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Gifted, Who ME?

I recently spoke with Ariane of Lotus Bridge and blogger extraordinaire at Neat and Simple Living.  I was inspired to write a response to her blog on ADHD/Gifted/NeuroDiverse which can be found at http://blog.neatandsimple.com/2011/01/adult-add-gifted-or-neurodiverse.html

My thoughts below are very much the attitude I grew up with, and are aspects of myself that I still mentally argue.  At this point, I’m more deeply embracing the core qualities of Gifted (Intensity, Complexity, Drive) and don’t hesitate to privately use the label gifted for myself. (In public may be another matter I’m still working on.)

Why I’m not “Gifted”
I never considered myself gifted…I mean, really…I’m not a math, physics, or computer science major.  I majored in business but excelled at liberal arts.  But, I wasn’t a stellar sculptor, a solo-musician, or a language virtuoso.  I was a mediocre dancer.  But gifted, or even genius.  No way.

Yeah, I was a smart kid.  Yeah, I was in the honors program in college, but I still wasn’t anything special.  I was “normal.” I just happened to be good in school.  It was easy, but that didn’t really make me special.  Ok, so I had a knack for getting it and explaining it to someone else (except for math, and German).

I had too many interests to be “gifted”.  I never stuck with anything long enough to get “good”.  My friends and I all talked about how you needed close to 1000+ or 10,000+ hours to master something. I rarely found something interesting for more than a week.  Forget 10,000 hours.  My friends were the state level athletes and if you weren’t at their level, you weren’t good.  They never felt they were good enough either.  If they weren’t proud of their accomplishments (and almost at the top…) what good is it to be proud of mine?  I look like a schmuck if I say I feel good about a time that’s 5 seconds slower than theirs in a 50 yard free.  IF the good aren’t good, or won’t say it because they’ll be accused of being conceited.  The less than good aren’t good either, right?

I wasn’t a pretty girl.  At best I was “cute.”  Not ugly, but nothing that drew the boys attention.  I was persistent, but persistence isn’t a sign of being gifted.  It’s just a core value that everyone has, right?  Right?  I mean, I’m nothing special.

I couldn’t count in piano, I couldn’t remember the music lines on the notes and make my fingers hit the right keys.  I wasn’t a super nerd.  I didn’t play dungeons & dragons.

The things I was praised for, getting along, being a peace-keeper, being sweet. (all skills of adaptability) weren’t anything special.  I was in leadership roles, but those were just expected.  Anyone can do that, you just have to expect and teach t hem how.  I mean, really it’s nothing special.  The others just haven’t learned how to  be that fast yet to have the extra time in their schedule to want or find these classes interesting.

What if you counter all of this with this article from Patty K. A small excerpt is here:

Yes. You *are* an expert.

by Patty K on February 7, 2011

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A few nights ago I was chatting with someone about blogging and Twitter.

And he asked me: “Are you a social media expert?”

I panicked and mentally back pedaled.

Uh oh! I stepped out of bounds and was talking about something I have no right to talk about. I was worried the police of Social Media Expertise might suddenly jump out of the woodwork with a pop quiz about <insert social media stuff I know nothing about here>

I quickly deferred: “No. No I’m not.” (Then I breathed a sigh of relief as the Credentialing Police retreated.)

But hang on a second…

What exactly is an expert? And who defines it?

Dictionary.com defines an expert as: “a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field.

When I hear the word “expert” – I immediately think of the people who know more than I do. In this case, people like Chris Brogan and Scott Stratten.

And the person I was talking to would not have heard of either of these two people.

I’m not sure he even knew exactly what “social media” was. He’s not on Twitter. He’s not on Facebook. He doesn’t blog. (He later asked me: “What’s a teleclass?”)

From his perspective, I was a social media expert.

There are degrees of expertise. Levels.

I picture it as a ladder. The ladder represents All There is to Know about a Given Subject. (In many cases, there is no “top” – it expands infinitely into the sky.)

Once we decide to learn about something, we start climbing the ladder. We look up and ahead to people who know more than us; our teachers and mentors. We look sideways towards our peers.

If we’re keen on the subject, we’ll climb past our first teachers and seek out new guides higher up the ladder.

And when we’re at the very bottom of the ladder? All we see are the people ahead of us. We may even mistakenly think that those people are at the top.

As a woman I spoke with recently said: “To a 3rd grader, a 4th grader is a God.”…….

A Book Review:The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius

The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius-Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, Psy.D.
Amazon Link The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius(tm)

Review: Eye-opening book for anyone who’ knows life should be pretty good but find something’s askew despite being smart, capable, and maybe even “Gifted”. Often, key personality traits (intensity, complexity and drive) are misunderstood or ignored. Understanding these can mean living up to your potential instead of driving yourself crazy. If you’re ignoring these, you’re probably wanting to know: “If I’m smart, why is this not working?” I loved this book because it normalized the parts of me I’ve apologized for (and secretly made me wonder if I’m “crazy”)including the 101 ever changing new interests (I’m actually not flighty and scattered!). Gifted is more than just “smartness” it’s a fundamentally different biological wiring with it’s own benefits and challenges.

Learning Styles

Your preferred learning style is how you prefer to process information.  The three most commonly listed types are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.  All people learn using most of these methods, but often find one to be more comfortable.  Do you know what yours is?  Here’s a link to the full inventory: Learning Styles Inventory

Learning Style Clues Learning Tips
Visual Needs to see it to know it. Use graphics to reinforce.
Strong sense of color. Color coding to organize notes and possessions.
May have artistic ability. Written directions.
Difficulty with spoken directions. Use of flow charts and diagrams for note-taking.
May be easily distracted by sounds. Visualize spelling of words of facts to be memorized.
trouble following lectures.
Misinterpretation of spoken words.
Auditory Prefers to get information by listening-needs to hear it or speak it to know it. Use of tapes for reading and for class lecture notes.
Written directions more difficult to follow than spoken directions. Learning by interviewing or by participating in discussions.
Prefers listening to reading and writing. Works well in study groups.
Inability to read body language and facial expression. Having test questions or directions read aloud or put on tape.
Kinesthetic Prefers hands-on learning. Experiential learning (making models,, doing lab work, and role playing).
Can assemble parts without reading directions. Frequent breaks in study periods.
Difficulty sitting still. Tracing letters and words to learn spelling and to remember facts.
Learns better when physical activity is involved. Use computer to reinforce learning through sense of touch.
May be very well coordinated and have athletic ability. Memorize or drilling while walking or exercising.
Usually involves some kind of movement while learning, i.e. tapping pencil, shaking foot, and/or holding something.

Grumpy: A New Idea

This came from the comments of http://www.jonathanfields.com/blog/grumpy/ . Next time I find myself in a bad mood I’m planning to try this.  I’m also looking forward to suggesting it to a client!

When I need to reframe: I do the grump walk. I march up and down chanting “grump, grump, grump, grump.” My arms swing and my knees lift. Before I have taken too many steps I am feeling so ridiculous that I am laughing out loud. I have a shot of happy in my bloodstream and am ready to move on.

Thanks for today’s post.

Come Home

Come home
Come come, they said to me
Come home little light, you don’t have to burn alone
We’ll help you

I stand, unsure how to move.

You lit us up and there’s room for more.
–An army of votives to spread out the paraffin when the wick gets too short.

Personality: Why that doesn’t equal broken

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

-Eleanor Roosevelt

I took a risk last night and brought up issues in a discussion.  Some might have called them minor, but  they’ve have been bothering me for a while. While it was the right move, the reaction stings.  I just have to look at the quote above and remind myeslf that it was the right move because the more I thought about the more agitated and worried I got.  The ruminating process is quite powerful and I would be a mess today if I had put off the discussion.

Personality is the way we react to the world given a preset dispostion.  Sometimes I take things too literally, or I’ll ignore important issues when someone is being serious because I don’t recognize it as demanding that level of attention. This is part of who I am.  Some of it I can learn to modify.

Just think about this:

Noun

Singular
personality
Plural
personalities

personality (plural personalities)

  1. A set of qualities that make a person (or thing) distinct from another.

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