Gifted Adults

This page is dedicated to gifted adults. Here you can find articles to help with exploration and hopefully, some encouragement. Come back often: As I find useful things to publish here, I’ll add them.





This article was sent to me:


Transforming Students’ Motivation to Learn

Carol S. Dweck Winter 2008

It can be found in its entirety at

It is directed at the education of children, but I am thinking about it in terms of adults and our need to reclaim our abilities.

Dr. Dweck opens her article with this statement:

“This is an exciting time for our brains. More and more research is showing that our brains change constantly with learning and experience and that this takes place throughout our lives.”

I am reminded of a statement made by the Oregon State Board of Education in 1977:

“We are life-long learners.” What happens to us? How do we lose this enthusiasm and motivation to keep learning?

My observation is that some of this is the result of limiting beliefs, such as,

“People don’t change.”

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

“Who we are as adults is determined by our childhoods.”

“If you stand out or shine, you’re prideful or vain; you mustn’t do that!”

“It’s more important to fit in than it is to explore and think differently.”

If you think about it, we learn on our jobs, in our relationships and through the media. We are constantly taking in new information. One question is, what will we do about it? Another is, where will you choose to invest your abilities?

Dr. Dweck goes on to describe the difference between praising children for their accomplishments and praising them for their effort. The most amazing results came from encouraging efforts and teaching young people about the constant growth of their brains. She calls this the “growth mindset”. Children and youth who have a “fixed mindset,” which means they believe that ability is given and not imacted by effort did not improve nearly as well as those with a “growth mindset.”

I am not aware of any studies involving adults, but anecdotally, it seems that those who embrace learning and discovery throughout their lives are more vital and accomplish a great deal more than those who hold to the idea that they can’t learn or achieve.

In his book, “Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon: Extra Intelligent, Intense, and Effective” Willem Kuipers states that acknowledgement is the first step in enjoying and actualizing one’s giftedness. My personal and professional experience supports this.

I am thinking that these principles can be applied much more broadly. They are not unique to gifted or extra intelligent people. Each of us has been given talents, abilities and gifts as part of how God created us. Identifying and stewarding them is essential to fulfilling our destinies.

There are a number of ways to discover one’s capacities and talents, ranging from IQ and aptitude tests to more informal exploration and experimenting.

Recently, I was part of a discussion about things we have inherited from our biological families. All too often, we identify the problematic aspects of family history, but even in the trash heap of dysfunction and abuse, there are treasures. Among My relatives, for example, there are professors, inventors, musicians, artists and plenty of entrepeneurs. This is my inheritance. As I honor these gifts and appropriate them for myself, I grow and prosper.

What are the gifts, talents and abilities you need to acknowledge and foster?

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Consider the following list: How many of these descriptions fit you?

*I have High moral standards: I have a strong sense of right and wrong. I feel almost intolerable pain at knowing that people, animals or the environment are being hurt.

*I am passionately devoted to things that interest me: when I am engaged in something that interests me, I am completely absorbed in it.

*I am independent; I find it challenging to be a follower: I find ineffectual leaders to be frustrating; I value ability and gifts rather than position; I find it impossible to fit into the “norm.”

*I have a high degree of sensitivity to stimulus: Light, noise, emotional and mental stimulation can overwhelm me, especially if it seems irrelevant. I need to be fed by things that fit my gifts and passions.

* I need periods of quiet and contemplation: I can find the world to be so stimulating, it overwhelms me. I have to take time to rest and process what I have taken in.

*I thrive on challenge: I am curious and inquisitive; new skills and ideas delight me. I find lack of stimulus and boredom intolerable to the point that I become depressed.

*I often feel out of sinc with others: I am often unlike those around me.

The things that interest them don’t fit me. I am poor at small talk; my circle of friends seems to be comparatively small; I often feel like the odd one out.

*I tend to fly high and dive deep: I find it difficult to be come absorbed in things such as events, activities, local gossip, fashion, what’s “popular” and much of the news. I tend to want to go deeper than others.

*I have a rich inner world: My inner dialogs and imagination tend to be active andelaborate.

*I see below the surface and beyond the immediate: I See the underpinnings of things; I understand the causal aspects of the world around me. Things that don’t seem to concern others do concern me.

*I am able to look ahead: I see issues before others tend to; I understand the ramifications of choices before the actions have even been implemented. I have visions and ideas that are before their time.

*I learn rapidly and retain information well: I understand new ideas quickly; I tend to have natural abilities without much formal training; I am a creative thinker; I can put things together without having them explained to me; I see beyond “the given.”

*I am an innovator: I can create something out of nothing, whether that is an idea or concept, a work of art or invention.

*I am perceptive: I seem to notice things that others miss; I make connections between ideas that appear to be unrelated.

*I am a maverick: Because I process information differently and can accomodate many directions of thought at once, including divergent angles, I can find organizations that require conformity or consensus difficult.

*I am gifted at many things: I am like a honeybee in a field full of flowers. I have many interests and am proficient in all of them. Sometimes this can be challenging when it comes to priorities.

You can find Dr. Linda Silverman’s self test at




I have been reading

“Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon, Extra Intelligent, Intense and Effective,” by Willem Kuipers and Linda Kreger

I am finding it to be helpful and enjoyable.

Other books on this topic:

One on my wish list is

“Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential,” by Marylou Kelly Streznewski

This book gets great reviews.




Originally, SENG was dedicated to the emotional needs of gifted children, but they are doing more with adults these days as well. They offerarticles, conferences, webinars and simple acknowledgement that we’re out here. Enjoy!

Another site that has helpful information is

2 thoughts on “Gifted Adults

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