Fulfilling the potential of gifted adults

“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.”

Mary Rocamora, founder of the Rocamora School, Los Angeles.

The joy of being a gifted individual is that it affords a real opportunity to live an unusually rich and rewarding life.

The reasons why have been ably described by Joseph S. Renzulli, Director of The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. He has identified three qualities which, working together, are the sign of an effective gifted person.

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The three qualities are Creativity, Above average ability, and a high level of Task commitment.

Creativity

One of the most obvious ways in which gifted individuals can benefit from their inherent qualities is in creative fields. Whether as actual creators or as appreciators and supporters of others’ works, gifted individuals have much to offer and to enjoy.

Renzulli associates these indicators with creativity:

  • Fluency, flexibility, and originality of thought;
  • Openness to experience; receptive to that which is new and different (even irrational) in the thoughts, actions, and products of oneself and others;
  • Curious, speculative, adventurous, and “mentally playful”, willing to take risks in thought and action, even to the point of being uninhibited;
  • Sensitive to detail, aesthetic characteristics of ideas and things;
  • willing to act on and react to external stimulation and one’s own ideas and feelings.

As this list makes clear, being gifted and creative is potentially a great deal of fun.

Well Above Average Ability

Many gifted people are very hard on themselves when they assess their abilities. That, however, is because they set such high standards and have maybe obscured their true ability from themselves.

Renzulli defines ability in these terms:
General Ability:

  • High levels of abstract thinking, verbal and numerical reasoning, spatial relations, memory, and word fluency;
  • Adaptation to and the shaping of novel situations encountered in the external environment;
  • The automatization of information processing; rapid, accurate, and selective retrieval of information.

Specific Ability:

  • The application of various combinations of the above general abilities to one or more specialized areas of knowledge or areas of human performance (e.g., the arts, leadership, administration);
  • The capacity for acquiring and making appropriate use of advanced amounts of formal knowledge, tacit knowledge, technique, logistics, and strategy in the pursuit of particular problems or the manifestation of specialized areas of performance;
  • The capacity to sort out relevant and irrelevant information associated with a particular problem or area of study or performance.

These descriptions and examples demonstrate the tremendous range of a gifted person’s potentiality. Such folk are truly multi-capable and if they do not shine in one arena they will certainly shine in another.

Task Commitment

Gifted people are typically blessed with enormous energy or drive. Their motivation can easily be inhibited by the difficulties of being gifted, but when they feel free they can absorb and accomplish a great deal.

Renzulli defines task commitment, that happy state of being deeply involved in a favored pursuit, as follows:

  • The capacity for high levels of interest, enthusiasm, fascination, and involvement in a particular problem, area of study, or form of human expression;
  • The capacity for perseverance, endurance, determination, hard work, and dedicated practice;
  • Self-confidence, a strong ego and a belief in one’s ability to carry out important work, freedom from inferiority feelings, drive to achieve;
  • The ability to identify significant problems within specialized areas;
  • The ability to tune in to major channels of communication and new developments within given fields;
  • Setting high standards for one’s work;
  • Maintaining an openness to self and external criticism;
  • Developing an aesthetic sense of taste, quality, and excellence about one’s own work and the work of others.

All my gifted clients will recognize themselves at least in part in the above descriptions.

There are two qualities that I would add. Both of them enhance the value of gifted individuals in society and contribute to the great potential for a truly fulfilling life that all gifted people possess:

Courage

Gifted people can often see further and more completely than any others. This means they are frequently at odds with their peers. At these times they need to be able to maintain the courage of their convictions. Usually, their commitment to the truth enables them to do this, albeit at a price.

Sense of social value

Gifted individuals often have highly developed social senses that can lead them into acts of substantial selflessness for the benefit of the community. Their insights and intuition, when well-developed and trained by experience, enable the gifted to accomplish much of value.

The gifted person who is true to themselves has enormous potential for benefiting the world at large.

Summary

Much more could be written on the potential inherent in gifted individuals both for society and for themselves. One of the goals of Dynamic Life Coaching is to discover and release that potential.

As gifted individuals we are particularly fortunate. After all, a great many people would join with Jane Wagner in saying, rather ruefully: “All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.”

For gifted individuals in particular, the possibility and benefits of “being more specific” could not be greater.

I hope this information has been helpful to you. If you would like to find out more about Dynamic Life Coaching or myself, please use the form below to schedule a free 50-minute ‘phone or Skype discussion.

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