“The natural trajectory of giftedness in childhood is not a six-figure salary, perfect happiness, and a guaranteed place in Who’s Who.”
Linda Silverman – in her book Counseling the Gifted and Talented.
In her keynote address The Universal Experience of Being Out-of-Sync, Linda Silverman, Ph.D. argues that giftedness should not be defined as simply high achievement in school or recognized accomplishment in adult life.
“The fact is that achievement is very much a function of opportunity (Hollingworth, 1926), and greater opportunities for success are available to those who have greater financial resources.
“Achievement, particularly recognized individual achievement, is culturally determined. In some cultures, individuals shun individual recognition; instead, they value moral courage or collective prosperity for generations to come, and use their gifts for the good of the group.
“Another way of understanding giftedness is to see it as developmental advancement.
“In every culture, there are children who develop at a faster pace from early childhood on, are inquisitive to a greater degree than their agemates, generalize concepts earlier than their peers, demonstrate advanced verbal or spatial capacities at an early age, have superb memories, grasp abstract concepts, love to learn, have a sophisticated sense of humor, prefer complexity, are extraordinarily insightful, have a passion for justice, are profoundly aware, and experience life with great intensity.
“While these traits may or may not propel the individual to world renown, they appear to correlate with moral sensitivity in childhood and ethical development in adult life.
“Their sensitivity, intensity, awareness, and moral courage set these individuals apart from others throughout the lifespan.
“In some societies these characteristics are applauded while in others they are punished.”
On the Gifted Development Center page about the Advanced Development Journal there is a brief overview:
Are you an undetected gifted adult who needs more information on adult giftedness?
As a gifted adult, you may know you are different but not realize why.
Many gifted people experience:
* a sense of humor and creativity few others understand
* a sense of alienation and loneliness
* outrage at moral breaches that the rest of the world seems to take for granted
* being out-of-step and on a separate path
When you were a child, how many of the following characteristics were descriptive of you:
* Were you advanced in your development of speaking, reading, or other skills in early childhood?
* Were you fascinated with words or ideas?
* Did you ask a lot of questions?
* Did you have an unusual perspective of things and events?
* Were you a good problem solver?
* Did you have a good memory?
* Were you exceptionally sensitive?
* Did you have a great sense of humor?
* Were you insightful?
* Were you perfectionistic?
* Were you intense?
* Did you collect things and organize your collections?
* Were you a rapid learner?
* Did you show compassion for others?
* Did you enjoy older playmates and the company of adults?
* Were you argumentative?
* Did you have a large vocabulary?
* Did you have a creative imagination?
* Were you an avid reader?
* Did you have a wide range of interests?
* Did you like puzzles, mazes or numbers?
* Did you have a great deal of energy?
* Did you have a long attention span?
If many of these characteristics fit you, you are probably a gifted adult.
Achievement / Underachievement
Malcolm Gladwell, author of the book Outliers: The Story of Success, thinks people become outstanding – “outliers” on the upper end of intelligence, ability and achievement curves – only through many hours of concentrated effort.
See video in my High Ability site post Outliers and developing exceptional abilities.
A webinar by SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted): “Understanding and Treating Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Underachievement in Gifted Children, Adolescents and Young Adults” – presented by Jerald Grobman, M.D. – noted many social and emotional issues that may compromise the realization of advanced potential.
See a video excerpt from the webinar in my post Adult underachievement – not living up to our high potential.
[Photo from Davidson Institute for Talent Development / Young Scholars page]