Most people think that the more intelligent they are, the easier their lives will become. However, the correlation between intelligence and daily life isn’t so black and white. In fact, answers to a recent Quora thread titled, “When does intelligence become a curse?” proved just that with more than 100 responses.
Users wrote about things like absurdly high expectations, constantly being perceived as a know-it-all or a showoff, and much more. The point is, every person has their own struggles and obstacles to overcome; it doesn’t really have anything to do with your level of intelligence. If you’re more intelligent than the average person, you’ll still have problems to face, they’ll just be more complex.
Here are four downsides of intelligence gathered from the most intriguing responses.
1. You Don’t Feel, You Think
Intelligent people have a problem with expressing their emotions or making decisions based on gut feelings. It’s not that their feelings are more complex and they can’t accurately explain them to others, it’s that they understand them too well, and therefore have trouble truly expressing.
When the average person has an emotion, that emotion is expressed through an action like crying or yelling. When an intelligent person feels a strong emotion, they don’t always get to express them in a physical sense due to their own understanding of the feeling itself. Their brain seeks to understand, but that doesn’t always mean expression.
2. You’re Expected to Perform
One of the most common downsides to being intelligent is the expectation placed on your future. In the thread, many responses had to do with the high expectations intelligent people feel in regards to their capabilities, a responsibility that the average person doesn’t have to assume.
The problem with this is that it actually keeps intelligent people from taking risks. The expectation to perform at a high level creates a fear of failure, which can keep people from making tough decisions. Instead of performing to their potential, they are stuck worrying about a possible failure instead of doing what it takes to succeed.
3. You Understand the Amount You Don’t Know
Being intelligent doesn’t mean you know everything, in fact, you’re probably more aware of what you don’t know than anyone else. It’s a common theme in science that the more you find out, the more there is to find out. Take a look at quantum physics for example; once we reached that level of science, we quickly realized that we weren’t any closer to answers, we just fell further down the rabbit hole.
Intelligent people feel like this all the time. They know a great deal, but that knowledge also shows them how much they don’t understand, or how much there is left to learn. This can make a pursuit of knowledge feel pointless.
4. You Look Like a Know-It-All
When an intelligent person hears someone say something completely inaccurate, it’s hard for them not to correct the error. This is a feeling everyone can relate to, and most people are eager to correct another person’s mistakes. But for intelligent people, they hear these mistakes often and it’s frustrating.
Correcting these mistakes makes you look like a know-it-all, but not correcting them just perpetuates a person’s misunderstanding. There’s no winning to this situation, and it can create a sense of hopelessness for the extremely intelligent.