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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Mira Zaslove.

Being brilliant and talented isn’t going to make you happy or satisfied. In fact, the reverse may more often be true: people who have the most, are often the least satisfied.

Seems like common sense that a fancy education, great career, etc. would make someone happy. More, should equal, better? However, people who seem to have it all, are also the least satisfied with themselves— and the world around them.

  • Perhaps it’s a matter of expectations? When these “brilliant and talented people” get that next promotion, that fancy new degree, they expect it. They aren't that proud or happy. After all, it didn’t really take that much struggle, and everyone expected them to succeed.

Yet, when they lose, no matter how little the loss is compared with all of their wins, they are devastated, and unable to handle any disappointment.

Most people feel much more pain in losing than they feel happiness in succeeding. And then, when you add in that these people are so used to succeeding, the feelings associated with loss aversion  are only enhanced.

  • These brilliant and talented people also often compare themselves with others who are more successful. And there is always someone more successful. Because they are so “brilliant and talented” they could presumably do anything? They are just as smart as the next guy, so why aren’t they as successful? And The Paradox of Choice  would suggest that the options are endless, so inevitably they are always stuck doing less than they should?

Happiness is often not directly correlated with outward measures of success. It’s too easy to find examples of brilliant and talented people who reached the apex of success, yet still struggled with depression, and ultimately went so far as to end their own lives.

So, whether you have all the brilliance and talent in the world or are struggling to make ends meet, finish your degree, and get a job, your happiness is still up to you.

Satisfaction isn’t dependent on the things society often tells you that it is. Invest in experiences, relationships, and don't take yourself too seriously. Laugh, and be okay not having it all. You have enough already.

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