’re always open to considering new ideas and perspectives. If you’re smart, then you’re more likely to have flexible beliefs and be ready to update them whenever new evidence comes along. You’ve always been able to accept diversity, whether that comes in the form of thoughts or people.

Humor and Wit

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If people appreciate your unconventional humor, then it can be an indicator that you’re smarter than the rest. This is supported by Psychology Spot, which writes, “A study conducted at the Medical University of Vienna revealed that highly intelligent people tend to appreciate unconventional humor.”

Effective Communication

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Smart people can easily articulate their thoughts and ideas. It’s no problem for them to adapt their communication skills, depending on the audience they’re talking to. Even if they have complex information that they need to relay back to a group, they can do this in a way that doesn’t come across as confusing.


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Problem-solving isn’t something that smart people shy away from. They usually have a preference for long-term problem-solving rather than quick fixes, as they don’t agree with just putting a band-aid over something. However, it does mean that smart people can be the go-to people for advice and help.


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Idea Pod writes, “If you meet someone who’s committed to their goals and consistently demonstrates self-discipline, chances are they’re a really smart person.” If you’re a smart person, then the chances are you will persist with your goals no matter what. You have strategic planning in place, which helps you focus on your long-term achievements.

Intellectual Humility

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You may be smart, but you still know the limitations of your knowledge. This gives you the opportunity to learn and means you’re always open to feedback. You want to learn from your mistakes and value the truth over your ego. You’re aware that this is what will give you an understanding of how to better yourself.


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You know how important it is to self-reflect and you’ll regularly examine your actions and experiences. You have a commitment to personal growth and self-improvement as you know how important it is to be your best self, especially emotionally. You’ll use the insights from self-reflection to make better decisions.


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If you’re a risk-taker, then it could be a sign you’re smarter than the rest. This is supported by Believe in Mind, which writes, “Smart people are willing to take calculated risks, stepping out of their comfort zones to pursue opportunities for growth and success.”


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You understand how important it is to build and nurture professional relationships. This is because you need to have a strong support network, especially professionally. Creating connections is not only beneficial for you but is mutual, as you’d also be willing to support a fellow professional.

Crisis Management

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If you’re able to remain composed while under pressure, then this could be a sign that you’re smarter than the rest. You’re effective at handling unprecedented situations and can stay cool in emergencies. You can think clearly and make any decisions quickly.


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Being able to understand and share the feelings of others can be a strong indicator that you’re smarter than the rest. This is backed up by CNBC, which writes, “You always try to put yourself in other people’s shoes in a meaningful way.” This skill helps you create strong relationships and an inclusive environment.

Environmental Consciousness

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You may be mindful of the impact you’re having on the environment. If you have environmental consciousness, then it’s also a trait of being smart. You prefer to make sustainable choices because you want to do what you can to help. You advocate for environmental preservation and will go out of your way to make eco-friendly choices.

Conflict Resolution

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You know how important it is to resolve any conflicts, and the last thing you want is to feel any tension in the air. You will always seek peaceful solutions to any disputes and have the ability to positively take on board any constructive feedback. You will always promote harmony in your relationships and try to have an understanding of others.

Respect for Cultures

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According to the Harvard Business Review, cultural intelligence means “a propensity to suspend judgment—to think before acting.” It means you can respect and understand different people’s cultures and backgrounds. Having respect for cultures allows you to value diversity as a strength, and you can engage with people from different perspectives.

Physical and Mental Well-being

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You know how important it is to be healthy, as this means you can get the very best from your brain. You’ll always prioritize eating healthy and getting enough exercise. You understand how important your mental health is and try to keep this in check with a great work-life balance and self-care.

Questioning Habit

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If you feel a constant need to question and explore, then this could be a sign you’re smarter than the rest. You will never be content with simple explanations, and you will always seek out every detail. Sometimes, you may even take a deep dive into the complexities to understand the truth, even if it takes you all night.


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Don’t worry if you find your mind often leads you astray, as it could be a sign you’re a smart person. This is supported by The Healthy, which writes, “Researchers theorize that giving the brain an ‘incubation period,’ by allowing it to wander during a mindless task, boosts problem-solving and creativity.”

Acknowledgment of Emotions

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You understand how important your emotions are when it comes to problem-solving. If you’re able to balance logic with your emotions, then it can show intelligence. Being able to utilize your emotions means you can create deeper connections and really allow yourself to go after what you want.

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