Category: High Ability

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

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 […]

Leonardo DiCaprio: a "crazy kid"- and maybe overexcitabilities

Leonardo DiCaprio: a “crazy kid”- and maybe overexcitabilities

Leonardo DiCaprio was amazing in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993), portraying a teenager with mental health challenges. Not knowing his work before, I thought, How was this autistic kid able to work as an actor? One of the ways he created such a powerful and – many people say – authentic, performance was using his […]

Amber Tamblyn on her gifted character on TV series “House”

Amber Tamblyn on her gifted character on TV series “House”

Amber Tamblyn comments about her character Martha: “I think you’re going to see someone who has been so much in the world of academia and knowledge that she really never progressed or matured in a social sense.” In the TV series “House,” Amber Tamblyn portrays Martha M. Masters – a “genius third-year med student who, […]

Alia Sabur on not letting anything stop you

Alia Sabur on not letting anything stop you

Alia Sabur, at age of 18, was recognized as the youngest college professor in history, breaking a 300-year-old record. She was hired as a professor in the Department of Advanced Technology Fusion at Konkuk University, in Korea. As profiled in a Today Show bio, “She made the jump to college at age 10. And by […]

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 […]

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 […]