6 Reasons Why Smart People Cant Find Happiness

Happiness is the feeling of contentment and satisfaction that is craved by many but only achieved by some. Happiness is relative and subjective. But for many successful individuals, the presence of a great family life and a flourishing career is often not enough. On some occasions these do not prevent an smart individual from feeling a sense of loneliness, often sadness and melancholy. 

Here are six psychological reasons why smart people have a harder time finding happiness. 

1. Intelligent people over-analyze

Many individuals with high levels of intelligence often over think and analyze everything that occurs in their life and surroundings. While their ability to analyze things is a great asset, the constant analysis of everything often lead to frustrations especially when coming up with an undesired conclusion.

Being able to see through people’s intentions is a burden that most people don’t get to carry. Oftentimes, knowing how ugly the real world is like is disappointing and frustrating. Not to mention, the timeless dilemmas of global and philosophical issues that seem to have no solution is a constant mental plague. In this case, the saying “Ignorance is bliss” is true.


 2. Intelligent people have high standards

Smart individuals often hold everything with high standards. The failure to reach these standards often leads to frustration and disappointment regardless if it is their career, relationships or anything else that they hold important in their life.

The idealistic view of the world and poor practical intelligence of people with brilliant theoretical minds often have trouble coping with the raw reality of life. When faced with issues that contradict their expectations, this inevitably leads to feelings of great disappointment.


3. Intelligent people are extremely self-critical

Unhappiness for highly intelligent people also stems from their deep-thinking nature. Not limited to their success and failures, these individuals rigorously analyze and compare themselves to higher standards that they unintentionally seek reasons to blame themselves.

Intelligent people often experience flashbacks of events that have happened years, sometimes months ago, of situations which they believe they behaved poorly or inappropriately. Negative emotions such as guilt and discontent fills their mind and disturbs their mood, dousing out any form of happiness of the person.


4. Intelligent people are overly ambitious

People with high intelligence cannot be satisfied with what they already have. Their complex mind gives them the ability to seek something bigger and better, a purpose. These people fail to enjoy mundane things in everyday life is because their minds crave something stimulating and fantastically idealistic that cannot be found in the real world.

This is often manifested by inability to accept the time and space they belong to. They feel that they are living in the wrong place at the wrong time. That everything could be better, but just isn’t.


5. Intelligent people are often misunderstood

Everyone yearns to be understood and accepted. The comfort of having meaningful conversations with a like-minded person, one who shares the same ideas, worldviews and philosophies is priceless. Most intelligent people hardly ever find someone who can connect with them. This makes them feel alone and misunderstood, that no one is capable of seeing and appreciating the deep brilliance of their minds.

While it is scientifically proven that people with high levels of intelligence don’t need to socialize much as average intelligence people to be happy; still, the human need to interact is still there. People with high intelligence simply prefer to talk about meaningful and fascinating things rather than trivial subjects such as food, weather and other people. This is believed to be the result of the consumerist and materialist society.


6. Intelligent people often develop psychological issues

borderline personality disorder

There have been many studies that found links between psychiatric problems such as anxiety disorders and bipolar disorders with high intelligence. Although it is not really a certainty whether or not these disorders stem from having a brilliant mind, however, it cannot be fully denied either.

Those intelligent people who do not suffer from mental disorders, however are still prone to existential depression. This is often the result of extensive analysis of everything that, ultimately, leads to self-reflection on life, death and purpose of existence. This can bring forth feelings of sadness for no obvious reasons.

Ultimately, people hold the key to their own happiness. The circumstances that surround a person plays a big part but not entirely determine how he perceives happiness. It’s a matter of perspective and priority. What are your thoughts about this? Let us know down the comments!

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How Consumerism and Materialism of Modern Society Make Us Unhappy, Lonely and Unconfident retrieved from: http://www.learning-mind.com/consumerism-and-materialism-unhappy/

New Study Reveals the Real Reason Why Smart People Are Better off Alone retrieved from: http://www.learning-mind.com/why-smart-people-are-better-off-alone/

Why Deep People Often Feel Alone and Misunderstood (and What They Can Do about It) retrieved from: http://www.learning-mind.com/feel-alone-and-misunderstood/

Why Intelligent People Can’t find Happiness: https://themindsjournal.com/intelligence-happiness/

Why smart people are better off with fewer friends retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/18/why-smart-people-are-better-off-with-fewer-friends/

All images belong to their respective owners.

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  1. This is a great article. I suppose people tell me I’m intelligent often enough so I find it interesting that I can identify with every bullet point presented. It’s nice to have these traits explained so and is reassuring that I’m not alone with the way I feel. Thanks for a helpful article!

    1. Thank you! Glad you found the article helpful. Please support our other writers by reading other articles on the blog and sharing our work! 🙂

  2. Often been told that I am an intelligent (for my age:17) by people, reading this is interesting and relatable…to an extent. Though I am moderately happy in life, it Is unsatisfying. Unsatisfied seems a better choice word unhappy because my belief is not one person can achieve true happiness-no matter how much the claim to be so.

  3. I have proven and been told of my intelligence, even tested high I.Q. wise as a young adult. I worked a complicated, stressful job for 36 years, most of the time very depressed and lonely. It eventually caused me to retire at 59 years old and divorce my wife of 30 years. Now I am off anti-depressants and abilify, just creating my own projects and loving life. I never realized my intelligence could become such a disability, life is too precious to live that way, what a shame to suffer silently for so long…..

  4. Thanks so much for sharing! This was really insightful.
    Now I know that the goal for this article was just to expose the reasons why smart people are often unhappy, but what about things specifically catered for the highly intelligent mind that these people can do in order to come closer to happiness? Is there anything that works to simmer down such internal chaos?

  5. Hmm…as someone who likes to consider themselves intelligent I found this article…interesting and maybe slightly insulting but it did bring a lot of self evaluation. I do tend to have very high standards and over analyze but I don’t necessarily see how it’s a bad thing? I mean I definitely can see how these can lead to self destructive behavior but I guess I’m not fully convinced. I think this article needs more scientific sources before you just over generalize a type of person. What are the parameters for this? what categorizes as “intelligent” because like happiness, that too is subjective. Also you’re title and main sentence don’t really correlate, the title says intelligent people can’t find happiness but your topic sentence says that they just have a harder time so which is it? Again, I think this article is informative but it’s missing more scientific backing so maybe add more articles and by finding those articles you can possibly push this further and explain how an intelligent person could possibly combat these destructive behaviors.

    1. this comment illustrates the high standards category better than the description of it could have, as well as the over analysis. in your attempt to give criticism you’ve shown perfectly the point of this. let me guess, you did what many people did and got mildly insulted by this and instinctively looked for flaws in what made you self reflect. how close am i when you really look deep? over analysis can make things feel like an attack or make you question yourself.

  6. I’m a depth psychologist who works with trauma and dissociation for over 30 years. I have found these corelatons to be true in how people form defenses during and after traumatic events and in relational ruptures; with highly intelligent and creative children using dissociation even to the extreme forming Dissociative Identity Disorder.
    Sensitivity to, feeling burdened by, and having a desire to use their minds to creatively fix human problems remains a strength in the recovery process too -as resilience.

    This is a great explanation for folks who feel on the “outside” looking in.

  7. I relate to every single number. I’ve always overanalyzed everything, I have trouble connecting with people on a deeper level, I hate myself and I ponder the meaning of life every single day. The rigorous thoughts of self hate, world issues, philosophical debating, and psychological analysis of my actions and behavior drives me to damn near insanity.

    I think it may be one of the main reasons why I feel suicidal. I feel worthless and nothing I ever do is good enough. But I have enough awareness to understand the consequences of my death. Even if there exists no afterlife, there is an after-life effect. When my world ends, the world itself doesn’t cease to exist. My cared ones will suffer. And why make my loved ones suffer just because I suffer? Why not stay alive for them? It’s noble isn’t it?

    Nobility and existential questions. Along with a mind that creates constant Utopias, dystopias, nihilistic villains and charismatic protagonists for stories I write, my head is like a cooking pot with depression, hope, sadness, disappointment, and more and more and more.

    Overall. Thank you so much for the psychological lesson that helps me know that I’m not wrong when I accept that I’m intelligent. I often question that as well. Am I really that smart? My voices tell me “of course not, you’re an incompetent pile of feces” but evidence points to “yes” and well, fact trumps feelings. I’m also incredibly deluded. It’s quite convenient to be able to point out your delusions when you have them. I think that’s something normally intelligent people can’t do.

    But thank you for the post. I really enjoyed reading it and watching the video. It’s very helpful! I usually blame myself for my lack of friends and unusual behavior. So it’s good to hear that maybe it’s not all my fault.

  8. If the brilliant mind found his way in the life early, he won’t have any kind of sadness related to his brilliance.
    Building concepts , facts and having a complete image of life at early age is necessary for brilliant minds. if late, he will feel lost all the time.

    1. can someone ever really have a complete view of life at all? i don’t think so, especially early in life. to be human is to be unsure. if we become sure about everything there’s no point to being smart. being unsure is what creates brilliant minds because that lack of knowledge is what drives people to learn.

    2. yeah u right. i thought i got lucky maybe i did idk but uh all i know is this is crazy

  9. It is interesting how these facts are true. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a happy time that wasn’t followed by depression. I’ve been diagnosed as a manic depressant, and I do find it hard to relate things to the average person… if you like this, please let me know.

  10. Damn. I’m H.I.P too? Beside being H.S.P and INFJ. The sadness just never leaves me.

  11. I used to exemplify every bullet point in this article.

    I have found that when I follow what I desire to do, I am happier. When I actually admit, that yes, I am a trans female and not male, there are consequences. Some of those consequences include being happier with myself, enjoying my life, and people asking me why I’m so happy all the time.

    I have learned — much later in life than I would have liked — that happiness is a choice. Positivity and negativity are our only possible responses to whatever situations happen to us during the time we’re awake. I have learned to say when I wake up, “I choose to be happy today!” … and mean it. It may sound too simple, yet it works.

    I had an overcomplicated life. Then I learned something that radically changed my life. Life is simple. The ingredients for a happy, fulfilled life is simple: follow your dreams regardless of what other people think of them.


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