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Gifted Adults

"There is no great sense of accomplishment for an attribute that seems to have been with one all one's life, even if that attribute contributes to unusual and high levels of achievement in a culturally recognized field. "Oh, sure, I'm good at math. What could you expect from somebody who calculates that fast." We're likely to value something we've had to work at or study hard to acquire far more highly than something that comes naturally -- something that's just "me."" Stephanie Tolan, "Self-Knowledge, Self-Esteem and the Gifted Adult"

 
Envy and Giftedness: Are We Underestimating the Effects of Envy? A Taboo Topic? Recommended by Catherine Asaro, on Microscopes are Prudent
A subject that is little discussed is the social/emotional effects on gifted children of being envied. It’s as if we are hoping that by not talking about it, it will go away, and we will not run the risk of being accused of bragging... even if the parents of gifted kids say nothing about their children’s abilities, they are still often perceived as committing some social transgression. The list of these transgressions corresponds very closely to the negative stereotypes of gifted people: Bragging, Showing off, Feeling superior, Cheating, Mistreating their children by pushing them academically...
 
Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential Recommended by Marylou Kelly Streznewski
Examine old and new research on the nature of intelligence and other gifts and explore ways gifted people hide their talents; includes interviews with a highly diverse collection of 100 gifted adults. An excellent book for every gifted adult, or adult with gifted children... Also available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.ca
 
Optimum Intelligence: My Experience as a Too Gifted Adult... Recommended by Carolyn K. 
In the book, Guiding the Gifted Child, by Webb, Meckstroth, and Stephanie Tolan, the authors suggest that there is such a thing as optimum intelligence.  More than one person disagrees strongly: "I disagree with the assumption that society rejects extremely gifted individuals."  A personal response...
 
The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It Recommended by Valerie Young
It’s only because they like me. I was in the right place at the right time. I just work harder than the others. I don’t deserve this... Sound familiar?
 
Talent Development Recommended collected by Douglas Eby
Exploring talent and giftedness  ~  information & inspiration to enhance creative expression
 
Advanced Development Journal Gifted Development Center
An annual journal on Adult Giftedness.  Read Perfectionism: The Crucible of Giftedness (1999)
 
Arousing the Sleeping Giant: Giftedness in Adult Psychotherapy by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen
The process of gifted-self discovery, attendant affective and behavioral responses of client and therapist, and suggestions for assisting the gifted adult's post-therapy stability and growth
 
Asperger Syndrome and Long-Term Relationships by Ashley Stanford
Not all gifted adults are Aspergers, or are married to someone with Aspergers, but just in case you are...Written by the wife of a man with Asperger Syndrome (AS), provides the answers to many of the questions asked by the increasing number of people in that situation. Explains how behaviors that may have appeared odd - or even downright irritating - are the manifestation of AS, and shows how understanding can lead to change, or to greater tolerance. Provides strategies for living successfully with characteristics that cannot be changed, pointing out that AS brings also enormous strengths to a relationship, and emphasizing the value of understanding...
 
Bright children become enlightened adults by Ian J Deary, David Batty and Catharine R Gale
In a large study, researchers found a strong association between higher general intelligence at age 10 and more liberal and nontraditional attitudes at age 30... (abstract only)
 
Can you hear the flowers sing? Issues for gifted adults by Deirdre V. Lovecky
Unless gifted adults learn to value themselves and find support, identity conflicts and depression may result. Emphasis on self-growth through knowing and accepting self leads to the discovery of sources of personal power...
 
Career Advice for Geniuses by Marty Nemko
Not so. Being highly intelligent comes with surprising workplace burdens, as I've learned during 20 years as a career coach specializing in intellectually gifted adults. Here are suggestions I've made that clients have found most helpful...
 
Center for Highly Sensitive People 
For Creative, Intuitive, Sensitive and Spiritual Persons... so many characteristics of the gifted adult...
 
Coping Through Awareness: A transformational tool for coping with being highly gifted by Andy Mahoney 
Coping for a highly gifted person requires knowing oneself and becoming more aware of what is truly involved with being highly gifted. Coping is also a process that should allow one to contend better with his giftedness throughout life. Yet coping poses many challenges and is not free of emotional strife or tension... Coping through the stages of Awareness, Acknowledgement, Appreciation and Acceptance
 
Discovering the Gifted Ex-Child by Stephanie Tolan
The experience of the gifted adult is the experience of an unusual consciousness, an extraordinary mind whose perceptions and judgments may be different enough to require an extraordinary courage. Large numbers of gifted adults, aware not only of their mental capacities but of the degree to which those capacities set them apart, understand this...
 
Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon: Extra Intelligent, Intense, and Effective by Willem Kuipers
Quite often uncommon competence, creativity and drive remain hidden or partially used by its owners. Do they perceive the gift of being uncommon as a millstone instead of an enjoyment?  Introduces and illustrates three practices for Extra Intelligent People (XIPs) to become more effective in their work and private life, for their own sake and for the sake of their environment... Read excerpt Superhuman or Extra Intelligent?
Entitled to Be Exceptional by Douglas Eby
Although gifted men may also experience a self-defeating aversion to expressing feelings or aspects of themselves that might separate them from others, gifted women, according to a number of sources, are more acutely sensitive to fitting in with social expectations, and may engage in a denial of their capabilities, experience difficulty in embracing their talents and have a compromised sense of entitlement to be exceptional.
 
For many, being gifted brings lifelong struggle interview with Paul Torrance in U. S. News
Almost all highly gifted youngsters do experience problems of adjustment that are accompanied by emotional upset. The majority learn how to handle them one way or the other, but for many, being gifted brings lifelong struggle with their giftedness and with the high expectations that people have of them...
 
Fostering adult giftedness: Acknowledging and addressing affective needs of gifted adults by Sharon Lind
Frequently parents and teachers express concerns about fostering growth in gifted children while dealing with the often painful process of coming to terms with their own giftedness and potential. It is difficult to go through your own developmental phases while at the same time teaching, guiding, and/or parenting gifted children...
 
Gifted Adults
Where do all the gifted children go after they finish school?  Gifted adults can misinterpret their complex and deep way of thinking as craziness. They can mistake their emotional intensity for emotional immaturity or see it as a character flaw. Because they have never been given information to explain what is "normal for gifted" they frequently experience frustration in the world...
 
Gifted Adults in Work by Noks Nauta and Frans Corten
It is increasingly being realized that gifted individuals have the capacity to help solve complex problems1. Many are functioning at a high level. But just like a number of gifted schoolchildren, some gifted employees do not function adequately and are unhappy as a result2. Some become ill and even permanently occupationally disabled. What are the characteristics of the problems of the gifted at work. And what can occupational health physicians and insurance doctors do with this information?
 
Gifted Adults – Why You Should Stop Thinking by Elisa of gifteduniverse.com
The mind of a gifted adult runs continually, dissecting, turning things upside down and inside out. We run at this speed constantly, questioning, considering, analyzing. Even thinking….about thinking. But sometimes we think too much. Sometimes we need to take the time to shut our brain off...
 
Giftedness Self-test by Rocamora School
"Even if you have doubts about the extent of your giftedness, you will really bring your talents to life if you will embrace your drive to become, serve, create, achieve, and contribute.  Self-recognition is not to fuel egotism or elitism, but to align with a more powerful, creative part of you that will let your heart, your knowledge, your talent loose on the world."
 
Gifted Women / Gifted Adults 
A links page for gifted women (men are welcome, too!). It has come about as a result of my own personal journey, so look for it to be updated...
 
GT-Adults mailing list 
A mailing list for adults who share an interest in exploring issues related to being a gifted adult, discovering giftedness as an adult, or growing up gifted...
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." -- Marianne Williamson
(often attributed to Nelson Mandela, who quoted her in his inaugural speech)
Growing Old Gifted by Annemarie Roeper
It seems that there is a dearth of information when it comes to the gifted adult and giftedness in old age has not, as yet, caught our attention as a worthwhile subject of investigation. Gifted elders have to keep their minds trained carefully, and keep on using it, and in fact I think that preservation of the mind has an additional task... (requires Adobe)
 
The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron
Are you easily overwhelmed by stimuli? Affected by other people's moods? Easily startled? Do you need to withdraw during busy times to a private, quiet place? This book helps HSPs (Highly Sensitive Persons) to understand themselves and their sensitive trait and its impact on personal history, career, relationships, and inner life...
 
“I Am Who I Am Because of My Disabilities”: Perspectives of a Resilient Post-Secondary Student by Jason Ford
I’d like to start by saying that I have a diagnosed permanent learning disability, as well as ADHD and enough OCD to make my life that much more interesting. To me, this sounds more like a confession then a story, but life is what it is and I’m who I am because of my ‘disabilities’. Before I get into the story, I’d like to share some of my background to help give perspective on my life up till now...
 
I realize now that I am highly gifted! by Howard L.
A letter to the webmaster of Hoagies' Page explains the experiences of many highly, exceptionally, and profoundly gifted adults... learning about their giftedness as adults!
 
Information for Gifted Adults 
From Books, Career Issues and Counseling, to Twice Special, Underachievement and Visual-Spatial, the most comprehensive site for gifted adults...
 
Inner Conflict as a Path to Higher Development: Mid-life Crisis Reexamined by Elizabeth Maxwell & Linda Kreger Silverman
A sometimes forgotten meaning of crisis is "a turning point." Rather than hardship thrust upon us, mid-life crisis may be an invitation to higher development and an indication that growth, issuing from deep within, is struggling to occur. ...reexamine such crises from the vantage point of a theory of emotional development... (requires Adobe)
 
It's All About Identity by Andy Mahoney
Each time I meet a person insightful enough to recognize his giftedness but afraid to identify himself as gifted for fear his peers will label him conceited, I am saddened...
 
Parents of the extraordinarily gifted by Linda Silverman and Kathi Kearney
Describes the impact of the extraordinarily gifted child on family life and the specific issues these families face...
 
Reflections on Counseling Gifted Adults by Annemarie Roeper
Even though I have worked with gifted people for many years, I continue to be surprised by the most unexpected expressions of intensity, passions, gentleness, empathy, and creativity as well as frustration, disappointment, and a certain puzzlement at the strangeness of the world...
 
Remarkable Women: Perspectives on Female Talent Development by edited by Karen Arnold, Kathleen Noble, and Rena Subotnik
Even though I have worked with gifted people for many years, I continue to be surprised by the most unexpected expressions of intensity, passions, gentleness, empathy, and creativity as well as frustration, disappointment, and a certain puzzlement at the strangeness of the world.  Read the prologue (requires Adobe)
 
Self-Knowledge, Self-Esteem and the Gifted Adult by Stephanie S. Tolan
Many gifted adults seem to know very little about their minds and how they differ from more "ordinary" minds. The result of this lack of self-knowledge is often low, sometimes cripplingly low self esteem. Most have never been formally identified as gifted, and even those who have may disbelieve the identification or have difficulty incorporating it into their sense of themselves...
 
Social & Emotional Issues: What Gifted Adults Say About Their Childhoods by Deborah L. Ruf
I was aware of being the smartest person in the class in first grade, but even then I suspected that I was not really bright but that the others were very slow. [By the 4th grade she was so widely read that] I did not realize then why I felt left out and thought it was due to some personality flaw. I often thought that I was really stupid because I couldn't understand why teachers taught things that I thought were obvious.
 
To thine own self be true, A new model of female talent development by Kathleen D. Noble, Rena F. Subotnik, and Karen D. Arnold
An innovative model of female talent development based upon the life experiences of gifted women from a wide variety of backgrounds and talent domains, synthesized from original studies contributed by more than 20 scholars, psychologists, and educators. Issues addressed by this model are the personal, professional, and cultural challenges common in gifted females as well as strategies for coping with them, spheres of influence and achievement to which gifted women aspire, and ways to help gifted women and girls identify and actualize their talents and gifts...
 
Too Smart for good? by Michael Duff
Some of the most brilliant people I know secretly believe they're stupid. They're always rushing from place to place, agonizing over tests, scrambling to find rare books, poised over their computer screens waiting for grades to be posted...
 
What Are Child Geniuses Like As Adults?  Some Seek Out Normal Life by ABC News
Child prodigies fascinate us. But what happens to a prodigy when he or she is no longer a child?  Visit Michael Kearney and Greg Smith for a few answers...
 
What My Daughter’s 5th Grade Teacher Taught Me About Being a Gifted Adult by Elisa of gifteduniverse.com
A teacher who changes who we are and how we look at life.  This year, my daughter was fortunate enough to have such a teacher. This man had a profound impact on my daughter.  And, by association, he also affected how I understand myself giftedness as a gifted adult...
 
'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005
You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever....
 
Last updated April 03, 2014
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