The Limitations of Being Gifted

  • Being more perceptive
  • Being more likely to reach correct conclusions
  • Understanding more of the words being used in the content you are exposed to
  • Drawing connections across different areas of knowledge quickly
  • Absorbing and integrating frameworks of knowledge quickly
  • Creating and testing new mental frameworks on the fly during ambiguous situations

All of these are examples of what giftedness have given you. You may not have noticed them directly (after all, the last thing a fish notices is the water it’s swimming in)–except perhaps your peers failed to recognize them. What these abilities, alone or in constellations, subtly do is condition you.

What you may have gotten in your education is a series of strategies and thinking through your problems. Whether directly or indirectly, you get the message that you’re smart, and that thinking something through has its benefits (ah, to get 100% on a paper, quiz, mid-term or final examination with minimal effort!). If you were lucky, you were shown how to develop other aspects beyond the exercise of your smarts. If you were less lucky, then consider now to be the moment when that luck has turned: you now have the opportunity to develop yourself into a more well-rounded person.

One thing you may have faced less of growing up is failure. To give your best and have it not be good enough. You may have built towers of strategies to avoid failure, and found success from their implementation. The smarter someone is, the greater the inclination becomes to figure out ways around issues socially, and to strategically set themselves on the road to success.

Fortune, however, finds a way. In the United States, where I’m from), this idea is deeply unpopular. The idea that random chance can give you a knockout blow and do permanent damage is not liked very much. After all, people should just exert their wills and use their work ethic to get themselves back on their feet and make their dreams come true! And I’m not discounting the value of will, strategy, determination, and preparation. All of these things make us more resilient to fortune.

But sometimes luck can turn badly. You can look both ways before crossing the street, and follow the walk signal correctly, and still get hit by a car who obeys none of the rules, driven by someone with no insurance. In a less dramatic example, you may find good ideas, even world-changing ideas, get met over and over again with rejection, until the idea finally comes through to you that no one will provide that vital support to get it implemented. Your boss may take an active dislike to you, make it more difficult for you to do your job. Or you may realize the simple fact that no matter how much you strategize, you can’t make time for everything you want to do.

“Hey, that’s not how this was supposed to go! Life is supposed to get easier as I come into adulthood and leverage all of my powers into greater power and control!” And there’s the rub. Giftedness does indeed provide some greater control, some more opportunities–but it can’t erase the limitations you face socially, academically, in your career, and so on. Sorry to break it to you, my friend, but you are a human being with limitations! Indeed, it brings up an interesting paradox: you have eyes to see so much that you may have many interests (multipotentiality), but those same eyes may be bigger than your stomach (your desire and capacity to digest the experience of actualizing these potentials).

Need help prioritizing? Reach out for gifted coaching and we can work through what your goals and plans are.

~Cliff

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