Many of us have pondered at one time or another, what makes a life well lived. Is it being surrounded by family and a lot of friends? Or being surrounded by a select handful of people? Have you ever observed that really smart person in your life and friends? If you did, you will notice they surround themselves with many friends rather they choose to surround themselves with smarter people and prefer fewer friends and here is why.
What Would Make Most People Happy
Research, published in the British Journal of Psychology, digs into the questions of what exactly defines a life well lived. The research surveyed approximately 15,000 people between the ages of 18 to 28 years old and found the people living in densely populated areas reported less satisfaction with the quality of their life. The next finding of the people polled suggests that the more frequent social interactions with close friends, a person has greatly improved self-reported happiness.
Smart People Are An Exception
However, there is an exception. For those with higher intelligence quotients, these correlations drastically diminished. “The effect of population density on life satisfaction was, therefore, more than twice as large for low-IQ individuals”. So, the more intelligent you are, the less satisfied you are with life if you socialize with friends more frequently. But why?
Smart People Focus on Long Term Objectives
Simple. Smart people tend to focus on long term objectives and giving up as an option never crosses their mind. They are compelled and maybe a bit more driven to use their intelligence to create something bigger than themselves.
For example, think of someone you know who went to graduate school or started their own business. While pursuing their ambitions and goals, they had to minimize social interactions to stay focused. An intelligent person - on the hunch to achieve something bigger and better than themselves - may deem social interaction as a distraction that pulls them away from long-term objectives, which in turn, may affect their overall well-being.
How Smart People Develops Differently During The Evolution of the Human Brain
The human brain evolved to meet the demands of our ancestral environment in the savanna. The population density was low and we subsisted by living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. During these times, having frequent contact with lifelong friends was necessary for our survival and for further reproduction of our species.
Propelling us to today, our life has changed drastically and so have our interactions with one another. Intelligent people may be better able to deal with the new challenges that modern day life throws at us. Meaning, intelligent people have a better ability to solve problems and have an easier time coping and dealing with new situations.
When you’re smarter, you’re better able to adapt to things and have an easier time merging your ancestral predispositions with the modern world. Living in a high-population area may have a smaller effect on your well-being, but it may be due to being better able to jettison the hunter-gatherer need to socialize when you’re pursuing your dreams and ambitions.
Smarter People Value Relationship In A Different Way
Intelligent people value friendships and relationships just like anyone else, but they tend to be more selective with how they spend their time. It isn’t that they don’t cherish friendships and frequent socialization occurrences, but they also cherish their personal pursuits more so often.
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