Can Intelligence Buy You Happiness?

One hates to write a long answer to a short question, so the short answer is no. But the long answer to this question is that there isn’t anything that can “buy” a person happiness. Happiness comes from within and from a sense of belief in one’s self. Self-fulfillment and the relationships with family and friends might bring a person happiness. But how does intelligence play a role in this equation?

Some of the most intelligent people were extremely unhappy either because of mental illness or the inability to relate to others because of their more than average intellect. Giving the exact reasons is difficult. Abraham Lincoln, Vincent Van Gogh, and Emily Dickenson, to name a few, all had high intelligence. However, all three individuals were also what some clinicians would now diagnose as having bipolar disorder or clinical depression.  Were there bouts of happiness with these individuals? Of course, only an individual person can answer that question.

At times the most gifted people have been the most troubled individuals. People who are mentally ill and highly intelligent talk about their disorders as giving them their highs and lows. The highs being their “creative edges” and the lows being the horrible depressions. Non the less, these people are classified as highly intelligent but tormented rather than happy. Most of these people would not have thought of themselves as happy people, but rather quite the opposite. We often hear of “tortured” artists. These would be the people who fit in this description.  

One should not confuse education with intelligence. As they gain a well-rounded education, a person does increase their chance of obtaining a level of security and happiness. Happiness is obtained by being content with who a person has become, and when a person has reached their dreams or set out to achieve a goal and made a goal, then happiness is usually a reward of reaching a step or a goal.

Happiness is finding a way to be satisfied. Some people are happy when they learn. Others are happy when they are with the people they love. Travel gives some people joy. The key to happiness for an individual is to find out what makes him or her happy. There is an intelligence factor to this quota. But there doesn’t have to be either. Rather a self-awareness or emotional intelligence. Not any less important than an IQ, but at times even more useful when happiness is put into the schema.

Can intelligence buy happiness? No. Intelligence cannot buy happiness. But many actions can lead to happiness. Hard work and accomplishments can help a person feel happy. A person can be happy when they are around happy people who encourage and love them. Happy manifests happy. And a person can gain knowledge through education that can lead to a life of learning, enlightenment, and happiness.

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