Steve Jobs
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
June 18, 2024 ·  4 min read

According to Steve Jobs, This is The #1 Signs Someone Has High Intelligence

Intelligence is a multifaceted concept, and it covers various skills, abilities, and traits. While some signs of intelligence are universally recognized, like academic success or quick problem-solving, others are more subtle but equally significant. Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple, had a unique perspective on intelligence, highlighting a specific trait he believed was a clear indicator of high intelligence. Let’s take a look at the various signs of intelligence and reveal the one Jobs emphasized.

Recognizing Self-Sabotaging Patterns

cartoon woman hugging herself
Credit: Pixabay

One of the less obvious signs of intelligence is the ability to recognize and understand one’s self-sabotaging patterns. Many people tend to repeat the same mistakes or avoid challenging tasks, leading to recurring problems in both personal and professional life. However, those who can identify these patterns and work to correct them demonstrate a high level of self-awareness and intelligence.1 Understanding one’s weaknesses and taking steps to address them is a crucial component of personal growth and success.

Read More: It’s science: Giving experiences instead of toys boosts your kid’s intelligence and happiness

Maintaining and Repairing Relationships

cartoon women taking a picture together
Credit: Pixabay

Intelligent individuals often excel in maintaining and repairing relationships. While forming relationships is important, the ability to sustain and mend them when necessary is a highly underrated skill. This involves empathy, communication, and a genuine concern for others’ well-being. For example, a simple apology or a thoughtful gesture can go a long way in repairing a strained relationship, showcasing emotional intelligence and the capacity to navigate social complexities effectively.

Quick Utilization of Feedback

different feedback
Credit: Pixabay

Another sign of intelligence is the ability to understand and incorporate feedback quickly. Those who can adapt their behavior based on constructive criticism tend to succeed more readily, whether in a professional setting or personal life. This involves not only understanding the feedback but also being able to see its application and make necessary adjustments without defensiveness. This skill reflects a growth mindset and the ability to learn and improve continuously.

Observational Skills

Man using binoculars
Credit: Pexels

Being observant is a foundational trait of intelligent individuals. Scientific discoveries and innovative ideas often stem from keen observation. In everyday life, observation helps identify opportunities, understand social dynamics, and learn from others. For instance, observing how successful people handle certain situations and adapting those strategies to one’s own life can lead to significant personal and professional advancements.

Read More: Is swearing, being messy, and staying up late linked to intelligence?

Curiosity and the Desire to Learn

kid in class with hand raised
Credit: Pexels

Curiosity is a hallmark of intelligent minds. Those who constantly seek to learn more, ask insightful questions, and explore new ideas tend to exhibit higher intelligence. This trait, often referred to as the curiosity quotient (CQ), drives individuals to invest in their intellectual growth and adapt to complex situations.2 Curiosity leads to a deeper understanding of the world and fosters a lifelong love of learning, which is essential for cognitive development and innovation.

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Emotion spelled out in scrabble
Credit: Pexels

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is a critical aspect of emotional intelligence. People with high empathy can sense when others are struggling and provide support, making them excellent at building and maintaining strong relationships. This skill involves active listening, recognizing subtle cues in behavior, and responding in a way that acknowledges and respects others’ experiences.

Steve Jobs’ Perspective on Intelligence

Steve Jobs
Credit: Getty

Steve Jobs, known for his innovative mind and leadership at Apple, had a distinct view on intelligence. In a speech to the Academy of Achievement in 1982, Jobs highlighted the ability to “zoom out” as the number one sign of high intelligence. He described it as the capacity to see the bigger picture and make connections that others might miss.3 According to Jobs, this trait allows individuals to understand complex systems and navigate them more effectively.

A lot of it is memory. But a lot of it is the ability to zoom out, like you’re in a city and you could look at the whole thing from the 80th floor down at the city. And while other people are trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B, reading these stupid little maps, you can just see it in front of you. You can see the whole thing. And you can make connections that seem obvious to you, because you can see the whole thing”.

Read More: 8 Signs Of Genuine Intelligence That Can’t Be Faked


electric brain
Credit: Pixabay

Intelligence is not a one-dimensional trait but a complex interplay of various skills and abilities. Recognizing self-sabotaging patterns, maintaining relationships, utilizing feedback, being observant, and staying curious are all signs of intelligence. However, as Steve Jobs articulated, the ability to “zoom out” and see the broader picture might be the most telling sign of all.

Being able to synthesize information and view situations holistically is what set Jobs apart and drove his success at Apple. It enabled him to foresee trends, innovate, and make strategic decisions that others might not have envisioned. This holistic perspective allows for innovative thinking and strategic decision-making, hallmarks of truly intelligent individuals.

Read More: 10+ Illustrations Depicting the Harsh Truth About Modern Society


  1. 5 Subtle Signs You’re Smarter Than You Think.” Psychology Today. Alice Boyes Ph.D. June 14, 2023.
  2. 13 signs you’re smarter than you think you are.” Business Insider. Shana Lebowitz and Áine Cain. July 11, 2023.
  3. Steve Jobs revealed the number one sign that means someone has high intelligence.” Unilad. Callum Jones. June 6, 2024.