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Are you a gifted adult? Does it matter?

Do you think you might be a gifted adult?

Parents of gifted children often realize that they may be gifted when they discover their children are gifted.

I oftentimes see parents who bring in their children for gifted evaluations who suddenly realize that many of the things I am saying about their children also apply to them. It's a sudden AHA moment! Suddenly, they begin to re-conceptualize themselves according to this new backdrop.

Why does it matter? Before answering this, let's consider common characteristics of gifted adults:

  • Vivid imagination

  • Tendency to bore easily

  • Need to be challenged

  • Need to be intellectually challenged

  • Learn new concepts quickly

  • Extremely curious

  • Very driven

  • Fear of failure

  • Feelings of being an imposter

  • Highly sensitive

  • Highly aware of criticism

  • Experience intense emotions

  • Advanced understanding and strong convictions related to moral & social issues

  • Feel separate from others

  • Feel misunderstood by others

  • Enjoy the company of others but still require solitude

  • Crave autonomy

  • Strong desire for work that makes a difference

Many of these characteristics are extremely positive. Yet, others could be a double-edged sword. Indeed, many argue that "gifted" is not the best word, since there are many challenges that gifted adults face. For example, gifted adults may struggle with witnessing injustice and their inability to change it. They may see things in a unique way that is different from their peers, which can be alienating. They may not be interested in mundane conversations that are common among their peers and instead may seek out deeper, more meaningful conversations and relationships.

Some gifted adults have a history of intentional underachievement. This is also especially common among gifted women, who learn to adapt to their environments and seek to fit in versus standing out with their achievements and accomplishments. This can also be confounded by imposter syndrome, where gifted women feel they are not as strong as others think they are and they fear they are fooling people somehow.

Yet, despite these issues, we also know that gifted populations at-large experience better outcomes than their peers. Research has demonstrated that higher IQ is linked to better health outcomes, longer lifespan, higher income potential, and higher education.

So why does it matter if an adult understands that they are gifted? Perhaps it varies from one individual to the next, but many adults suddenly understand why they have "felt" different from others for most of their lives. They begin to understand that they are not alone, that there are other gifted people who have characteristics much like their own.

For more information on gifted adults, hop over to our page on gifted adults. You are also welcome to join our Facebook page to link up with others!

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