One of my greatest challenges has been finding balance between breadth and depth of experience, particularly in a professional setting. The conventional academic path in my fields leads to an over specialization in minutiae, which I find numbing, and most industry work is too superficial to be interesting. I'm a polymath. So are all my closest friends. I'm happiest when I'm solving a wicked, interdisciplinary problem that has societal repercussions.

I spent my university years chasing prestige to feed my ego, only to realize once I had it that none of that matters a fillip. Maybe that's the greatest shortcoming for me of being "gifted": the notion that somehow, there is an objective "right" path or ranking system for human achievement. There isn't. There is only the matter of how many rounds we leave in the chamber at the end of our lives.

My second thorn is the label "gifted". It's constraining. It defines you in reference to something you're not. I think over-identification with the label itself is problematic because it creates a mentality of entitlement based solely on potential. I struggle with this still. To me, true "giftedness" is the full and effective use of talents.

What is to give light must endure burning.