The Smart Artist: 15 Challenges You Might Face

Are you pretty intelligent? And is that a problem for you? Here are 15 challenges that smart people regularly face.

1. Living in a society and a world that disparage smartness

2. Living in a society and a world that does more than disparage smartness, that actually silences smart people

3. Doing work day after day and year after year that fails to make real use of their brainpower

4. Possessing good ideas but, because of the power structure and practices of their work environment, not having a way to implement those good ideas

5. Falling prey to physical ailments and bad habits such as jaw-clenching, head-scratching and cigarette smoking that arise as they try to focus hard on an intellectual or creative problem

6. Feeling alienated from and out of sync with their culture, their family and their friends

7. Getting trapped in a narrow corner of a field or discipline where they are forced to do repetitive work for a lifetime

8. Living in a culture that separates and “tracks” children early on in their development, thereby keeping late bloomers out of intellectually interesting professions

9. Dealing with a racing brain that, because it doesn’t come with an off switch, inclines itself toward insomnia, manias, obsessions, compulsions and addictions

10. Pining for productive obsessions — juicy intellectual or artistic problems worth real time and effort — but succumbing to unproductive obsessions instead

11. Being smart, but not as smart as they wish they were or need to be (to put it aphoristically, having an IQ of 120 but needing an IQ of 160 to do the work they relish doing)

12. Defensively using their brain’s ability to reason so as to reduce the anxiety they’re experiencing

If you want to learn what to do to meet these challenges, please take a look at my latest book Why Smart People Hurt.

13. Loving language and getting trapped by certain words and phrases (for example, finding themselves chasing after “the great American novel” or “the missing link”)

14. Experiencing life as sadder than other people do because of their ability to comprehend the facts of existence

15. Experiencing special “meaning problems” by virtue of seeing through traditional answers about the nature of the universe

Share your experiences with your fellow artists in the comments below.

Eric Maisel is America’s foremost creativity coach and the author of more than 40 books including Making Your Creative Mark, Coaching the Artist Within, Fearless Creating, The Van Gogh Blues, and Mastering Creative Anxiety. Coming soon: Secrets of a Creativity Coach. Dr. Maisel presents two live one-hour teleclasses every month with the Academy for Optimal Living. You can visit Dr. Maisel at ericmaisel.com or contact him at [email protected]

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