Why Happiness is Rare in Intelligence

Happiness is an indefinable feeling that most of us struggle to seek. However, why is it that the most intelligent of the bunch tend to find the most difficulty in their pursuit of happiness?

Whilst the human mind has limitless capability, it is an unforeseen obstacle in our path to happiness. But how exactly can we define this elusive feeling? Happiness can be characterized as an emotional state reflected by feelings of joy, contentment, satisfaction and fulfilment. Surely, every individual seeks the feeling in different ways. General happiness is acquired with a stable family life, a healthy romantic relationship, a successful career, good physical health and enough leisure time. Regardless, why is happiness a scarce quality among intelligence?


Highly intelligent individuals naturally over-analyse every aspect of their life. Overthinking allows them to ensure that they are constantly making the best decisions. However, with over-analysis of every detail, comes exhaustion and frustration. There is no doubt that precise ways of thought can be viewed as a valuable asset, but there should be certain limits to every quality.

Extreme Self-Awareness  

When everything in your path is comprehendible, acceptance becomes harder, especially with undesired outcomes. Sadness falls, as you are not as easily fooled by the world as someone else would be. In spite of being incredibly aware of their surroundings, intelligent people  are even more aware of themselves. Often, being immensely attentive of your personal abilities and performance leads to more success in life. Contrarily, being constantly aware of every action and interaction can result in extreme cases of anxiety and sleepless nights.

High Standards

Having high standards can be beneficial at times, however there is an extent to which they can become unrealistic whilst living in an imperfect world. Nonetheless, people with impeccable intelligence rarely settle for less, when knowingly they can always do better. Therefore, in spite of any remarkable achievements, satisfaction with such achievements is rare. This mindset applies to any aspect of their life, including careers and romantic relationships. This demeanour is rather disastrous however, as disappointment and frustration is unfortunately always the outcome. Idealistic ways of thinking often lead to heartbreak when facing reality.


With impeccable self-awareness comes severe self-criticism. They believe they are not competent enough, because they are smart enough to know they do not know everything. Therefore, talented and skilled minds often doubt their own potential and capabilities. Intelligent minds do an excellent job of dwelling on the past by reflecting on what they could have done better. These thinking habits allow for feelings of self-doubt, guilt, self-hatred, and self-blame to consume them. Such internal altercations cause them to be too harsh on themselves which can greatly affect their happiness.

Social isolation

Intelligent individuals often feel isolated from the modern world, as their idealistic ways of thought may be a foreign concept towards most people. They do not get along with most people, because most people do not look at things the way they do. As such, they prefer not to spend time having surface-level interactions and making smalltalk. They naturally gravitate towards novel concepts and theories as well as investing their time in putting them into effect. Due to their peculiar ways of thinking, they are widely misinterpreted, hence they prefer to avoid social interactions, as knowingly they will be misunderstood. The inability to make social connections drives them toward a path of social isolation, loneliness, depression and unhealthy attachment styles.

Ultimately, happiness is rare in intelligence simply because intelligent people do not seek happiness. Due to their natural tendency to overthink, they are wired to devalue the feeling as they seem “like a complex, unattainable goal that needs to be earned and cannot simply be enjoyed.” In other words, happiness may feel like a guilt trip if they feel undeserving of it. In the long run, their self-critical traits will make them self-sabotage any happiness that comes their way.

Featured image by: Mind Journal