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Are Intelligent People Miserable?

Picture by: Reddit. “It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.” — Albert Einstein

Are the intellectual elite more afflicted because they understand life’s complexities? I argue that intelligent people may be successful professionally but are profoundly despondent. It is a long-held belief that average minds are comparably content.

Raj Raghunathan, author of “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?”, elucidates that intelligent people make themselves dejected as they evaluate themselves against benchmark often arduous to achieve. He explains, for instance, if you get an upraise you may be temporarily content but you’ll keep needing the raise to sustain your happiness level. Most times for people it is not a lasting source of happiness. Thus, there is little or no correlation between intelligence and happiness.

Intelligent people tend to be more goal-oriented. They associate their happiness in winning every situation. This makes them peculiarly vulnerable to depression when encountering impromptu events or losses. Hence, they experience loss aversion bias and react more strongly to negative changes in their status quo. Thus, making them more prone to melancholy.

Smart people often work relentlessly towards their goals and purpose but fail to take pleasure in the process. A simple tactic for all the intelligent folks out there: move your focus to the net impact rather than focusing on success or failure of each project. It is important to free one’s mind and lessen attachment to external goals. It’s okay to take a step back to attain internal happiness and harmony.


Are Intelligent People Miserable? was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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