Main Reasons Why Highly Intelligent People Are Miserable
“It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.” — Albert Einstein
If you’re anything like me, then a high level of intelligence has been a huge handicap throughout the course of your life. It might sound a bit counterintuitive at first, but trust me, it’s a lesson best learned from the experiences of others.
A friend of mine once posted a picture on Instagram with a rather saddening caption — something to do with depression. In the picture, he sat on the edge of a street pavement looking like he had just drank an entire distillery. Strangely, what caught my attention wasn’t the post itself, it was actually a comment left by one of his followers that read, “Aren’t you supposed to be smart? Why can’t you think up a way to be happy.” If I’m to be completely non-biased, there’s a reasonable element to that question but a large part of me just thinks it’s a stupid thing to say to someone. No matter how intelligent a person is, they are still human not machines.
It’s a well-known fact that nobody is perfect. We’re all good at certain things and not so great at others. The most athletic kid in your high school as at that time was probably not the brightest, and I’m betting the same was the case vice versa. I believe that’s just nature’s way of balancing the equation — making us all need each other for different things. After all, no man is an island… right?
We know how much we don’t know
Have you ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger Effect? If you haven’t come across the term before, you have definitely experienced the principle. It’s a psychological rule that states; it’s the most incompetent who are the most confident, while the intelligent ones doubt their own abilities. Put simply, dumb people are too dumb to know how dumb they are. Smart people are clever enough to know how much they don’t know. British philosopher Bertrand Russell who first laid out the idea perhaps summed it up best: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” Basically, all of us have a pretty lousy grasp of the limits of our own competence one way or another.
We often suffer from loneliness and depression
As Brookings Institution researcher Carol Graham explained to the Washington Post, “Those with more intelligence and the capacity to use it… are less likely to spend so much time socializing because they are focused on some other longer-term objective.”
Whenever I realize I don’t carry the same worries as my peers, I tend to stay on my own. Or worse, I imprison myself in my own depressed state. I am always analyzing problems I can’t solve in my mind which leads to deeper depression.
People expect too much from us
Having a brilliant brain is wonderful. But having to deal with people’s expectations of the great things I’m supposed to do with my brain? Not so much. The pressure can be overwhelming, and as I noted earlier, we’re not machines.
We get bored very easily
Prioritizing all the great ideas I constantly come up with is a big problem for me. The moment a project, relationship, or person stops stimulating my brain, I’m done. Ready to move on to the next challenge. This is the main reason I rarely follow through with things and most of my relationships suffer.
We think we’re too advanced for the basics
I honestly do. Perfecting the fundamentals always appears to be a daunting task. Why waste time on the basics when I learn things as fast as I do?
Most times, I avoid the basics to shield myself from any revelations of my ignorance.
As far as I’m concerned, things are never as they appear to be. I read between every line and then the lines in-between those. It’s extremely exhausting but I can’t help it.
We are widely misunderstood
It’s difficult finding people who understand me as a person and the burdens I carry. That’s why there’s an automatic emotional and mental connection when I meet people who are in some way similar to myself.
We find it difficult to give and show love
My romantic partners suffer this the most. I can be distant and sometimes insensitive to delicate matters. In relationships generally, I tend to ignore the looming problems until they become too big to ignore. Because there is always so much on my mind at any given time, I find it hard to truly sympathize with people or feel empathy. I wouldn’t say my emotional intelligence is completely wack, but it does need a lot of work.
We try to avoid unsatisfactory feelings by hanging out in our own imagination most of the time. Our perspective is completely different from that of others. People find it hard to understand us, and that’s because we’re a very niche group. They’re simply not used to our type.
We all have our own major flaws. The most important thing is that you know what they are and continue to work on them.
I have accepted who I am and all the baggage that comes with it. If you’re in a similar situation, you should do the same. If you personally know anyone in a similar situation, at least now you can understand them a bit better.