Adult Underachievement

The ‘gifted’ label & the pressure to deliver –

In his book “Your Own Worst Enemy..” psychologist Kenneth W. Christian, PhD delineates some of the most prominent patterns of thinking and behavior he has found that may lead to undermining and underachievement as adults.

He notes, “Without explicit demands and support, being labeled ‘bright’ or ‘gifted’ is akin to being conferred an aristocratic lineage — a heritage that exists independently of what you do with it.

“The difference is that the labels ‘bright’ and ‘gifted’ come with implicit demands, and when appropriate explicit demands are lacking, the labels sit there like ticking bombs.

“On the one hand, these labels tell you that merely being bright or talented is enough, but on the other hand, the longer you go being praised for talent alone, the more anxious you become about the time when you will be required to deliver.”

Hanging on to a limiting self-concept

Another aspect is how our identity and self concept informs personal development:

“We can be particularly resistant to change when it threatens to alter what we believe about ourselves…”

Continued: Adult Underachievement: Kenneth Christian, Ph.D. on living up to the “gifted” label – or not.

Book: Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement, by Kenneth W. Christian, PhD.

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Originally posted 2012-10-07 22:29:28.


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