Being born gifted seems like a lucky break. However, there are problems that come with these talents that can make it hard for gifted people to be truly happy.

History gives us many examples of gifted people who were often unhappy. From statespersons such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill to writers such as Virginia Wolf and Charles Dickens. These gifted individuals seem to have had everything going for them, yet many were deeply depressed. Apparently, being gifted has a downside.

Here are 8 reasons why gifted people find it hard to be happy.

1. Gifted people overthink things

Many talented people spend a lot of time in their own heads. They analyze everything to the Nth degree, which can be mentally draining. It can also lead to a lot of procrastination because the talented individual finds it hard to choose between a variety of options.

Thus, gifted people find it hard to take action and may feel they are failing to put their talents to good use.

2. Gifted people worry more

Closely related to this problem of overthinking is the fact that talented people also tend to worry more. Interviewing students on campus about various topics of discussion, Alexander Penney at MacEwan University in Canada found that those with a higher IQ felt more anxiety. Penney found that the gifted students tended to worry more about their past actions and conversations than those of more average intelligence.

3. Gifted people find it hard to conform

Gifted people believe in their own ideas and find it difficult to support ideas they find less innovative. This can make it hard for gifted individuals to come to a consensus when working with others. In addition, others may fail to understand the ideas of the most talented and prefer to take more conventional approaches.

Another factor is that gifted people are often less interested in conventional rewards systems. For them, ideas and creativity are more important than meeting deadlines or targets.

4. Gifted people are easily bored

Gifted people need a lot of mental stimulation to keep them interested in a subject. They can easily become bored and frustrated with mundane tasks. They can find it hard to stay focused, especially if they do not see any real meaning or benefit in what they are being required to do.

Others may also find them difficult to work with because their high energy and flood of ideas can be difficult to follow.

5 Gifted people are highly sensitive

Some gifted people are extremely sensitive. They can also be empathetic to the point that others hesitate to share problems with them. These gifted adults face the difficult task of learning to protect themselves emotionally while still remaining open to others.

Highly talented people are also sensitive to criticism. Unfortunately, they may face criticism often, due to others’ misunderstandings of their ideas. In the long term, this can lead to a lowering of self-esteem and increased unhappiness.

6 Gifted people are highly perceptive

Gifted people are usually highly perceptive and this can cause problems in working with others. Often the gifted person can see when others are manipulating them. The perception of the gifted individual makes it easy for them to see through fake motivations.

The dilemma of the gifted adult is whether to hide their insights and respond superficially in a socially acceptable way or to use their perceptions and risk rejection. In addition, others may feel threatened by the gifted person’s perceptions and become defensive and hostile.

7. Gifted people have high standards

Gifted people often set themselves, and others, very high standards. This can lead to overwork and exhaustion. It can also affect their relationships with others who find their high standards too demanding.

Talented individuals often have big goals and look for a purpose and meaning behind everything they do. This can mean they are unable to slow down and enjoy life, which eventually leads to burnout and unhappiness.

8. Gifted people long for meaningful relationships

Gifted individuals often have deep and complex ideas that others find it hard to understand. This can mean it is hard for gifted individuals to find people they relate to at a deeper level. Talented individuals find it hard to maintain relationships that are on a superficial level. If they fail to find deep and meaningful relationships, they can end up feeling very alone.

So being gifted is not as easy as it may first appear. However, gifted individuals can be happy. They just have to find the work and relationships that suit their deeper thoughts and insights. Gifted individuals can also become happier if they work on overcoming their perfectionist traits and learn to relax and let go a little more often.

If you are a gifted person who has struggled in any way, please share your insights with us.

Copyright © 2012-2024 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

power of misfits book banner desktop

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss new thought-provoking articles!

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Rajev

    But then who are these gifted people and are they really rare commodities

  2. Jessica

    I can relate to all points, except for nr. 7, I suspect because of my ADD.
    But the question is.. if it applies to me, what am I gifted in? Haven’t figured that out yet…..

    1. bryan

      its not about being gifted in a particular area..its a broad term defining a gifted mind.

  3. Jen

    Well summarized Kristie. As a gifted person myself, and a psychologist and coach for gifted adults, I can affirm what you’ve said here ! I would add that these qualities can also create a lot of joy and depth, when a gifted person learns how to use and channel them effectively.

    Thanks for writing about this important topic !

  4. Karl

    Wow! I am a 28 year old man and I just found out what gifted individuals was all about. The describtions you were depicting implied to me solomley. I have truly had a difficult time to socialize with anyone because of my odd commodeties in life. No one have ever related to me nor understood my life-goal belongings as I’ve delt momentarly hardships thoughout hell, again and again – unable to do something againt. Being relentlessly impaired in social activities have made me frustrated within all disbelief! Firstly, by the lack of empathy from others. I mean, come on – where is the compassion in all of this? Life does not only include social norms by the statistics and number of it? There are feelings and devotion here as well!! Other than this I feel quite reluctant that I am not alone in an empty space. We are not alone. Thank God for that! God bless you all.

    1. Marie

      H Karl. I can relate in the lack of compassion for gifted people, especially today in the conformist society that everybody tries to fit in the norm (set by media or who ?). If I am refusing to fit the norm, I am being ostracized or even bullied by the “compassionate society”. Most of those who try to ostracize me are working on their “compassion”. No, we are not alone ! These other compassionate people have others who have passion and are lively, keep their clear mind and don´t buy into bullshit. I would so love to find some of these highly gifted, courageous people. I often frequent some online courses to learn and help myself to heal from trauma injury (sadly happened in therapy after I had wanted to get help from a psychopathic individual that torn me to trauma). However, instead of asking my questions and being compassionate, I stay alone in the these facebook groups. I work with the educational material. I ask questions, Others don´t ask that much or not at all. Being ostracized by more stupid people is tough (I like to call them stupid as there is no other way, this is what they are), however, the tough thing is…I pay for this. I pay for not getting answers. Maybe I need to protect myself more and more, become tough. I am removing myself from the facebook “likes”, I can go for weeks without any like in a closed group that I pay for getting me answers to the educational material. However, I refuse to pay them for it. I would so love to drop from these places. We are not alone. Than God for that. Maybe we could live on some happy island and let the others figure it out on their own.

      1. David

        Hello, I am one of you. How do you do it? How do you survive? Please respond. I cannot take it anymore.

  5. Katherine

    Thanks for this article! The world needs to be more knowledgeable about gifted people and how giftedness is manifested in daily life.

  6. Eduardo

    I’m seeing myself on all those descriptions.

    I discovered a couple of months that I’m a gifted person after reading a lot of webpages like this one. This webpage describes exactly the way I think and fell line by line.

    It is a big burden being a gifted person. Very few people understands life the same way as we do.


  7. Eduardo Rodrigues


    I fell very sad I didn’t found this early. My life would be different.


  8. Thaís Barros

    I have just found out that I am a gifted person and I am starting to read and study about it. I am from Brazil and what I found in portuguese talks about children so I started to look for material in english and found a lot of interesting things! It is making me finally understand myself and maybe I will feel better about my my life! I hope so!

  9. christine

    I identify with all of this, but I can’t help thinking if maybe I’m just an immature whiny stuck up person. How are we to determine the true reasons behind the behavior?

    1. Adam

      Yup, that’s where my sentiments lie. If you ever see this, you may want to look a little into existential depression and what all that entails.

  10. Marie

    Hi Kirstie. Thank you for this education. It made my day.
    I would like to ask you what would you advice to do when I am highly gifted and I do online courses for my education and healing and pay for it and I keep working with these materials hard. I ask questions, I do all the work…and slowly but surely, the providers don´t respond to me, nobody in the facebook group does not respond, nobody does not like.
    I would like to receive the money refund and leave the course, but I am afraid it has been past the two weeks time.
    I don´t unfortunately know about any learning ways for gifted people. I have access only to this source of learning. This learning means a lot to me, however….the stress of paying money and being ostracized is very high. I am often getting sick in my body. I had as well experience of being bullied (at school) and in facebook for asking questions.
    Is there a way how I could inform the provider to issue me the money refund…when I am being mistreated ?
    Other people do “like” each other at facebook , responded (however they don´t ask after the content of the education), they are just saying ” I like it or that”. I had been already pointed out from the teacher of the course in video, audio online that “somebody asks many questions that are too congnitive”. The thing is that nobody is allowed to ask personal questions. I am the one in the frontline. I am the one to be bullied. I don´t want to suffer in there. I count days until this online course ends (it has been since 4 weeks I am counting, sadly).
    I was thinking that I am going to openly ask in facebook why they are ostracizing me ?

    Maybe I will never be able to find any education good for me.
    Thank you very much for any insight or advice.

  11. Matthew

    Every one of these applies too me, but to the other people that do have this, learn to let everything go and move with the stream of life. In areas where you fall short, mentally upgrade and evolve your psyche.

  12. PauC

    Thanks everyone! Gifted people can easily simplify very complex things and they see the hidden simplicity in many things, thus their perception of reality is way beyond the shallow perception of mediocre folks. Do not generalize that gifted people overthink things. That statement is somewhat judgemental from the perspective of gifted people since we do not overthink things: our mode of thinking can just be completely different and superb compared with mediocre pips. Moreover, we do not always worry more: we can even care less in some situations. What’s the point of worrying about mediocrity and conformity if this society needs the help of specialized gifted people in order to ameliorate the current status of our society and the whole world in general especially during Pandemic. It may be hard for gifted people to conform, but most of the time, they have no choice but to conform in order to thrive and “fit in” society. Everyone longs for meaningful relationships and I hope that we will be able to manage and enjoy our relationships and make them truly meaningful during this Pandemic. Thanks for reading. God bless you.

  13. Carmia

    Hi Kristie, thank you for this article. I was identified as highly gifted when I was 8 and have never fit in. I always felt I had to either hide my true self, opinions and insights or defend my opinions, as no one ever “got” me. Almost to the point of feeling that something is wrong with me and leading me to distance myself from others. Reading this article was in many ways like looking in the mirror.

  14. Gabriel Caron

    Fascinating read – applies to a lot of people. Of course, there are the exceptions, of which I know several:
    Very gifted but could care less about anything. Coasting through life, definitely not overthinking things. In these few instances, being gifted led to laziness and lack of effort as opposed to the reverse. May end up holding them back in the game of life. Even the best athletes know that being born talented only gets one so far and endless practice and hard work pushes one over the top.

    Best of luck to all, in any event.

  15. Mel

    This is me, too—all 8. I am an artist. It has been a difficult life and I still struggle daily. I have trouble relating to other people, and they to me. I am probably too introspective and am currently making more of an effort to improve by trying to look at things from other people’s points of view and being helpful. Are there any good books for people like me?

  16. Mel

    Thank you, Anna. I have started reading it!

Leave a Reply