Do you think of yourself as brilliant?
You know you’re different than everyone else in some way, but you’ve had a hard time putting your finger on it. And it’s not that you’ve got the kind of brain that publishes the next bestseller, drafts a peace agreement, discovers a particle or finds the largest prime number.
People think about intelligence in many ways. There’s that supposedly objective measure called IQ. And there’s the theory of multiple intelligences — the idea that several different types of intelligence (including musical, visual, verbal, etc.) exist rather than a single generalized cognitive ability. And there’s wisdom, usually acquired through experience.
Brilliance is a certain kind of personality that sees humor where others don’t, tragedy where others are tranquil, beauty in the ordinary, and a dullness in the standard. (Click here to tweet this thought.)
And it’s rare enough that you may feel lonely much of the time.
Below are five ways you probably didn’t know you were brilliant:
This word means the state of having multiple exceptional skills, any of which could make for a great career. For example, in school, you excelled at art, math and the humanities. You may have also been a stellar athlete.
While this can sound more like a blessing than a curse, having too many options can get in the way of deep investment and actualizing your brilliance. As a result, you may not fully understand how amazing you are.
2. High sensitivity and perceptivity
You process sensory data much more deeply and thoroughly than other people. You pick up on subtleties, like intonation, facial expressions and minor contradictions. You’re highly empathic and intuitive, and you notice things most people never would.
The flipside is that you’re often seen as too emotional, too nice or introverted, and your skills can be overlooked without a good level of self-awareness and self-advocacy.
3. Insatiable curiosity
You need to know all the things. You have a thirst for knowledge, and when you’re into something, you’ll stop at nothing to understand all there is to know about the topic. You voraciously blaze through books, and your interests may change from month to month.
While your insatiable curiosity can be fun, it can also mean you have an unquenchable need for stimulation. This can feel like unfulfillment when you’re at a job that doesn’t quench your thirst.
You have the highest of standards for nearly everything in your life, and that’s a marker of your brilliance. When you care about something, you have a laser-like attention to detail that ensures what you’re putting out is the best you can offer.
Perfectionism often leads to procrastination and avoidance. When we can’t have it perfect, we don’t do anything at all. The self-aware perfectionist knows how to harness their perfectionism to work for them instead of against them.
This is the epitome of your brilliance — perfectionism applied to one’s own self-actualization. It’s the drive to evolve and focus on your highest goals.
There’s no shadow to entelechy, though it does mean you’re not taking the easy path in life. You won’t settle for unfulfilling careers, empty relationships or any kind of stagnation. The drive to shake things up can cause a lot of unrest, and it can be hard for the people around you. But those of us with entelechy can have it no other way.
Tell us in the comments, do these markers of brilliance resonate for you? How could thinking in a new way about your brilliance impact your career trajectory?
Sara Harrier is a life coach who helps intelligent, highly sensitive and unconventional individuals own their smarts, settle the score with pesky inner goblins and build their own life-changing revolutions. She has a master’s in social work, and one of her specialties is working hands-on with clients to map out their next career move or entrepreneurial dream.