Category: High Ability

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

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 […]

Is uncommon intelligence or intensity a gift?

Is uncommon intelligence or intensity a gift?

Willem Kuipers is author of the book Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon: Extra Intelligent, Intense, and Effective. In a section of the book – Is it a Gift to be Uncommon? – he writes about how people who are Xi [eXtra Intelligent or Intense] may view their exceptional abilities. Here is an excerpt: Giftedness […]

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 […]

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 […]

Rooney Mara on the Extra Intelligent and Intense Lisbeth Salander

Rooney Mara on the Extra Intelligent and Intense Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth Salander is one of the most intriguing and powerful characters in literature, and both Rooney Mara in the new movie of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Noomi Rapace in the 2009 Danish version, bring to life a richly complex and dynamic young woman. The “extra intelligent and intense” of my title is […]

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 […]

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 […]

Mothers with a rage to achieve

Mothers with a rage to achieve

Therapist Belinda Seiger, PhD says she has “known many gifted women who seem to possess what I refer to as the ‘rage to achieve.’ “They are constantly driven to learn, to create and to be intellectually productive even while raising young children.” Author Amy Bloom (photo; she is Writer-in-Residence, Wesleyan University) has commented on the […]

Developing multiple talents is an adventure

Developing multiple talents is an adventure

There are many examples of creative people who are multitalented and able to engage in a wide range of creative expressions. But many face challenges that can get in the way. Tina Fey is a writer, comedian, screenwriter, actor, a previous host of the Golden Globes telecast, and producer. Tina Fey “attended Upper Darby High […]

Gifted relationships: On Being "Too Much" to the Right of the Curve

Gifted relationships: On Being “Too Much” to the Right of the Curve

Posted by Cat Robson For most of my life, finding friends and work that honored my intensity and intelligence wasn’t an issue for me. I thought I was just weird and damaged and that my loneliness was deserved. “Calm down,” “You take things too seriously,” “You’re so intense.” Most people seem calm and unphased by […]

Gifted Teens: Two Davidson Fellows

Gifted Teens: Two Davidson Fellows

These are two of the many highly talented teens honored by fellowships from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. John Michael Colón, Age: 17 – His portfolio, Art as Empathy: A Study of the Syncretic Potential of Literature, demonstrates the utility of literature and art in society. He writes that although human beings want to […]

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 […]

Highly sensitive: singer Joss Stone on being a 'little empath'

Highly sensitive: singer Joss Stone on being a ‘little empath’

Singer Joss Stone talked about being highly sensitive: “I think I’m just very, very emotional. My mom used to call me her little empath. Which can be dangerous when you set yourself to be that open. “But in another way, it just makes your life fuller…” Continued on Highly Sensitive. ~~~~~~ Originally posted 2009-03-30 21:22:16.

Gifted students and competition: coping with fraud feelings and stress

Gifted students and competition: coping with fraud feelings and stress

By Cat Robson When I was a child, and even through graduate school, I thought people were going to find out I was a fraud. I thought other talented people were doing better, achieving more and having more fun doing it, and I still tend to compare myself unfavorably with others on a daily basis. In her […]

Who is Gifted - Harry, Ron or Hermione?

Who is Gifted – Harry, Ron or Hermione?

By Cat Robson Comparing myself to high achievers in the news makes me want to give up and eat chocolate. But gifted adults, and young people, aren’t just the ones who win awards and get interviewed in the media. In her article Who’s the gifted one: Harry, Ron or Hermione?, excerpted here, Lisa Natcharian examines our […]

Gifted adults are different from an early age

Gifted adults are different from an early age

One of the personal qualities that seems to be shared by most gifted children is being different and divergent – in terms of thinking, interests, values and behavior. Many gifted adults feel “wrong” or anxious about “not fitting in” even though being different can be a strength – a positive attribute. In the movie “Nancy […]

Developing Multiple Talents - The Pleasures of Creative Polymathy

Developing Multiple Talents – The Pleasures of Creative Polymathy

Many, if not most, creative people are multitalented and explore a variety of interests in different forms of creative expression. Among the purposes of the Talent Development Resources series of sites is celebrating multitalented creative people, and exploring how they realize those many talents. In his post “That’s DR. Winnie to you: A New Child […]

Carol Dweck on developing creative talent

Carol Dweck on developing creative talent

Carol S. Dweck, PhD is a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She writes in an issue of the Duke Gifted Letter about attitudes toward giftedness and developing creative talent: *  Some people are born gifted, and others are not. * You can tell who will be gifted from early on. * Gifted children should […]

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 […]

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 personality - too much for others?

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. “No matter how brilliant they may be, gifted adults who have received inaccurate or scant […]

Pop Culture Stereotypes of Gifted People

Pop Culture Stereotypes of Gifted People

By Sarah Williams. Pop culture as a medium always strives to focus on the extraordinary. As an escape and release from everyday tedium, it is only natural that it would gravitate towards extremes, the ends of the everyday spectrum that tend toward the fantastic, unbelievable, and unforgettable. Hence, many highly gifted characters have graced television […]

Gifted and Talented, Drugs and Alcohol

Gifted and Talented, Drugs and Alcohol

Many talented people with exceptional artistic and intellectual abilities have used drugs and alcohol. Sometimes they risk addiction. Edie Falco says her past alcoholism has helped make her role as an addicted nurse even more authentic in “Nurse Jackie.” Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman says he used drugs and alcohol earlier in his life. “It was […]

What is being gifted? What gets in the way?

What is being gifted? What gets in the way?

“By high school, I’d more or less given up on the tedious process of making friends, since libraries were always nearby, and books were much better companions anyway.” Novelist Laurie R. King (link to her site – she is author of The Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series, and other books.) Photo from Facebook/Laurie R. King. Being […]

Nerds. Is it OK to have a beautiful mind?

Nerds. Is it OK to have a beautiful mind?

A review by The Week magazine of the book “Nerds” notes the term was used by Dr. Seuss in one of his books in 1950. “Its actual definition has had shifting boundaries, says book author child psychologist David Anderegg. “Today it connotes ’some combination of school success, interest in precision, un-self-consciousness, closeness to adults, and […]

Gifted, Talented, Misunderstood: 10 Misconceptions About Gifted Adults

Gifted, Talented, Misunderstood: 10 Misconceptions About Gifted Adults

In her article “10 Misconceptions About Gifted Adults”, Jane Macondo sheds some light on why gifted people can be baffled…and baffling. She writes: Gifted adults are largely invisible. One of the reasons very few apply the term to themselves is due to the misconceptions about giftedness – in adulthood as well as childhood. Many adults […]

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 […]

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

By Cat Robson 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 […]

To identify and serve the unknowing gifted

To identify and serve the unknowing gifted

By Sara Harrier Over the decades, education and resources for gifted youth have made significant contributions to the education and mental health fields.  Many thinkers have shed light on not just the intellectual differences of the gifted, but on the unique personality traits and social-emotional needs of this population. And it’s been hugely liberating and […]

Gods and prodigies, freaks and geeks: building identity

Gods and prodigies, freaks and geeks: building identity

Wunderkind, genius, prodigy. Freak, geek, nerd. How we label exceptional people and ourselves affects our identity and what we think about the reality and value of our talents, and the possibilities of expressing them in the world. One of the most positive experiences for me in high school was my friendship with an artist (painter, […]

Creating is a way to channel our emotional intensity

Creating is a way to channel our emotional intensity

“Creating art has always been a way to channel emotional intensity.” Psychologist Cheryl Arutt “Our impulse to be creative can be one of the most dynamic methods of meeting and redeeming one’s devils and demons.” Psychologist Stephen A. Diamond Acting is one form of creative expression that artists can use to channel their intensity and […]

The psychology of creativity: Performers and Excitabilities

The psychology of creativity: Performers and Excitabilities

“I’m an only child and I’m just a real loner kind of person, and yeah, kinda dark. But I’m happy. Not sad. I’m just shy and nervous… I was a loner in high school. I keep to myself, but I love life.” Actor Clea DuVall  [imdb.com] One of the qualities of many actors, musicians and […]