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    #250226 - 03/27/23 08:53 PM Re: How to accept that giftedness doesn't mean much [Re: giftedamateur]
    indigo Offline

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 5040
    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    Being gifted is being in the top 2% of intelligence, but that doesn't really say much. It might be closer to the average of knowledge professions like engineering and medicine, but doesn't really get into the realm where people can be truly creative and come up with new insights beyond the systems which already exist.
    It is not always those with the highest intelligence who are truly creative and come up with new insights beyond which already exist. Two example groups, which are not mutually exclusive, are:
    1) Those attaining a PhD -
    . . Open Culture, article, archived on WayBack Machine, 2012 -
    . .
    2) Those obtaining a patent -
    . .

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    What I'm realizing is that we raise gifted kids with this expectation that they can do whatever they put their mind to. However, in order to do something really interesting or of note (and being the millionth Amazon engineer isn't that), you need smarts way beyond just the top 2%.
    To do something which is really interesting (according one's own values), one must understand what interests them, and identify and/or create opportunities, generally while keeping life in balance by addressing tasks of everyday life such as keeping a roof over one's head and building/maintaining healthy, respectful relationships.

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    It is probably something closer to AT LEAST the top 0.01% in the relevant aspect of intelligence plus near ideal conditions growing up which allow you to take advantage of childhood neuroplasticity and get a head start.
    This appears to define/describe children with IQ in the range of Davidson Young Scholars.

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    In addition to that, there is a "special something" which is also having a different, rather singular way of approaching things.

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    The rarity of all these conditions put together makes the probability one in 100,000 or less. Basically, the other 99,999 stand no chance. This includes 1999 out of 2000 "gifted children".
    No chance at what?

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    This often ends up harming those children. They grow up to think they're special and can do anything they put their mind to, and realize that even difficult undergraduate math or philosophy or whatever is beyond their cognitive capacities even with concerted effort, never mind the frontiers of human knowledge which they will never ever be able to touch.
    Each person is special, priceless, precious, invaluable, and irreplaceable. If one believes their worth is not intrinsic but rather proportional to their intelligence, unfortunately they may tend to look down on others. Additionally, their self-image, self-worth, self-esteem may plummet when they face difficulties. The work related to fixed mindset or growth mindset, by Carol Dweck, also Po Bronson, may be of interest.

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    Based on IQ and levels of giftedness, I hope we can agree that the truth of the above statement follows as a statistical inevitability.
    I disagree, as accomplishment, interesting endeavors, and coming up with new insights beyond the systems which already exist, are not elusive nor reserved to those with the highest IQ.

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    How should one deal with the realization that they are simply not "good enough" to reach a certain goal?
    Not reaching a goal is not a reflection on one's self worth, it does not mean that one is not "good enough." All persons benefit by developing resilience. The athlete who wins a gold medal did not often achieve that in their first competition. We try, learn, fail, learn some more, win, lose, grow, help guide others, experiment, refine, and expand our repertoire.

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    I think this is especially significant for gifted folk because due to their overexcitabilities, they often end up devoting large swathes of time to their areas of interest, only to fail in them if they don't have the required level of talent. What must one do when hard work is not enough? This is incredibly hard for gifted people to wrap their heads around: when everything in life has come easy to them, it's hard enough to accept that one must work hard. But what about the point when they realize that they simply lack the talent (or worse, opportunity) and can never get "there" in their finite existence?
    The question has changed from a lament that giftedness doesn't mean much unless one can be truly creative and come up with new insights beyond the systems which already exist... to a frustration about not having reached a specific goal, and believing that one lacks both talent and opportunity: cannot find or create opportunity or develop one's abilities to ever achieve that goal... combined with an unwillingness to set a new goal.

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    I haven't seen much discussion of this on the forum -- maybe I couldn't think of the right search parameters. But how do we counsel overexcitable, idealistic gifted kids/teens/adults when they reach that point?
    Possibly look into each element individually: Over excitability, idealism, plus the previously mentioned growth mindset, fixed mindset, resilience. Some authors to consider include: Kazimierz Dabrowski, James T. Webb, Carol Dweck, Po Bronson, Del Siegle, James R. Delisle, Dan Peters. Some resources to consider: SENG-gifted (, Hoagies-gifted (, Davidson library of articles, including
    When people undergo a great trauma or other unsettling event—they have lost a job or a loved one dies, for example—their understanding of themselves or of their place in the world often disintegrates, and they temporarily “fall apart,” experiencing a type of depression referred to as existential depression.
    Author: Webb, J, Ph.D.

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    I have seen so many gifted children, now in the professions making a comfortable living and thus "successful", disgruntled at how pedestrian their job is.
    If their life outside of their profession was making greater demands of them, it is possible that they would not be disgruntled with a pedestrian job. If advancement in their job, career, or profession would not be a path open to them, they could focus on creating greater connection and meaning in other areas of their life, whether creative pursuits, volunteerism, family life, further education, travel, etc.

    Originally Posted By: giftedamateur
    I will admit to having a bit of a self-serving agenda here because there are many things which I would like to do which are likely simply impossible for me to do because either a) lack of talent, or b) parents didn't provide avenues to pursue them when young and so the window of opportunity is now closed. I think it was also spurred on when I realized the reality of levels of giftedness. Recently I was talking to this undergraduate who taught himself calculus at 14, and realized that I was considerably more talented at math than him -- and made me realize that professional mathematicians were all at least similarly talented if not more. By ordinary measures, that child would be considered very talented, even an outlier in an ordinary school, but that is not enough to be a professional mathematician. Many mathematicians have achieved International Math Olympiad medals at that age, for a ballpark comparison. It's similar for many other "elite" professions.
    While these thoughts may flash through anyone's mind, we might not choose to ruminate on them... if you are open to advice, possibly focus less on keeping score in a comparative and competitive manner. In seeking to understand and make sense of the patterns we find throughout our life's journey, look to find the good in every situation and circumstance.

    #250227 - 03/28/23 06:17 AM Re: How to accept that giftedness doesn't mean much [Re: giftedamateur]
    LazyMum Offline

    Registered: 06/09/15
    Posts: 132
    I think for achieving the sort of things you're talking about, more than whether you're in the top 2% or 0.01% or 0.0001%, it's about whether you have what my mum calls 'stickability'. Which I don't. *shrugs*

    Also, as Indigo pointed out, it also totally depends on what you value in life. Someone with a lot of existential thoughts running through their head might just be content to appreciate nature and love their family fiercely.

    Edited by LazyMum (03/28/23 06:28 AM)

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