Why do Intelligent People Fail to Feel Happy?

Have you ever wondered why it might be that the most intelligent people and deep thinkers often don’t feel happy? They may have a loving partner or a loving family, a beautiful house with a big garden, the fastest and most expensive cars, be very successful professionally and yet not being able to feel truly happy?

I’ve been wondering about why it might be the case and have listed five possible reasons for this phenomenon. They might not apply to all intelligent people, but it feels like they are of high relevance to many.

They have high expectations
Intelligent people have clear goals, aims and expectations. They know exactly what they want and they won’t settle for anything less than that nor for any sub-standard. It applies to all areas of life. They cannot stand people who perform at any level below excellent. They don’t understand why things don’t happen fast. They have a low tolerance for slapdash attitudes and for lack of forward thinking from those around them. They struggle to tolerate inefficiency, and people who don’t understand what true customer service is about (and that is, from experience, most companies, I find!).

Having high expectations means that it is harder to satisfy such a person. It might lead to frequent disappointment and increased anxiety levels when expectations are not met. Which of course impacts their level of happiness.

They value their time very highly
Time is their biggest asset, and they are fully aware of it. That is why they don’t let anyone waste it. They get on with people who respect their time, deliver to meet expectations, or ideally those who exceed them. Standing in a queue would not be something they have an appetite for and would happily pay extra to receive a better and more robust service.

Private banking might serve as an excellent example here. If this is not the case, they are not happy. Inefficiency is their biggest enemy because it leads to their time being wasted. They surround themselves with people who are efficient and who deliver in line with deadlines. They respect those who respect their time.

Companies who want to serve high net worth clients must be aware of it and have a robust and efficient customer service at the heart of everything they do. There is no wiggle room there, no appetite for getting things wrong or for missing deadlines. Any of these will result in a business lost forever and, most likely, a reputational loss, which is the hardest to gain and the easiest to lose!

They are perfectionists
Perfectionism has been a hot topic recently. It can either have a positive or a negative side. In positive cases, it motivates an individual to achieve better things, to be better, to aim higher. It is undoubtedly an advantageous trait to have. However, over perfectionism might lead to hugely negative consequences. Such an individual might find that they are never able to be happy because perfection is nearly impossible to achieve. Also, where it is possible, it often requires a significant effort for one to achieve it. Sheryl Sandberg once said that in facebook offices there are posters, which state: ‘Done is better than perfect’. I can completely relate to it. A perfectionist might have difficulties with delivering because their material is never perfect enough to be shared with their boss, stakeholders or an audience of any type. Writing a book, for example, might prove to be an impossible task for a perfectionist. That is why perfectionists often struggle with lack of happiness. Some might even suffer from anxiety or even depression.

They think a lot and possibly over analyse
‘Analysis is paralysis’, they say. It is certainly true in case of over analysing. The trouble is that an analytical person does not know where the border between analysing and overanalysing is. Crossing that border is relatively easy and might not ever be realised. But constant analysing and over analysing drains a lot of energy, especially if conclusions are potentially not in line with expectations or not positive. It is easy to see how it might impact their ability to feel happy if the focus is on analysing for most of the time.

For those analytical minds, raising their heads above the level of a great detail might be very challenging. Hence it might also be challenging to gain a different perspective and relax for a bit from time to time, regain emotional balance and refocus into our small, daily blessings for example, which are a great source of happy, little moments.

They think faster than others
They are fast thinkers and people around them might have troubles following them. It might lead to a lot of frustration on both sides: the fast thinker might be annoyed by not feeling understood, and the other person might feel less because they are unable to follow and understand, always feeling a step behind. None of the parties would be happy in this scenario.

They always want more
They know they are smart, they feel that they deserve and therefore they always aim for more and want more. More challenge at work or in personal life, more recognition, more education, more money, more/better cars. The list goes on. Having more and more may be satisfying initially, but with time, it may have an opposite effect.

Having everything leads to the feeling of not having anything more to aim for. This, in turn, might leads to lack of happiness! Believe or not!

What might also be the case is that one individual might display more than one of the above factors. If that is the case, the unhappiness might be even greater or it might happen faster then it would otherwise be so. What might also need to be considered, is any pre-existing factors, which might affect an individual from biological or genetic perspective. These might lead to being at a greater risk of suffering from depression for example.

Some of these factors may sound familiar to you. Can you relate? Are you an individual who expects high standards and doesn’t always receive them? How do you deal with those situation? Do you struggle when your time is wasted on inefficiency? Do you tend to over analyse and be a perfectionist? Does it help you or does it hurt you? Do share your thoughts! Especially these related to your strategies of handling such scenarios in your life.

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