The gifted adult personality – too much for others?

In her article Giftedness in the workplace (on her Talent Psychology site), Dr. Mary E. Jacobsen writes about some of the social challenges of being exceptional and intense, including high ability adults not understanding their own minds and unique characteristics.

Sarah Bernhardt“No matter how brilliant they may be, gifted adults who have received inaccurate or scant information about what it means to be gifted often have no way to make sense of their unusual abilities, conspicuous differences, or uncomfortable relationships with work.

“Unfortunately, most gifted adults are no better informed on the subject than anyone else.  Even if they were identified as gifted youngsters few gifted adults really understand how their minds operate, and most know even less about their innate intensity, complexity, and drive.

“What they have learned is that who they are, what they do, and how they do it are usually ‘too much’ for other people.  Throughout their lives most have experienced an array of confusing criticisms about their differences (e.g., ‘You’re too smart for your own good!’  ‘Why can’t you just go with the flow?’).”

Mary E. Jacobsen is author of The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius.

Also see Mary-Elaine Jacobsen articles.

Related post on my High Ability site:
Social reactions to gifted, talented people.

[Photo of actor Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) also used in post: Creative People Shouldn’t ‘Tone It Down’ by Cynthia Morris.]

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Related article: Challenged By Being So Smart

Eric MaiselOf course, being exceptionally intelligent and creative has many pleasures and benefits – for individuals and society – but there are often challenges that go along with that exceptionality.

Psychologist and creativity coach Eric Maisel says that ‘smart’ people often experience characteristic challenges including “difficulties with society and the world, issues at work, challenges with your personality and your racing brain, and special meaning problems.”

He is author of the book: “Why Smart People Hurt: A Guide for the Bright, the Sensitive, and the Creative.”


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Originally posted 2009-10-06 22:49:13.


  1. true, it’s a challenge to control the racing thoughts. Not impossible though. The need to learn and the curiosity is to be tamed and maneged.

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