Embracing our identity as gifted and talented is not easy for many of us to do.
Why is this so tough? What beliefs about giftedness get in our way?
What leads to unrecognized giftedness for so many people?
In his article “How to Charm Gifted Adults into Admitting Giftedness: Their Own and Somebody Else’s,” excerpted below, Willem Kuipers discusses the challenge of accepting our gifted identity.
The Loneliness of Being Misinformed about Giftedness
‘In my current experience and view, the biggest “social issue of the gifted” is the painful misfit between implicit beliefs about giftedness by the non-gifted and the gifted alike and the actual or perceived reality of very many gifted adults.
‘That misfit leads to utter loneliness: It impedes the sharing of one’s deep feelings and experiences related to giftedness with others because of the belief that these have nothing to do with being gifted.
‘It also leads to avoiding calling oneself gifted – even if the direct question is asked – because of strong inner convictions about not qualifying for that seemingly outstanding state of being.
‘I feel this is strongly connected to the dominant belief that for adults their giftedness is defined by actual eminent achievement, with the tacit assumption that only something like a Nobel Prize will be sufficient proof of eminence.
‘This belief leaves little room for differentiation between “what other people perceive you do” and “who you are” and obscures the relevance of well-established information about special personality characteristics of highly intelligent people, also called their “gifted identity.”
‘In the course of this article I will expand on some aspects of this gifted identity.
‘The importance of being actively aware of such identity is explained in an article by Andrew Mahoney (1998), “In Search of the Gifted Identity.”
‘In his article “identity” encompasses the complexity of all aspects of “who I am.”
‘In the summary of his article Mahoney states:
“Knowing one’s giftedness and having a well-developed sense of identity as a gifted person are crucial for the development of the self.
“Many gifted people struggle with their giftedness, what it means to be gifted and how to develop that potential because there are few models available to assist in the identity development and counseling of gifted people.
“In other words, it is essential for gifted people to be aware of their identity, of “who they are.” Additionally, their giftedness influences their identity; positive awareness of this influence is crucial for the development of their potential.”
Willem Kuipers is author of the book Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon: Extra Intelligent, Intense, and Effective.
See excerpts from the Foreword by Linda Silverman in the post The Gift of Being Uncommon.
The image above is from the book: Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, by Tony Wagner.
Image and video from the book site creatinginnovators.com.
See quotes in article: Tony Wagner on Encouraging New Innovators.
Disparaging labels put on gifted/talented people
In his post titled Arrogant, Seth Godin may not be talking about gifted, high ability people specifically, but it seems to me his comments still fit:
“This is a fear and a paradox of doing work that’s important. A fear because so many of us are raised to avoid appearing arrogant. Being called arrogant is a terrible slur, it means that you’re not only a failure, but a poser as well.
“It’s a paradox, though, because the confidence and attitude that goes with bringing a new idea into the world (“hey, listen to this,”) is a hair’s breadth away, or at least sometimes it feels that way, from being arrogant.”
“And so we keep our head down. Better, they say, to be invisible and non-contributing than risk being arrogant.”
One of his books: Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
Arrogant, know-it-all, elitist etc etc – are the sorts of labels that can keep us from admitting maybe, after all, we are exceptional in positive ways, more capable and creative than the norm, with more ability to contribute new ideas.
“I think that a lot of problems that we experience, things that we call depression and what-have-you, may in fact be the challenges of being smart.”
Psychologist Eric Maisel
Hear brief audio clip of Maisel and read quotes from his book “Why Smart People Hurt: A Guide for the Bright, the Sensitive, and the Creative” in article Challenged By Being So Smart.
Also read more about his online class Why Smart People Hurt.
Unrecognized Giftedness: The Frustrating Case of the Gifted Adult By Marylou Kelly Streznewski.
Article publié pour la première fois le 10/06/2015