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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.