Characteristics of the Gifted

I received my Mensa Research Journal in the mail yesterday, and found some of the material so interesting that I decided to suspend my writing about the psyche for a day and blog about intelligence, instead.

This issue is about high intelligence (giftedness) in the workplace. I found one article, “Gifted Adults in Work,” by Noks Nauta and Frans Corten, especially interesting. The abstract begins, “gifted adults ( people with a very high intelligence; 2% of the population) sometimes are not able to function adequately at work” (49). Ironic, isn’t it, that the most intelligent among us may function inadequately at work, in school, or in other settings? Why is that?

Gifted people share certain characteristics that can make adapting difficult when adapting means thinking, acting, or feeling within normal limits. Several articles mentioned that people with very high IQs are often mis-diagnosed as having ADHD or autism!

Some of the shared characteristics of the gifted are:

  • Speed of thinking. Gifted individuals think more quickly than others. They make many mental switches, associate rapidly, and give the impression that they jump from one subject to the next.
  • High sensitivity.People with high intelligence are also more sensitive in various areas, such as psychomotoric, sensorial, intellectual, imaginative, and emotional. They are sometimes confused with people who have ADHD.
  • Introversion.The inner world of the gifted is very well-developed. They are quickly and easily hurt, and so tend to keep others at a distance. Some avoid parties and other social gatherings because the topics of conversation bore them or because they have been rejected for being “different” in the past. People with high IQs also have trouble finding others who are like them, which can lead them to become even more isolated.
  • Emotional development.Many gifted individuals feel emotions strongly; but because their thinking ability is dominant and provides safety, their emotional development may lag behind. They may have trouble linking feelings and reason. This may be reinforced when the child’s giftedness is not recognized from an early age, and when it is mistaken for autism or other developmental problems.
  • Creativity. Gifted people are more global by nature and have strong capacities for imagination. People of average intelligence can’t follow the train of thought of the gifted. Gifted individuals can also identify patterns quickly and thus predict trends. They may draw conclusions intuitively or make what appear to be quick or premature judgments. Their creativity is often frustrated by the regular education system or the typical work place.
  • Independence. Gifted people make judgments and form opinions autonomously. They are non-conformist and therefore display “inappropriate behavior” in the classroom or work place. They often have an aversion to non-democratic authority.
  • Perfectionism. Perfectionism is often accompanied by having too high expectations of others, but also with shame, guilt feelings, and feelings of inferiority through not being able to meet their own high expectations.
  • Learning style. Many gifted people have exploratory learning styles. They look for what isn’t there, and are often bored by rote learning methods. As a result, they may never develop learning strategies.
  • Fear of failure and under-performing.If their intelligence is not stimulated, children often develop bad working habits. They sometimes think that they are stupid, become afraid of failure, and start under-performing. Their motivation to learn decreases.

Gifted people tend to be interested in and good at many different things. A gifted child may want to become involved in new activities quickly, and then over-commit himself. This may continue into adulthood, making the gifted adult a “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

I found this list of characteristics of the gifted interesting, because they are all too familiar. I think that being able to see layer upon layer of meaning in a situation or relationship can be particularly painful to the person with high intelligence, because often these layers are missed by the average person. This hyper-sensitivity can be crippling and can, I think, cause those with high intelligence to teeter on the edge of neurosis if they aren’t helped to see that they do, in fact, see and experience life differently than the average person. A 10-year-old able to think, read, and comprehend at the high school level, but still emotionally and developmentally every bit the 10-year-old is going to have problems in 5th grade. This is a fact of life that the parents of the gifted child really ought to pay attention to rather than pretending it isn’t there, or expecting the child to work it out on his or her own.

strategies for the gifted

The authors write that gifted people use various strategies to cope with their oddness. They may choose to be inconspicuous, keeping a low profile and restricting personal development because they’re not aware of their high intelligence, or don’t care to do the work that will lead to being accepted or better adjusted. (What’s the value of being well adjusted? If you can’t explain it to your gifted child in dollars and cents, he just may decide to forego “getting along” becaues it doesn’t make sense.)

Others may have grown up knowing they were intelligent, accepted it, and developed the social skills to get along with others. Many who adapt do so because they are able to work or learn in a gifted environment. Still others move on from acceptance to being primarily social, functioning well in multi-disciplinary jobs where high intelligence and good social skills are needed (many more highly intelligent people work in the humanities, for example).

Others with high intelligence get stuck using confrontational or isolationist strategies and manage to make lifestyles of arguing with and confronting others in the environment, or of isolating themselves. While this may keep them feeling lively for awhile, it can also be isolating and lead to job terminations, setting the individual up for a long string of losses. I have had a couple of sons who began to develop this pattern in school, and I showed them how getting along with the teacher, even if he was wrong, would earn a better grade than showing the class what a fool the instructor was. Earn the grade first, I told them; educate the teacher afterward. This is a strategy that has worked for them, for the most part, and improved their GPAs. I will add, though, that some fools who are also professors can’t be gotten by, and the high-IQ student may just have to take a few bad grades. “Suck it up,” I tell them, “but don’t compromise your values.”


Another article in the journal showed what sorts of professions the gifted tend to choose by surveying groups of gifted and non-gifted adults. I was surprised to learn that 45.6% of gifted people surveyed worked in the humanities, while only 17.8% of those with average intelligence did, and that only 22% of the gifted worked in science and technology, while almost 26% of people with average intelligence did. A similar proportion of gifted and non-gifted worked in the natural sciences.

Perhaps most surprising was that only 11% of gifted people chose economic or legal professions, while almost 27% of the non-gifted went into economics or law. This must explain why it’s so difficult to find a good attorney, why smart people often have to do the work their attorneys ought to be doing, and why the economy is in so much trouble.

Finally, no gifted people in the study group chose artistic professions, whereas 4.4% of the non-gifted did. I found this particularly interesting, since in our local Mensa group there are several artists; but not one of them chose art as a primary career. All of them had one or two careers before retiring, and only turned to art after they had retired comfortably. This goes along with what other researchers have found, which is that people who are intelligent and will act on their intelligence also tend to be practical. They will choose certain safety over behaviors have questionable outcomes. My friends who became artists late in life all have that in common. They assumed when they were younger and raising children that their art could not support them, so they waited until they were past retirement age to throw themselves into their art.


I should note that the study group used in the article about professions was small, and I do not think representative of the general population. I’m sure that there are probably quite a few artists, attorneys, and judges out there with IQs higher than 100. ;)

75 responses

  1. Hello I read the post and one of your comments in which you said “we’re all, after all, same”
    I have been fighting through the same things as you mentioned in your article and since the last few months I started feeling that I have developed ADHD.
    I graduated out of medical school as I am passionate about medicine .I was always among top scorers before medical school but while at med school , a lot of other things started attracting me.
    I somehow managed med school while faking social skills and keeping calm.I could never have friends who were like me – not concerned about results and just interested in learning.
    After the med school got over, I felt at peace as I could be at home and read or travel or play music .I am an INTP.As you said oversensitivity towards people makes me avoid them and lately some issues in my family and suffering have affected Me a lot.
    My thinking process just goes round and round and it is very difficult for Me to study for an exam.
    In my country we have a sepearte exam for specialization.I have been studying for past one year for that and with so many things going on in my Mind , I am afraid I’ll become insane soon.
    It is hard for me to do selective reading.lack of results takes heavy toll on my self esteem.I have high expectations from myself and I feel guilty of disappointing my parents.
    There are selected two three people I talk to.
    At younger age, I could cope with it in a better way .I never felt the anxiety to perform then.I used to sing, play musical instruments, write poetry, read a lot and score well academically too.
    I was a happy jolly kid then.
    I wish I could go back to being that way and not having to perform.
    This stretch with lack of results has made me doubt myself and my abilities.I detest going to pubs and drink and hang out like my friends do .its hard to find a common denominator with them.
    I am 25 now and I understand that everyone appreciates kindness and good gestures and love. I share such a relationship with few and do it wholeheartedly and with love.with others I try being polite and nice but I can’t stretch it for long.people start calling again and again and it becomes hard to put off.I am accused of not acting about freinds when I have never considered then as friends and was just being nice.
    I am having a bad phase.writing this dowm helped me.thank you.

  2. I’m feeling it, with IQ scores of 180 for the Malaysian Mensa when I was 18 did open new horizons for me. But then you realise that how irrational people can be. I would like to be normal but I can’t. I pity the society for not seeking out intelligent children out at a young age but instead instilling mediocre values upon them. Maybe that’s the balance of life, the intelligent ones are pulled down to mediocre level by the general population. Only gifted and privileged children gets their tickets to perform to the fullest.

  3. Haha, I know this is an old post, but it makes me laugh. This is an almost picture perfect description of me. Luckily for me, it seems, I got the long end of the straw. I grew up in a supportive environment and found another odd person like me. Several, actually. Our conversations were always seemingly random and left many people confused, but we could follow them perfectly. We each learned how to effectively communicate with our other peers, in time, but until then we were Life rafts for each other. I took the test when I was younger, and the test said I was an INTP. Took it today and it has yet to change.

  4. I’m currently 18, and I’ve had selective mutism sense second grade. However, I have never felt anxiety strongly, which is a trademark of the condition. For years I wondered why it was so hard to talk with other kids, and I wondered why other kids weren’t discussing the grand endeavors of the mind like I did. I was always isolated and it seemed nobody liked me. I felt like a failure, unintelligent. In class, I would feel dumb when other people came up with answers that everybody seemed to know automatically, while my answers were silly and complicated.
    Recently I discovered the possibility that I am indeed gifted and that nobody thinks the way I do at all. I was thrilled to learn and it has opened new doors of potential for me. I’m currently developing experimental tactics to improve my own brain function and improve my thought processes. I’m also attempting to increase my communication by tuning into others perspectives and it is indeed wonderful. I just wish that I discovered earlier!
    This post is really clear, I love it, thank you!

    • Hello, Expressions, and welcome to The Third Eve. Thank you for your comments. I think that many people whose IQ or temperament (personality) types (or both) are unusual feel isolated or unintelligent in the regular classroom. Since people with IQs in the gifted range score in the top 1-3% on standardized tests of intelligence, and some personality types occur in only 2-3% of the population, it’s possible to have both a high IQ and an unusual personality type, and go through life feeling isolated most of the time.

      I suggest you visit the Humanetrics web site ( ) to take an online version of the Myers-Briggs Temperament Inventory (MBTI). This will help you identify your temperament type according to the MBTI, which is a standardized test that has been widely used for decades. Carl Jung first theorized about these different personality types.

      I suggest this because perhaps your personality type is among the minority, AND you may have a high IQ, which could mean that you’ve been surrounded by people unlike yourself. Supposing a person with an IQ in the top 1% of the population has the temperament type of INFJ, INTJ, or INTP. These personality types occur in only 1-2.5% of the population. In a class of 30 other students, it is unlikely that there will be one person of like intelligence and personality in the class. In a graduating class of 1,000 students, at most 25 students may have a similar personality type and IQ. Going through life this way makes an unusual person feel, well… unusual! You can see the frequency of personality types in the general population and by gender here:

      My own IQ and temperament type place me in a group of about 0.5% of individuals everywhere. I’ve felt (and been) the oddball my entire life. While I learned to fake “normal” and get along well with others, it certainly caused me pain in my youth. The typical teenage and young adult complaint that “nobody understands me” was actually, in a way, true! Haha! However, the good news is that my spiritual and philosophical journeys taught me that we’re all, after all, the same. We all want love, acceptance, safety, and companions for the road, among other things.

      Stay in touch. I will try to write regularly again. This post has been one of the most popular posts I’ve written over the years, and I think I need to write more about intelligence. Thank you for your comments, and I wish you the best on your journey. Your intelligent way of solving social problems is spot-on for someone with superior problem-solving skills. It’s intelligent. The average Joe wouldn’t try to change anything. The fact that you started by working on yourself is significant, and I applaud you for that. Take care!

    • Hi, i was in the same situation. No body understand me and i was thinking of their conversation as so shallow, and when when i attempted to join in they would laugh at me and the way and speed of thinking. Because of that I started to interest in to psychology and neurology, new ways of thinking and self development. Just to know how to speak to them :D. Know i think the same ” I just wish that I discovered earlier”. that would save me a lot of pain. hah but know i can say it’s easer to live but finding the love one that can keep up with you… that’s the biggest challenge.

  5. I am happy that i found this forum right now. Ive always felt like no one i know has any connection with me and they just cant understand, but today that’s all changed. I just spent the past 45 minutes reading everyone’s comments here and its nice to know that there are other people out there that have problems so similar. I don’t really feel like writing my whole life story or anything ,because that would be really boring and time consuming, but i just had to say how much this page has really taught me.

    • Hi, there. I apologize that I haven’t responded earlier. I attempted National Novel Writing Month in November and any writing I did went thataway. Thank you for your comments. It’s interested me that this particular article has been one of the most-read at this site. Folks who are gifted share wonky traits and a sense of being ill-suited to this world. Many (if not most) internalize this, a painful error that one has to correct later. Hopefully we swing from blaming ourselves and/or blaming others to a middle path whereby we can accept ourselves and others and get on with the task of being who we are, and sharing whatever gifts we have with others.

    • I have pretty much felt the same way for years. I am 21 now and I still struggle to cope with being different.

      My mom just had a fight with me and told me that I think and act differently than other people and that’s my biggest problem. She hates my “individuality”, I just hate being so sensitive.

      Now I’m struggling not to hate myself, I’m just tired of being like this.
      I hate it. I hate life. Why can’t I be like other people?
      Everywhere I go i’m always the outsider, can’t connect or talk the same things as others. Sick of it and sick of trying to change into a “better person”. Right now I’d be much happier dead.

      • i sure felt the same way you do, intensifying as i grew older, saw many psychs, counselors, had many diagnosis, alcoholism. i thought i was broken. now i believe it was giftedness, that no-one recognized, and my quirks were pathologized. now i can see all those things i hated about myself, as having actually come from a place of giftedness, not “brokeness” or “defectiveness”. PLEASE hang in there! it took some time and growth, but today, i am very very close with the mother who i used to battle with, and i appreciate her sooo much!! i even see the specialness in my differentness from other peiople, and now so does my mom. hope i don’t offend, but have you tried praying? pursuing spirituality and a personal relationship with a Higher Power, has benefited me tremendously! and it all came to life for me with the simple but heartfelt prayer, of “help me” blessings and love to you, and please have the compassion for yourself that i know you would give to others. i am learning to count on myself to give myself the compassion that i gladly give to others. I have to PRACTICE lovingl myself at times, just as i can lover others. good luck to you, you are not alone in having those feelings, but they will not last forever. they are a part of your growth. please trust the process of growing through difficult times, and seek help. it is always darkest before the dawn. just dont give up before the dawn comes! you r not alone!

      • I cannot totally understand because I’ll never be you but we have similar thoughts. And my family in general except for my aunt and my dear deceased cousin tell me the same thing regularly. As well as being told that I wasted my brain and intelligence because I wanted a simple job instead of being a doctor, lawyer, corporate CEO or some other position deemed respectable by my family and friends.

        Funny thing is I have never seen myself as anything other than average. Look at my writing. Does it give anyone the impression that I have intellectual gifts beyond normal… lolz

        And the funny thing is outside people have commented on my ‘weirdness’ yet their words meant nothing. When family says it it hits in the heart.

        And my specific interests really give me little in common with people.
        Being an outsider is a pain. And the self hatred is very strong indeed.

        Do not want to be a ‘well adjusted’ person either because the things most people are happy with I’m not.

        Add to it the fact that I’ve pretty much not wanted to be here or human as far back as I can remember, and it is real hell. Age has made it worse …I’m 37.

        Have only survived this long because my first attempt at suicide failed and was scared of failing again. Do not want to end up crippled or a vegetable or locked up in an institution because all those are worse than death or my current existence.

        But I’m really close now because I have thought of a multiple method that cannot fail… well failure is improbable.

        Just tired of faking like I give a darn just to keep a job and maintain necessities. I want to change jobs like I did in university but unless one is lucky that does not work when you have to support yourself.
        And nobody wants to live in a crime ridden part of town if they can help it.

        Other people want you to be satisfied with the same things they are. And if you not then you are ‘ungrateful’ or ‘ignorant’. I have tons of interest they just vary and change a lot. But even with the ones that match others it is a pain having a discussion because it seems like they always want to have a competition about who knows more or who is better or some other form of pointless conflict.

        I just wish I could go to sleep and not wake up.
        Or to will myself to just fade away.
        Been wishing to leave this world for so long and I’m so tired.
        Only reason I still eat and drink is because I do not have the discipline to starve myself.

        But I put myself in a position where I will probably have to end things soon.
        I’m jobless and my early retirement money is running out. And since I do not want to be homeless I’ll probably be able to finally have the courage to go.

        Not looking for pity or even agreement. Just needed a place to vent because I have nobody else to share with… well one person but I do not want them to know because I’ve told everybody I’m going to a monastery.

        And none of the get better speeches. I was a suicide hotline counselor for years so I know all those words.

        Just as there is a range for sexuality, intelligence, ethnic background, height, weight, ability, etc there also seems to be a range of how much one wants to hold on to life and compromise to fit in at least to be able to maintain food, water and shelter.

        Just tired of putting forth the effort for so many reasons.

  6. This was THE most fasinating artical ive ever read,and if all of this words are correct then it all makes sens more then ever,and thx for the artical,i really needed guidness,and i just got to the right webpage at the right time,will link this to facebook,thx m8 d(n_n)b

  7. Thanks for this stimulating post. The study group finding that “no gifted people chose artistic professions” is strange. In the article [on my High Ability site] “Giftedness in the work environment” by Noks Nauta, Sieuwke Ronner, there is a summary: “A gifted individual is a quick and clever thinker, who is able to deal with complex matters. Autonomous, curious and passionate. A sensitive and emotionally rich person, living intensely. He or she enjoys being creative.”

  8. Quite a few of the parameters fit. I never saw myself as gifted. Got some type of IQ test as a child and accroding to my family apparently I scored really high because I could have skipped several grades and got put into these special programs. Never saw myself as smart but my folks did. Which meant that instead of being rewarded for excellence I was expected to do so.
    But chastised and punished for any minor screw ups. And sometimes the way I understood lessons was different then what they taught. And I could not explain how because it was just no way. Like some type of blast in my mind that went bang and there it is.

    Which pretty much made me scared of doing anything wrong. And that in turn made me create an alter personality that was a juvenile delinquent and pretty much did my best to break the rules in any and every way possible. Even to the point that I did many very dangerous things because I figured if I died I would not have to worry about not living up to standards. Unfortunately I sruvived and then tried suicide a couple of times.

    Change interests like most people change underwear. And yet some things just stick with me and I always question why the limits are not pushed. Like why certain advanced tech (Nikola Tesla) was not followed. A guy created a gravitic engine in the 1953 and him and his notes just disappeared. Thing is I hate working in any field because you always have to do it their way and the people who make the rules do not do the job daily. I’d rather do something simple like mow lawns or move furniture and make a ton of money so I can spend my free time doing different things that actually interest me.

    Then again since I have never done anything noteworthy or wrold changing, I’m just an average human. Or maybe less than human. I may have some of the issues but I am in no way gifted.

    • I understand exactly what your saying, and agree 100%. Ive never heard of anyone else story so similar to my own, just know that i sympathize with you…Those dumbasses in charge just need to leave it up to the smarties haha.

      • The Lizard King, (it is me U.N. Owen because I lost my last account info).
        At least someone understands. And that for me is a gift greater than anything.
        Thank you for that my friend.

  9. I just wanted to say ‘thank you’. I am in my 40ies now and was never considered intelligent by my family, only strange, and I someone to be ashamed of. My family still treats me as a stupid person, unable to think rationally or figure out that 2 + 2 is 4. It hurts and my life has not evolved like most people’s lives. It died, in many ways, when I was little. When you describe the traits of the intelligent, I feel a sigh of relief. Finally someone understands, that I have no ill intent because I prefer idealism and truth to lies, and I am not dumb because I react quickly and differently than expected. After I started googling the behavior of the high IQ people, I felt a great relief. Of course, if I tell my family this, dad and siblings, they will scoff and shake their heads, as usual, but it helps *me*. And for that, I thank you.

    • I have been thinking that my son is gifted and not adhd. I am glad I read your comment because it really shows me how important it is that I do all I can to support his giftedness and not let his school bully me into medicating him.

  10. I have read this site with mostly fondness and some disdain. I am one of the retarded lifers referred to as the ‘gifted’. I suffered an imitation childhood do to my father recognizing my ‘gifts’. These include an above average IQ, high creativity which is accompanied by tagalong foibles,low latent ihibition, and a protective pattern of selective memory.I do dabble in some forms of artistic venture (if you consider writing tv commercials artistic). However,I do tire quickly of any repitition that forms. Originality begets conformity. When it does I walk away. The parameters of my mind can at times expand at will to infinite directions that somehow loop back to form the original thought with all bases covered. To remember what has been and somehow see what is,and what will be, without leaving the subject for one second, can be maddening! No one understands how a thought can become a reality and a solution complete with future problems in the span of a few seconds. I become doubted immediately,even doubting myself at times. One of the problems is that when I have let someone in on my ‘abilities’ I feel they have made me their ‘science project’ ‘lab rat’ ‘ source of inquisitive conversations with single-minded,one demensional individuals who have written books on the subject.’ This is disheartening. I feel belittled and will introvert myself to protection mode. In this state I form walls that are difficult to break through. I hide myself among the ‘less gifted’ and take on their tendencies so as not to be ‘displayed’. My goal in life is actually very simple. To somehow be accepted as I am without having to hide. I am tired of creating a me that doesn’t exist just so I can ‘fit in’.

  11. Wow-I just found this web site and the timimg is spot on. I have MS and had a bizarre childhood; I thought I was broken–I was tested for cognitive problems and found out I am “very bright-98th percentile”. After searching for more information, I’ve found many of my issues aren’t pathology-I’m just smart and no-one understood this about me. I wish I was told about this years ago. My journey would have been much easier. I feel like I’m home instead of feeling like I’m from another planet. Thank you Eve!

  12. Eve, I’d like to ask you some questions about underachieving gifted children, but there is not sufficient space here for me to do so. Any way I can contact you with a more lengthy message?

  13. Hated One, welcome back. I wish you could read your words from another perspective. You wrote “I killed off my demonic impulses long ago,” and yet your name is “Hated One,” your email address has a satanic reference in it; you name-call habitually. You seem bitter and angry. You brag. You judge yourself to be “more christ-like […] than 99% of christians”!

    And, astrologically speaking, if you are only 27 years old, your Saturn return cannot have occurred yet. It occurs at 28-29 years (don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia, friend), most generally I’ve seen it in the 28th year, but some people have theirs in the 29th. It’s very uncommon to have it as early as 27 or as late as 30. A decent astrologer can tell you exactly when you will have yours. When it occurs, it will last roughly 2.5 years.

    I’ve several thoughts I’d like to share with you, but I also have doubts about your ability to receive anything from anyone else. So I’ll say goodbye, and good luck.

  14. I had to research the saturn reference-the only mythology I’ve gotten into is aka “religion.”

    When I mentioned my atheism, perhaps the reason wasn’t too clear: I don’t believe I get paradise after death…I’m going to take what I want out of life before I’m done with it, period-life has taken enough out of me as is-I’ve given all I, personally, am able to give to the less fortunate-I’m not mother theresa and never will be.

    BUT, if it makes you feel better- my saturn HAS come back around-I’m dealing with it now- and you’re bearing witness to the post-reflection conclusions and changes…the first 26 years of my life were a struggle to swim back out of hades-i’m just taking in my first deep breaths of fresh-filling my lungs-and loving every minute of it…i’ve never felt more my self…

    AND, again, to make you feel better- the “bleed em dry” reference was mostly rhetoric, exaggerated metaphor ;-} I’d never be Ken Lay and would probably be applauded for my business ethics (since I quit over half my jobs due to ethical/moral concerns)…

    As an atheist, I’m more christ-like with respect to my philosophy than 99% of christians…

    no matter what i do–you, personally, have absolutely nothing to worry about–i killed off my demonic impulses long ago.

    take care

  15. I actually bookmarked this page; but, you’re right, I wasn’t going to make a concerted effort to return, I just happened to need a bookmark way at the bottom and decided to take a detour here instead…I’ll start by saying that I was in a foul mood when I posted last time-so, it was colored…then, let’s revisit this gem:

    “It amuses me that in one paragraph you argue against EQ, and yet in your last paragraph you state that your EQ is “high enough” to “get away with” working on an MBA.”

    There’s no inconsistency here at all, your smug amusement is unwarranted. As far as I can tell, based on the nominal research I’ve done, the whole EQ concept, while touting itself as some grand discovery, still seems mostly fluff. I understand the fact that it’s supposed to measure, essentially, fundamentally, a person’s empathy-how well they understand and react to others’ emotional manifestations. This is not hard to do. It takes a modicum of intelligence to figure out why a person feels the way they feel in any given moment-the unfortunate fact remains that the biggest roadblock for the GRAND majority of people is a complete inability to get outside their own head and into the world.

    Modern psychology, in general, is a fraud-I’ve already wasted over a decade of my life studying it-no more. I’m an atheist and I don’t have any moral qualms about neglecting those who neglect their self, not any more. By nature, I simply lack the sympathy for anyone who destroys their self (my self included)…

    I do enjoy helping people-I do have a passion for analyzing and understanding many different problems and constructing creative, practical solutions. However- I refuse to allow my self to be kicked around and put down by a majority that neglects and abuses their most valuable commodities religiously.

    This has nothing to do with pessimism and everything to do with a calm, cold, rational acceptance of the historical and inevitable facts of human existence.

    Over 90% of all living species have gone extinct- it’s a foregone conclusion that humanity probably will too.

    I’m not abandoning the humanities because I’ve abandoned all hope for humanity- I still have plenty of hope- and, I’m still a hopeless romantic with a dash of optimism, if I wasn’t I would’ve blown my brains out long ago; the fact still remains, however, that if humanity expects to survive itself, and if I know my self as well as I think I do, my natural talents and abilities will be best applied in business settings, generally.

    I have plenty of empathy, what I lack is sympathy for those of us (again, my self included) who are the primary cause of our most dire problems. Fess up your fuck ups and fix it. I do have a passion for helping others, but I have too much sympathy for those who CANNOT help themselves, in other words, I know I couldn’t emotionally handle being a nurse to the invalid, my heart would break and I would cry like a twelve year old girl (I’d never get laid again)…I can emotionally handle telling an unreasonable entrepreneur that his actions are unreasonable, or commendable. I can emotionally handle rejection (desensitized, and indestructible ego)… I can’t emotionally handle ignorant authority figures.

    The ONLY choice for me to make, if I’m to Truly find self-fulfillment, is corporate execution and business development-I’m too aggressive by nature. I’ll show my compassion through donations. But, I cannot tolerate 99% of authority figures, so, the only solution is to BE the authority figure. And, so it will be. If bettering the worse half of humanity is a by-product of my efforts, then it is a pleasant unintended consequence, and we all die happy.

    take care

  16. Vunderkid, if you’ve seen the movie Mystery Men you’ll know what I mean when I say that your comment reminded me of the super-hero called The Sphinx. ;)

  17. Hated One, although I have my doubts about whether you’ll return or not, I’m going to respond as if you will return.

    First, I’ve edited out your personal attacks directed at another person, because (a) I can, seeing as it’s my blog, (b) I didn’t find your arguments compelling, as I think they were unfounded, and (c) because your arguments are good even without the attacks. I apologize if my editorial discretion offends you or diminishes your argument in your opinion.

    I agree with you that there is a big trend toward leveling the playing field in our culture because people want to pound the nail that sticks up. This has always been the case among human beings. For example, we recently started watching Big Brother (I know, I know… stupid) and, as usual, the people who stood out the most were singled out due to their differences. The road to survival on that stupid show is always refusing to stick out in any way until the bitter end. I think this is true in large groups in almost any setting; and even in small groups.

  18. Sacrificing the individual for the sake of the collective creates individuals who sacrifice the collective for the sake of self.

  19. Second thought:

    Highly intelligent people are also more readily ridiculed and demeaned for their mistakes, punished much more quickly and harshly:

    after all, if “we” are so “intelligent,” then we should know better.

    intelligent people become introverts precisely because most people suck.

    -for the record; so anyone reading understands the practical consequences- at one time I wanted to devote my talents, skills, and energy to the humanities (psychiatry/neuroscience)…but, in large part due to a long history of mistreatment at the hands of the “average” I’ve decided to do an about face in long term goals; humanity is doomed anyway, so I’m getting my MBA and sucking as many people dry as I possible can-and I’ve got a high enough EQ to get away with it.

    Take care peeps.

  20. Not even sure how to approach this-but, I feel compelled to toss my 2-cents in. Brief personal background: autodidact diagnosed with ADHD, passed MENSA test and refuse membership (I refuse ALL group membership at this point), 27 years old, male, raised by an extraordinarily emotionally unstable single mother who went through several emotionally and physically abusive relationships prior to settling down with a foundry pounding truck driver with the IQ of a fencepost (every post should have a Tom Waites reference)…For the most part, I’ve learned how to “get along” socially-I simply choose to be my self instead of catering to the majority.

    Most people are deeply insecure and self-absorbed to begin with, so, I place very little faith in ANY standardized test and absolutely ABHOR this wholly fallible and ineffective “normalization” revolution that NORMAL and AVERAGE people have FORCED all of humanity into. [edited out personal attack] This whole EQ hype will blow over once the AVERAGE psych student and professor learn to get over their selves. The emphasis on EQ lately is nothing but the manifestation of the majority’s mental envy. It’s a way for stupid people to feel some sense of accomplishment for being timid and weak by nature and a way for intelligent people to avoid developing stupid people by praising them for their sympathetic/empathetic natures (which are usually gotten at merely because they were treated like shit in the first place).

    The summary reads like this:

    Humanity has spent thousands of years treating its own kind like dogs-and, we still do, quite regularly and systematically-the end product…is human beings who act like dogs; they might nuzzle up to you now and then, try to lick your hand in order to gain your favor and affection, but, deep down, all they want is food, shelter, and protection-and, depending on how they were treated as a pup (or their DNA), they simply won’t hesitate to bite your hand off at the slightest sign that their well being is threatened. Only, with humans, precisely because most of us ARE emotionally unstable, we bite much more frequently.

    How is this genius doing? Despite scoring in the 99th percentile in both IQ and EQ testing- despite profound independent study in psychology, history, philosophy-despite being able to perform quite well in several sales occupations (retail/door to door/non-profit fundraising)-despite being one of the more well rounded geniuses you’d probably ever meet-I still struggle to stay gainfully employed and struggle to find employment regularly. It doesn’t have much of anything to do with any of the stereotypical, cliche, unfounded, absurd bullshit put forth by people [edited out personal attack]–and has everything to do with the fact that, despite all of our posturing as “humans,” humanity is still fully loaded with a majority that more closely resembles neanderthal animals.

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out:

    The brightest minds aren’t in business- the brightest minds aren’t in government-

    the brightest minds are so few and far between that they’re easily isolated and cast aside long before they’re allowed to compete with the majority of dullards. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that hiring a genius isn’t good for a dullard’s job security.

    Take care peeps.

  21. Caroline, this reminds me of the Jo Coudert quote I keep in the sidebar, “You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself.”

    It takes a lot of growth to be able to stand alone; but some are able to do that. Evidently a lot of people in politics find it more difficult. ;)

  22. Quite recent history has shown wonderful examples of groupthink.

    An example often trotted out in business management courses is the Bay of Pigs debacle – John F Kennedy’s decision to invade Cuba, using Cuban exiles to do this. Everyone in Kennedy’s inner circle agreed with the decision, and it was only afterwards when they were out of government that they admitted it was stupid, and had known this deep down at the time, but had suppressed their considerable doubts.

    But they agreed at the time because no-one wanted to be the odd-man out, and thus forfeit the friendship of their esteemed colleagues, or be cast out of the group.

    It’s only when people are expelled from the group that they tell the truth, blow the whistle. Think of John Dean in the Nixon administration, or Scott McClellan in the Bush administration. This is just for starters.

    Think of other disasters like the decisions to invade Vietnam, or Iraq. Or the possible forthcoming decision to bomb Iran. They are all examples of the dangers of groupthink.

    “……..If one has to compromise one’s thinking to be in the group, why are we in it? A higher or necessary purpose, probably……….?

    Often we have to be in the group because we have to be, like at work, or on juries. But once in the group, we form personal attachments to the others in it, and we don’t want to earn their enmity by disagreeing.

    But we are sometimes in groups because we choose to be in them. Feeling existentially alone and isolated, we yearn for the comfort of the group, to be in its loving embrace.

    To be thrown out is to be rejected, to be deprived of love. And who wants that?!!!

  23. Caroline, Your take on groupthink is interesting. I’ll think about that. I’ve not looked at it that way before.

    One question that comes up, though, is this: if the intelligence of the individual group members does not go down (or maybe “act” down), then what are they doing with it? Just getting along, as you suggested?

    If one has to compromise one’s thinking to be in the group, why are we in it? A higher or necessary purpose, probably?

  24. Thank you for also posting this poem in the comments section of my own site.

    It (the poem) indeed captures wonderfully and succinctly the differences between the two types of intelligences.

    As I look over your recent postings, I realize I must visit your site more often than I’ve been doing, for there’s so much of interest to me which I must catch up on.

    “…….Jung said that the more people were in a group, the lower the intelligence of the group fell……….”.

    I think this is because we, all of us, when in a group, censure our thoughts and expressions in order to keep in with the rest of the group.

    We don’t want to disagree too vehemently, because if we do, we run the high risk of being cast out.

    Hence “groupthink”.

    So I don’t think the intelligence of the individual members of the group becomes less. It’s that the individual members behave less intelligently when in the group, than when outside it.

  25. Caroline, I’ve been reading Rumi (yes, now I’m reduced–or enlarged–to slow-going poetry reading and digesting), and this poem reminded me of our discussion:

    Two Kinds of Intelligence
    There are two kinds of intelligence: One acquired,
    as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
    from books and from what the teacher says,
    collecting information from the traditional sciences
    as well as from the new sciences.

    With such intelligence you rise in the world.
    You get ranked ahead or behind others
    in regard to your competence in retaining
    information. You stroll with this intelligence
    in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
    marks on your preserving tablets.

    There is another kind of tablet, one
    already completed and preserved inside you.
    A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
    in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
    does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,
    and it doesn’t move from outside to inside
    through the conduits of plumbing-learning.

    This second knowing is a fountainhead
    from within you, moving out.

    (Mathnawi IV:1960-1968)

  26. Caroline, I don’t believe it’s as simple as people with high IQ running things. There may or may not be empirical evidence to support your assumption; I am not sure that people with IQs in the top 2% of the population are, in fact, CEOs, too.

    Jung said that the more people were in a group, the lower the intelligence of the group fell. I think this is true; therefore, even a bright person running a big group is going to become more and more stupid. Groups do not improve the person.

    To answer your question, IQ tests do not measure emotional intelligence. And they do measure more than cleverness. They measure a person’s ability to solve problems, a person’s quickness at discovering patterns, memory, etc. They do show a lot; but they do not indicate what sort of a leader a person will be, or whether a person is moral or socially adept or fun to be with, naturally.

  27. “……..You probably already know that there are varieties of intelligence, including intelligence that can’t be measured by a standardized IQ test…….”.

    I’ve long thought this, and opine that “intelligence” can’t be caught in one basket, so to speak, and that there are many difference kinds of intelligence.

    So we are, all of us, (I think) individually, up there (high) in some types of “intelligence” and down there (low) in other types of “intelligence”.

    I’m not a psychologist, and so am not familiar with what is actually measured in intelligence tests today (do they include EQ?)

    But from my memories of having taken intelligence tests when at high school, they (the intelligence tests) seemed to emphasize quickness, in particularly quickness in solving problems, with everything else marginalized.

    In a previous blog, which I kept in another incarnation, I wrote a piece about “intelligence”, and intelligence tests, based on my own experience of them, and on my observations of supposedly intelligent people in high places, particularly in the highest echelons of government, saying and doing such asinine and unintelligent things.

    Here, for what it’s worth, is a snippet of what I wrote:

    “……..There has been much discussion over I don’t know how many years, about whether IQ tests actually measure ‘intelligence’ – a word with much emotional baggage. But might it not be more accurate to say that IQ tests measure ‘cleverness’ rather than ‘intelligence'; so if you do well on an IQ test, you are ‘clever’ rather than ‘intelligent’?

    Looking at the dictionary, I see the two words have somewhat similar definitions, but I think to be ‘intelligent’ implies something deeper, more profound than being ‘clever’ – a word implying something more trivial.

    So we speak condescendingly of someone being a ‘clever fellow’, or, if they are carrying cleverness to an absurd length, of being ‘too clever by half’.

    Since IQ tests emphasize quickness and the solving of puzzles, I believe it would be more accurate to say they measure ‘cleverness’.

    So why not, then, change the name of the ‘IQ test’ to the ‘CQ (cleverness quotient) test’? It would eliminate so much confusion and angry debate.

    Someone having a low or merely average ‘CQ’, could still be respected because this would say nothing about their sagacity, emotional maturity, ability to look at issues deeply, or to take the long view, for these attributes have nothing to do with quickness or speed, which are so prized by the Businessman, who is the one who shapes the values of our modern society, of which the ‘IQ test’ is a part and parcel.

    Meanwhile we will continue to worship the traditional IQ test, from which emerge the clever ones, the Smart-Alecks, the Hot-Shots, who will continue to run our governments and corporations.

    So we shouldn’t be surprised when we see rampant stupidity as the normal state of affairs in all the corridors of power – no matter where in the world they are – for they are the domain of the clever and the quick, the Smart-Alecks and the Hot-Shots.

    It is THEY – not the wise, nor the thoughtful, nor the sensitive, nor the emotionally-mature, nor the meek – who have inherited the earth.

    It is THEY who propel us to our extinction……..”

    • “Businessman, who is the one who shapes the values of our modern society,…”

      I had the feeling that this is true…

      I truly despise the characteristics that make up a “businessman”, when you cut away all the fast talk and suave appearance all that’s left is shallowness and stupidity, and what really gets me is how Everyone and their dog wants to act just like them, keepin’ up with the joneses…
      Shallow and stupid people… man, they make me feel smart! Sorry, that just makes me angrier than all hell.

      • Maybe I shouldn’t speak in generalities…

        There is an attitude of superiority that comes along with the shallow way of our society this makes me very angry. It’s very evident when you hit the road… all the inconsiderate people come out to play, and that’s not too economical or safe!!

  28. Caroline, you make some good observations. You probably already know that there are varieties of intelligence, including intelligence that can’t be measured by a standardized IQ test. Psychologists have been developing finer tools, but even now, the most commonly used tests measure only certain types of intelligence. I caution people never to assume they are not gifted just because their achievement test score didn’t place them in the top 2% on a standardized test. Albert Einstein was gifted but did not perform well on such tests or in school. This is true of many geniuses. So, genius is as genius does.

    It’s also a developmental trait to tire of cliche type relationships and people after a certain point, if a person is growing and developing. Many do not, and so are satisfied with the mundane their entire lives. Others want more, and so grow bored with the status quo. This may be a different type of development of consciousness–also not measurable on an IQ test.

    Then there’s the problem you mention, which is professionals who are highly educated who are dullards and nincompoops outside their professions. They are not socially intelligent or gifted at all. Therefore, obviously there are varieties of giftedness. Not everyone is gifted (I do not subscribe to the “everyone is gifted” school, or the “everyone’s a winner” school either); but I think a lot of different types of giftedness are overlooked.

  29. Unfortunatly choices made by the parents of gifted children often determine how that child will develop. I feel like a feather on the surface of the ocean.

  30. “…….I’m going through a bit of a crisis in my third half of life, and part of the crisis is that I can’t stand being around very many normal people. I thought I might solve my problem by trying to get more abnormal people in my life………..”.

    I can ABSOLUTELY relate to that!!!

    But anyone reading your summation of Mensa’s findings should read it with caution, since I, who definitely am NOT gifted, have many of the characteristics described in your posting!!!

    I wonder, though, whether being “gifted” is always synonymous with being “intelligent”, in the sense of having a very high IQ.

    I believe that to be accepted into law school, or medical school, you have to have a very high IQ, and therefore be very “intelligent”.

    But I have come across many lawyers and many doctors, who, while they may be excellent at finding loopholes in the law, or diagnosing a disease, would seem to be stupid, insensitive, intellectually incurious, and altogether unintelligent in the areas of life outside their professions.

  31. thank you…that was the idea, to feel refreshed by a thought. Am happy the name did strike a chord.
    Count me a fan of “The 3rd Eva”…a squeeze of tangy lemon for you.

  32. David, interesting perspective. It certainly is a possible explanation for the lack of artists in this particular study. Plenty of bright people I know think–no, know!–that they are right all the time. Even when they’re wrong; so yes, I think having to deal with criticism and rejection well would be required.

    Thanks for visiting. Oh–and I’ll bet someone doing a study somewhere could support your theory! ;)

  33. Hmmmmm. Interesting.

    I have an entirely unsupportable theory about why the “gifted” (God, I hate that word) test group had no members who were professional artists.

    Being a successful professional artist requires a huge and healthy ego, or at the very least, an ability to deal with continual criticism and rejection. Most people I know who are exceptionally intelligent do not have either of those qualities, thanks to having been persecuted and ostracized as children.

    Therefore, while I think that all highly intelligent people are also creative, I think they are far more likely to be “closet” creatives, and to pursue art as an avocation rather than as a profession.

  34. Polemique, thank you for your comments. I am just reporting what I read in the Mensa research journal; you’ll have to read the article and disagree with the researchers.

    I think the author/researchers were on to something. Most of us have probably met an intelligent person who just didn’t fit in, and couldn’t seem to fit in. It’s a problem for them in school and in the workplace. I was glad to read that people were paying attention to this as a problem, even if it’s not a problem for most gifted people.

    I do agree with you that many intelligent folk also have high emotional intelligence. One would think that the two would go together; in my own life they have, and in the life of the other high IQ folks I know, it’s worked that way also. So I basically agree with you. However, stereotypes exist because people who fit them exist–that’s what I think.

    • I was always under the impression from what I observed of other students throughout my school years, was that all the “intelligent” students were the popular ones, I don’t know if this is just a college-academic and arts/football town thing. This made me feel even more stupid. I couldn’t figure out how to be normal and not weird.
      My husband upset me a little yesterday, he said he is weird. I never thought so, people like him. He is fun and funny, tells great stories too.

  35. I found your article interesting, but I disagree with a few points: High emotional intelligence (high EQ) is closely linked with a high IQ; many children who are highly gifted have an extraordinary sense for justice and integrate quite well into school dynamics. I believe that it is predominantly boys who can behave in an aggressive manner when they are bored because they aren’t enough intellectually challenged and many of the characteristics you described depict underachievers and not the gifted “norm.” Same with introversion. Many of these claims reinforce the stereotype from the “Tate ‘Wunderkind”‘ movie, where the main character – a little boy – was so gifted that he couldn’t make any friends; of course, he looked pale and sad throughout the movie until he made friend with the other ubersmart outcasts.

  36. Alida, I home schooled our bright but odd kids until they were old enough to hold their own, which age was different depending on the child. I am quite sure that my now 16-year-old would have been diagnosed as having ADHD, though he did not and does not have ADHD, because there is not an acceptable gifted and talented program in our local schools. Finally, some good private schools opened up in our community and he did very well in 9th grade. This coming year he’ll be attending 10th grade in a traditional, private, all-day school (Catholic, actually) and my husband and I are thrilled for him. Sitting in the orientation meetings and hearing the other parents and students speak about the school nearly made us cry with relief.

    I’m glad we waited; it was worth it. It has given our kids what they needed. I take it a year at a time and watch them carefully to see that their actual selves are being fed, along with the rest.

    Hopefully you’ll find ways that work for your kids according to their needs and talents, etc. Putting one’s child into someone else’s hands for five or six hours a day is a big decision that others seem to make easily. I understand why, but it still makes me feel so odd sometimes.

    About everyone being on something… yes, that’s the way of psychiatry and psychotropic medication these days. Some day I will write myself exhausted about what I really think about that, but will have to wait until I’m finished with whatever I’m writing about now. Suffice to say I believe you and don’t want my kids to join the ranks of the zombified.

    • I am excited to say that I will be joining the homeschooling group this year! I never thought I would want to because I am so impatient… But the freedom is so enticing. I am angry at the govt. school system for treating me like they literally own me and my son and I want out!! So, I’m getting out. He did have a very productive school year last year and I’m very proud of him. God gave him some wonderful teachers that kept him working and gave him so much encouragement.

      I have been on adderal and also on a new one can’t remember the name. I really liked them but, seeing that they would eventually make me look older than I am and mess with my teeth and other things I quit taking it. Couldn’t sleep anyway. I know I’ll never put my son on those drugs. I wasn’t zombified and it gave me energy to get things done and helped me focus. I was also taking an antidepressant that is also used for smoking cessation Welbutrin, it gets rid of all cravings ( I really really like it), raised my libido which I haven’t had much of one since I got married (depression maybe?), but along with those and more focus, I lost my spontaninaity (sp. forgot), sense of humor and creativity. I wonder if that stuff just suppresses your right brain so your left brain takes over?

    • So, how did your son do at the private school? My son started kindergarten this year, I am convinced that he is gifted, the school and catholic family services are telling me adhd, without doing any kind of tests or ruling out anything else. After reading blogs and articles like this, I know I have to do everything I can to allow him to be himself. I thank you for sharing this information.

  37. This has been one of my biggest fears about putting Luke in school. He is social and well-adapted but he is very sensitive and into things that are way beyond what kids his age are into. He seems to have more in common with 9 and 10 year old. My fear is that he’ll be “diagnosed” with something or other. It’s big business here in Oregon. Everyone is on something. (Adults and children alike) I’m generalizing, but not exaggerating.

  38. Lemonytree, what a refreshing name you have! :)
    Welcome to Third Eve, and thank you for your enthusiasm. I’m intrigued by “lemonytree.” I’ve had a lemon tree before, and when you rubbed the leaf it smelled so good. There’s a happy memory in there.

    Anyway, yes it’s ironic, isn’t it, that gifted people often do not go into gifted professions. The humanities must be bursting at the seams with geniuses doing what? Writing literary criticism? Teaching history? Having book clubs?


    • I Love that name Lemonytree!
      Me and my son were both a few years ago diagnosed with ADD. The man who gave me the test thought I was an interesting subject.
      Anyway, I grew up being told that I was “dumb as a doornail” and if I “had half a brain, you’d be dangerous”, basically Stupid. I was treated as stupid in public schools (put in LD lab) which held me back so badly in math I don’t wish to ever catch up. I was good in everything else but felt like a failure where it “counted”…
      Everything my parents wanted me to be interested in I hated.
      I’ve only recently within a few years ago, stopped feeling so stupid, but every once in a while it rears its ugly head and I feel worthless.
      My son has a hard time sitting still in class but all his teachers say he is so smart. He is just like me in school, can’t pay attention, doesn’t feel like the teacher talking about a lesson has anything to do with him and tunes out. I did a lot of that in school. My favourite thing to do was correct a teacher though, and I did any chance I could… esp. in highschool english. Funny, never could get a hang over those “trees”! what’s the point! If you can’t make a sentence in the first place what’s a tree going to do for you? I think I failed that part of class, I really don’t remember. I know I usually did well in english but when it came to my other studies, the tests were not my strong point. The end of the year test for 12th I did so bad I started crying. I remember these questions at the end of the test… they seem like questions an employer would ask, they seemed like “there is no wrong answer” so I answered them honestly… I think that was a big mistake.
      Don’t you have to have a good memory to be gifted? I’m pretty forgetful, always losing things, forgot what I ate already…
      I think I fit ADD really well, most everything on the check list fits me. I did really well on the patterns test which surprised the tester and I did really bad on the “what’s missing” test, where they show you a picture and anything could be missing. The first several pics I got were easy ie. a pitcher of tea, but then it got to a farm scene and I could not find it at all.
      I want to know what you think about it all.

  39. Helen, I think the sample was small and we could probably just agree that people with high IQs choose the arts as professions, too. In the particular group of people studied in the report, there just happened to be no artists.

    I’d hazard a guess that many of the poets you know are gifted, but are diagnosed as bipolar. Don’t even get me started on psychiatry and diagnosing people til we are blue in the face. I have some strong opinions based on much research I’ve read, just one more reason I no longer work as a therapist.

    But I’m rambling now. :)

  40. Hi Eve, I don’t know my IQ and don’t want to. I’m definitely an over-achiever. I have a son who’s gifted and another who’s not. The one who’s not is happier and more stable. My husband’s probably gifted but doesn’t know it.

    I was interested in the low number of gifted people who chose artistic professions. Many of the poets I know are bi-polar not gifted. I’m too well balanced to be a poet. It takes squinting in the fog to create the moment for me. My gifted son failed as a professional musician. Refused to learn to read music.

    • I never made it to pro. now that you say your son refused to learn what I assume is sheet music, I can completely understand why. I cannot do the math. I get the notes and I feel the rhythm but don’t ask me to do the math.

      • thats so interesting what you all are talking about regarding music career fruition.
        i Loved piano when i was young and quite good, but i would get So frustrated with the Time it took to learn to read the sheet music…i didnt understand why i couldnt just learn by ear (which i mostly did), but my teacher became quite good at testing me to see if i was playing by ear or by reading…
        i got frustrated and stopped after a few years.

  41. Wow! I saw myself in many of the characteristics listed. I have a daughter in the same boat. I’m actually glad to be able to help her understand herself and to develop coping strategies.

    I believe that I am among those who “. . .have grown up knowing they were intelligent, accepted it, and developed the social skills to get along with others.”

    The two things I have struggled with the most have been Perfectionism and Fear of Failure. It drove me to complete frustration and even to attempting suicide. I now have those two things under control, although they are often somewhere nearby, trying to sneak back in.

    I can see why some of us are thought to have Learning Disabilities. I used to score low in reading comprehension, although I understood what I read much better than any of my classmates. The problem was that I made so many associations and also interpreted the reading selections in various creative ways, that I often picked the “wrong” answer. I finally learned to play the game and pick the “right” answer.

  42. Very intresting …gifted people staying away from creative work. There seems to be a story here, either in analysis of gifted people or understanding creativity.
    Thank you Eva, for such a wonderful blog!!! Kudos.

  43. High sensitivity also has emotional aspects, which can make working in “typical” corporate environments difficult for many of us. As for the finding “no gifted people in the study group chose artistic professions” – that is very strange, and may be a result of the sample size, design of questions, criteria for “artistic profession” etc – since many gifted people do choose creative work.

    • Very intetesting about lack of creative types/professions. i am not of Mensa calibre, but above average. recently met a man who i consider a.’creative genius’ . i am an out-box-thinker, but his mind cayn go to dimensions i never dreamed of! Very contagious,which is wondetful! if anyone knows of info/books on thecreative type, pleaselet me know.

  44. I believe you! I guess I just always looked at it as just another clique, only this time it’s the smart people not the (necessarily) good-looking or cool or rich people. But like any other group, it depends on who’s there and how you click with them.

    Of course, if you really want abnormal people, just join the SCA :)

  45. Why do I value being a Mensa member? Hmm, good question. I recently renewed my membership, which had been lapsed for over 10 years (which puts “value” in some kind of perspective).

    My answer today is that I enjoy their publications, and I enjoy the local Mensans I’ve met. As I may have mentioned on the blog now and then (if I haven’t deleted them all), I’m going through a bit of a crisis in my third half of life, and part of the crisis is that I can’t stand being around very many normal people. I thought I might solve my problem by trying to get more abnormal people in my life.

    I have to admit this has helped. So, to answer the question, I value being a Mensa member because I meet so many abnormal people there. It feels like home.

    (Yes, I’m chuckling. But I’m also serious! Really!)

  46. I can relate to the part about being a Jack of All Trades, Master of None. A friend once told me I was like a wader, not a diver!

    I’d like to hear why you value being a Mensa member.

    • I’m like that too. Could never seriously become fully interested in any one subject that would get me a well paying career. I was a violinist for many years and had potential of being great (not famous great, but really good) I put all my effort and time into practicing. That’s all gone now, thanks to a private school with a non ambitious band (baby music shall we say…) I’m not saying we played out of tune, just the music would take you absolutely nowhere and I started playing Oboe as well. But, nothing ever came of any of it.
      Now I have my interests but they only extend to as far as what I want to know and leave out the useless (imo). Once it gets boring, I’m gone off to another subject.

      • Hi there, I just did the personality test which I discovered I was type INFP and following the various threads on the subject, pertaining to these personality types described, it’s seems subjective because as a child, I was found to be in the top 1% iq range. Even now, still meet the criteria & I think perpetuating the ideology that personality equates to intellect is a misguided fallacy, although I am not at all declaring the system is entirely inaccurate given the studies results, it holds some factual truths it’s disseminated in a very general way. But I am disagreeing with the labels that seem to identify intelligence and I do this in high regard to the history of my life and believe that there is more to it that this.

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