Being smart is supposed to be a blessing. After all, the smartest persons in the world are the ones responsible for creating the stuff that everybody uses. But does being super-intelligent make you happy, at all? Turns out, it does not.
Below are some reasons why really smart people are often less happy. If you can relate to any of these issues or all of them, then I have some good and bad news for you. You’re smart, but with all the side-effects.
They face unrealistic expectations by others
How many times have you heard this, “You’re smart, you’ll be able to fix this without any problem or help”? Often there is an incredible amount of outside pressure that’s put on the more intelligent ones among us.
Sadly, those assumptions of grandeur and ease of effort are almost always misplaced. Nobody can just perform better or do the impossible because they have a higher IQ. Even the greatest genius may struggle with many things.
The thing is, you can’t be the expert in everything. Smart people come in many forms: maths-based, creative writers, problem solvers, to name just a few.
The only problem is that the world expects you to be able to handle everything on your own, with ease, as soon as you score well on an intelligence test.
It’s a label that’s put on you and it can make you feel inadequate, stressed and eventually very unhappy.
Their thoughts never stop churning
Over-analyzing and pondering every mistake or move they made is one of the symptoms of having an intelligent mind. Maybe you’re familiar with this. It happens quite a lot when trying to catch some sleep and your brain just starts to analyze events of the day or even from long ago.
It hurts the overall mental state of an individual when you can’t experience peace of mind. Complicated cognitive processes will keep your brain from fully resting, often leading to feelings of depression and misery.
There is no easy fix for this as it’s seemingly impossible to shut off this flow of (bad) thoughts.
One thing that many smart people have to do is provide enough outside interference so that their minds can’t spin up another round of pondering.
Going to sleep while the tv is still on, listening to music or having white noise devices are some good ways to block out the thoughts.
If you’re in need of such things, you may want to check these products out, they could potentially help your mind rest a bit more.
The Marpac Dohm Classic is the original white noise machine and the one that I personally use (not that I consider myself an intellectual). It has a lot of different settings that aren’t too intrusive.
I also used to use a Sennheiser PXC 550 to fall asleep while listening to documentaries. It’s wireless and has really soft padding, so when you roll on your side it will still be comfortable.
The Dodow Sleep Aid is another product that helps people to fall asleep faster. I’ve not personally tested this one, but the reviews seem really positive. You may want to check it out.
They put too much pressure on themselves
It doesn’t always have to be the outside world that sets unrealistic expectations for the intelligent, they can do it to themselves.
Realizing the potential of their IQ, they often find themselves wanting more than the average person. They simply won’t settle for something that is beneath their maximum potential.
That’s fine, it’s a good goal to strive for excellence but it has to be realistic. Too often the goals set are just incredibly demanding and nearly impossible to reach, even with higher intelligence.
They tend to focus too much on what they should be getting out of it through their own efforts and neglect the other factors that can influence the outcome of that process.
Smart people often consider themselves to be one-man armies. Who needs help when you’re probably smarter anyway? Well, everybody does. So if you’re feeling that you’re underachieving, you’re probably trying to reach your goal without asking for help.
They won’t always be successful
Everybody seems to think that intelligence is a golden ticket to riches and success. It’s not. Hard work and dedication would get you there, just being smart isn’t an action, it’s a tool.
Smart people who fail to use their intelligence as a great tool for success, are often stuck in sub-average careers or performances.
Have a look at some self-help books like Napoleon Hill’s Key To Succes: The 17 Principles Of Personal Achievement, to give yourself some guidance on how to use your intelligence as the ultimate tool.
To be successful in business it comes down to communication and trust. You’ll need those skills, as most people would rather buy something from someone that they trust and not the one with the biggest brain.
Having a high IQ is great to solve problems and find great opportunities that others may not have thought about, but it won’t be enough to actually make them work for you.
Emotional, moral and physical intellect are the biggest factors in achieving financial success. Luckily, these include skills that can be developed.
So don’t assume every smart person is automatically bound for success, their chances may be slightly higher, but it still takes additional skills and training.
They find socializing more painful than being alone
When an intelligent person wants to have a conversation, they want it about subjects that are meaningful to them. The idea of just making small talk isn’t at all enticing.
The same things go for dating, often not an easy task for the highly intelligent individual.
They need to surround themselves with people who are very compatible and think alike. It’s best to actually remove the people who drain your sanity, from your life.
In Atomic Attraction: The Psychology of Attraction it is said that ” Attraction doesn’t grow in a warm, safe environment, it grows in a swamp of discomfort and anxiety. This is just one of the many truths you’re about to discover. “
However, a highly intelligent person expects a lot from others as well. They tend to dislike people who they can not connect with on an intellectual level. So dating and relationships, in general, depend more on the contents of discussions rather than physical attraction.
That’s why really smart people often just prefer to be alone. They can keep themselves busy well enough and don’t have to deal with others who potentially drag them down on an emotional level.
They often have mental health issues
All that over-analyzing, not meeting goals and the pressure from others will lead to mental health issues.
Although there is no real data or science to prove this, the reality is that smart people often suffer from depressions and anxiety.
The key to happiness, for them, is to find enough distractions to keep the gloomy thoughts in check. This needs to be something that they enjoy intellectually as well.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: Most Effective Tips and Tricks to Retraining Your Brain, Managing and Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Phobias, Depression, Panic and Other Mental Health Issues: Intelligence and Soft Skills, Book 3 is a great resource.
However, one of the best ways for intellectuals to both put their minds at work and drown out the bad thoughts, is helping others.
You can challenge yourself by providing solutions to problems that other people are facing. Helping someone else is also a proven factor that influences happiness. So give it a try.
Simple everyday problems give them much more stress
What may seem like a minor issue for most people can be a really big deal for the over-thinking intellectual. Because they always analyze and question everything, they find it much harder to deal with otherwise trivial problems.
Master Your Emotions: A Smart Guide to Learn How to Manage Your Feelings, Overcome Negative Thoughts teaches you just how to stop letting negative feelings overcome you.
If you are able to set aside your negative feelings, you will be able to analyze a troublesome situation in a calm way. This will allow you to figure out how to get out of that situation.
When you’re facing problems and you notice that you’re beating yourself up for them, instead of solving them, you have to stop yourself. I know that’s much easier said than done, but it is necessary.
It all comes down to not letting your intelligence influence your emotional state in a bad way.
They are not necessarily the healthiest people
You’d think that someone who is smart enough to solve complex scientific problems would have the brains to realize that they need a healthy body as well.
Mens sana in corpore sano, as the ancient saying goes. A healthy mind in a healthy body.
However, this is often not the case for smart people.
Do you ever find yourself awake at 3 AM, doing a big brain nightly run? Well, that’s actually not healthy.
Also, because of all the stress they endure, they very often resort to substance abuse to lift the heavy burden. Alcohol and tobacco are not used by the lowest educated, they are found to be used even more often by intelligent people.
It can sometimes feel as if a smart mind is actually detrimental to your overall health. Stress and anxiety, combined with poor sleeping habits can in fact even lead to heart disease.
Luckily there are numerous ways to combat the negative spiral and get your healthy lifestyle back on track fast.
Your eating habits are also a huge factor here. If you’re stuck thinking about negative things or stressing out for no apparent reason, you still need to take the time to eat, drink and live healthily. According to Harvard Medical School, these are best things to eat and drink.
Footnote & Share this article
Did you feel like some of these things really applied to you? It can be a bit daunting if you’re facing these problems, but I’m sure you’ll pull through if you just put your mind to it (yeh… I went there).
Let me know in the comments.
As always, thanks for reading.
If you’d like to share this post, here’s a nice pin to add to your best boards.