“Some people have chronic sadness or grief that keeps surfacing once in a while.”
— Dianne A. Allen (10:46-10:58)
Life is not just about what we can do. It’s about what we are called to do. In this week’s episode, I’m delighted to welcome my special guest, Matthew Zakreski. We’re going to dig more in-depth about the pains that smart people go through.
Part One of ‘Why Smart People Hurt Part 1 with Dr. Matthew Zakreski’
Matthew Zakreski is a graduate of Widener University’s Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology in Chester, PA. During his time at Widener, he has specialized in working with children and adolescents in schools, outpatient, and inpatient settings.
He has worked with children in both individual and family therapy modalities, consistent with a systems approach to psychotherapeutic treatment. While at Widener, he also specialized in working with gifted individuals. To that end, he has collaborated with professionals already in the field and has presented about his work with the gifted at multiple conferences.
He is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Evergreen Counseling and Psychological Associates in Conshohocken, PA. He is interested in working with people in multiple therapeutic contexts, both with therapy and assessment.
“It always comes back to living your values and what feeds your soul.” – Dianne A. Allen (14:41-14:44)
In this episode, we explore why smart people hurt. Smart people feel the world differently, and they often experience devastating challenges. Matthew often describes himself as a grown-up gifted kid. He believes that many gifted people suffer from what he calls “the curse of competence.” Here’s one interesting childhood memory that Matthew shared. When he was two years old, he wrote the Word “Australia” on a piece of paper. And, his teacher called his mom excited to see a 2-year writing the word on paper. It’s the first inkling that something was different about him.
Growing up, there were times when he felt like he didn’t fit into the world’s system. He’s a natural visionary who’s always wanted to play big, but the process is painful because sometimes the world wants you to be one way.
Part Two of ‘Why Smart People Hurt Part 1 with Dr. Matthew Zakreski’
He had many different jobs in the past. He has worked as a lifeguard, a soccer referee, a travel agent, a researcher. He also worked in a bar, a video store for kids who want to rent movies and drawn cartoons before. He’s very good at all of them because he’s such a smart and gifted person. There was a time he realized, “This doesn’t feed my soul.“
When he was still working as a travel agent, he made a lot of money until the management offered him a higher position and salary. His belief is if you’re not happy with something even if it’s going to give you the opportunity to earn a lot of money, don’t go for it.
Matthew shares that it’s hard to leave jobs nowadays, but in 2020, it is easier now than ever to find a career that fits your calling. He says that if you want to play Dungeons and Dragons, if you’re going to do that all day, there are professional Dungeons and Dragons leagues. You could do a podcast. You could do a YouTube channel. There are ways to make a living based on our passions that didn’t exist 10 to 30 years ago.
“Building a community helps decrease that feeling of being disconnected.” – Dianne A. Allen (27:59-28:09)
What we can learn from Matthew is that gifted people crave authenticity. They have no patience for meaningless small talk. The idea is finding the things that make their souls happy. At the same time, they know that it takes trusting the process to understand the developmental curve. The things you need when you’re 20 are not things you need when you’re 30, 40, or beyond. Don’t be somebody you’re not. That curse can hold us from joining the communities we want to join. Give yourself time and make space for your brain to reflect on your experiences. Then, you’ll find that it always moves you in a more authentic direction.
How to Connect More with Matthew Zakreski
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