Category: High Ability

>Also see the High Ability site and High Ability – gifted/talented articles

Rodríguez: Hidden Genius

Rodríguez: Hidden Genius

Many gifted writers, actors, designers, entrepreneurs and other talented people achieve a lot, make notable contributions to the world, and gain recognition. But much larger numbers are not acknowledged by others, or even themselves. Author Marylou Kelly Streznewski writes, “Overall, I have concluded that there are large numbers of frustrated gifted adults, who can be […]

Didn't you used to be gifted?

Didn’t you used to be gifted?

“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 […]

Renaissance People Don't Want to Choose Only One Career

Renaissance People Don’t Want to Choose Only One Career

Many multitalented people are accomplished and active – even exceptional – in more than one area of creative expression. We read about some of them as celebrated writers, entrepreneurs, scientists, movie directors, actors, painters and other creators. But many more multitalented people are not well-known, or even able, for many reasons, to express their talents. One […]

Our developed minds can be dismissive

Our developed minds can be dismissive

The image is food critic Anton Ego from the movie Ratatouille [video clip]. I was reminded of the stuffy and dour character while reading Laura Berman Fortgang’s The Little Book on Meaning, and her reference below to “high analytical ability.. often black-and-white thinkers.. Quick to decide what is good and what is bad..” I know […]

We do not fear being called meticulous

We do not fear being called meticulous

“We do not fear being called meticulous, inclining as we do to the view that only the exhaustive can be truly interesting.” — Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain Photo: FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in Twin Peaks (1990-1991 TV series), recording a memo about his investigations. Concept and photo from Slaughterhouse 90210 > Related […]

Mia Wasikowska on teen anxiety and energy

Mia Wasikowska on teen anxiety and energy

Mia Wasikowska portrayed troubled, suicidal teen gymnast Sophie in the outstanding HBO psychotherapy drama series “In Treatment.” Her work made Sophie one of the most powerful, conflicted and emotionally complex teen characters I have seen. She was both fascinating and wrenching in her distraught intensity. In a magazine interview about her lead role in Tim […]

Multiple Talents, Multiple Passions, Burnout

Multiple Talents, Multiple Passions, Burnout

“I must have been crazy to have donned so many hats.” Jennifer Westfeldt Many multitalented people feel inspired and energized to pursue multiple creative projects, often at the same time. One potential downside is physical and emotional burnout. Jennifer Westfeldt wrote, produced and acted in “Kissing Jessica Stein” and “Ira & Abby.” For her new […]

You're intense, complex, and driven because you're gifted

You’re intense, complex, and driven because you’re gifted

Author Mary-Elaine Jacobsen writes about the experience of being exceptional: “To feel like an outsider, to constantly pressure yourself to hold back your gifts in order to fit in or avoid disapproval, to erroneously believe that you are overly sensitive, compulsively perfectionistic, and blindly driven, to live without knowing the basic truths about the core […]

Being Smarter Than Others

Being Smarter Than Others

One of the many inspiring quotes by Steve Jobs is this: “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.” But Jobs also recognized he was […]

Allan Snyder on savant syndrome and creativity

Allan Snyder on savant syndrome and creativity

Darold Treffert, MD explains, “Savant Syndrome is a rare, but spectacular, condition in which persons with various developmental disabilities, including Autistic Disorder, have astonishing islands of ability or brilliance that stand in stark, markedly incongruous contrast to the over-all handicap.” From his article The Savant Syndrome: Islands of Genius. Daniel Tammet , as one example, […]

Some saw me as a person with rare insight, others thought I was crazy.

Some saw me as a person with rare insight, others thought I was crazy.

Those kinds of mixed reactions [in the title] are not so unusual for exceptional, gifted and talented children and adults. “I got that whole precocious thing [as a child]. I had no reason to doubt my own abilities or not share my opinion. The adults were offended, and the kids were resentful. I was persona […]

What makes gifted relationships so tough? Solutions for the Problems of Giftedness

What makes gifted relationships so tough? Solutions for the Problems of Giftedness

By Cat Robson I could write a few novels with the material from my romantic and work relationships. Lots of drama and disappointment, and loads of self-recrimination. How does giftedness figure into the patterns of our connections with others? In this excerpt from his article, Solutions for the Problems of Giftedness, Richard O’Connor, Ph.D., gives […]

Isaac Asimov: What is intelligence, anyway?

Isaac Asimov: What is intelligence, anyway?

Quotes by Isaac Asimov from his article What Is Intelligence, Anyway? All my life I’ve been registering IQ scores like that [160], so that I have the complacent feeling that I’m highly intelligent… Actually, though, don’t such scores simply mean that I am very good at answering the type of academic questions that are considered […]

Are you too intense?

Are you too intense?

Mia Wasikowska portrayed an emotionally intense teen gymnast in the psychotherapy drama series “In Treatment.” She has commented, “As a teenager I was very anxious. I had a lot of energy and passion that I wanted to channel into creative things, and I always felt like I wasn’t achieving enough.” [From my post Mia Wasikowska […]

David Shenk on the clichés about "giftedness"

David Shenk on the clichés about “giftedness”

David Shenk is author of “The Genius in All of Us” and says “The public has been poorly served when it comes to understanding the relationship between biology and ability. The clichés we’ve been taught about genetic blueprints, IQ, and ‘giftedness’ all come out of crude, early-20th century guesswork. “The reality is so much more […]

Michael Jackson and Dabrowski Excitabilities

Michael Jackson and Dabrowski Excitabilities

Psychomotor Overexcitability is a “surplus of energy, pressure for action, restlessness, impulsive actions, competitiveness, sleeplessness.” Stephanie Tolan notes the original Polish word can be translated more literally as “superstimulatabilities” and “involves not just psychological factors but central nervous system sensitivity.” Michael Jackson exemplified a number of these qualities as a singer and dancer. See video and more […]

 Challenging stereotypes of giftedness: What Makes You Gifted?

Challenging stereotypes of giftedness: What Makes You Gifted?

I used to think I couldn’t be gifted because I didn’t fit my image of gifted people: geniuses, successful, ambitious, confident, comfortable with themselves and basking in adulation. I figured because my personality often elicited criticism from others it meant I was hopelessly inadequate and flawed. Surely not gifted. But what really makes us gifted? […]

Adult Underachievement

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 […]

Not like the others?

Not like the others?

One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn’t belong, Can you tell which thing is not like the others By the time I finish my song? From Sesame Street song One Of These Things (is Not Like The Others) “Not only did my identity seem tangible, it also […]

Does Perfectionism Help You Be More Creative?

Does Perfectionism Help You Be More Creative?

Perfectionism can be experienced as an intense drive toward excellence – or as a pathological obsession that impedes spontaneous imagination and creative play. In her post Blogging My Way Through Perfectionism, Lisa Rivero comments about Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, author of The Gifted Adult: “Jacobsen differentiates between pathologically perfectionistic obsessions or compulsions, on the one hand, and […]

Michelle Obama on supporting the arts

Michelle Obama on supporting the arts

“The arts are not just a nice thing to have or to do if there is free time or if one can afford it. “Rather, paintings and poetry, music and fashion, design and dialogue, they all define who we are as a people and provide an account of our history for the next generation.” Michelle […]

Nicole Kidman: high ability and complexity

Nicole Kidman: high ability and complexity

“You live with a lot of complicated emotions as an actor, and they whirl around you and create havoc at times… I’m willing to fly close to the flame.” Nicole Kidman “Creatively gifted children and adults are emotionally intense and have rich inner lives…It is natural for the gifted to feel deeply and to experience […]

The gifted adult: a lot going on inside

The gifted adult: a lot going on inside

Growing up, many people with exceptional ability and multiple talents experience themselves as too different to fit in with ‘normal’ groups. As adults, some do become the high achievers that Malcolm Gladwell writes about in his book Outliers: The Story of Success [see the post Outliers and developing exceptional abilities.] But there are many internal […]

Can we be too perfectionistic?

Can we be too perfectionistic?

By Cat Robson Painter Elizabeth Murray comments, “When I’m in the studio working, I reach a point at which I know I could stop – that the painting is fine as it is – but I feel that there’s something else I want, something more, and I keep pushing, bringing the painting to another place. […]

Fiona Apple: I have to give everything

Fiona Apple: I have to give everything

“I have to give everything, my everything, and that’s exhausting…But I’m going to have to figure out how.” Fiona Apple Intensity and passionate commitment are part of why we enjoy the performances and creative work of talented actors, musicians, and many other artists. It is a central personality quality of many gifted and talented, creative […]

Jesse Eisenberg on exactitude and too much attention

Jesse Eisenberg on exactitude and too much attention

Many talented artists share traits such as perfectionism and a need to “get it right” – and also high sensitivity, which can make fame and attention very stressful, even overwhelming. See the post Kristen Stewart and shyness and sensitivity for one example. In her article “Jesse Eisenberg on playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in ‘The […]

Unrecognized Giftedness and Identity

Unrecognized Giftedness and Identity

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, […]

Raising gifted kids: helping kids cope with intensity and giftedness

Raising gifted kids: helping kids cope with intensity and giftedness

Like many gifted children, my childhood was peppered with incidents of parents and other adults telling me to be calm, or even more devastating, to be ‘normal.’ If adults are uncomfortable with their own emotions they may be especially uncomfortable around the intensities of gifted children. What effect does this have on gifted kids? Recognizing […]

Beyond the Chaos

Beyond the Chaos

By Edith Johnston PhD LPC I have lots of ideas.  I am intelligent and inquisitive with lots of interests.  Yet, I am insecure and everything seems incongruent as I move through life. Does this sound like something you experience?  Being a multi-talented individual, or said another way, a smart person, can lead to this kind […]

Steve Jobs: Intensities and Obsessions

Steve Jobs: Intensities and Obsessions

Excitabilites or unusual intensities in five areas: psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational and emotional, are personality traits and behaviors that many consider to be qualities of high ability people, traits which can be difficult or challenging, but may also contribute to developing outstanding talents. “I liked him. He was kind of skinny and wiry and full […]

Dysrationalia: defects in real-world intelligence

Dysrationalia: defects in real-world intelligence

Try this simple test: “Jack is looking at Anne, but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married, but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?” The possible answers are A) Yes; B) No, and C) Cannot be determined. The answer follows below, but try to figure it out first. […]