What’s my Perspective?
While there are similarities in the approach both to the theme of giftedness and of extra intelligence (Xi), most differences can be related to the chosen perspective: Do you prefer objectively verifiable statements, even about yourself, or do you find it stimulating to use your own sensory experiences as a reference.
In this blog I will compare the effect of objectivity versus subjectivity when looking at and dealing with “unusually strong intelligence and intensity.”
I clarify how fundamentally different the consequences of this choice of perspective are, and why many XIPs (extra intelligent people) and gifted individuals can benefit from (also) trusting a subjective perspective.
Two practical examples
Congratulations, the test results clearly show that you are gifted.
– “Gosh, how should one tell this at work or at home, or should one actually not tell it at all?” “What level of IQ qualifies for giftedness?”
– “I have already noticed that my curiosity lasts longer and probes deeper, compared to most people at the office.” “Sometimes my own drive tires me out, but most often it’s just very exciting.”
We are talking about a very small group, about 2% of the population. The more extreme the intelligence, the lower the percentage of occurrence.
“An expert will know what she’s saying, but how do other people deal with this?” “Should I study at university now?” “Will my health insurance pay for my coaching?”
“I am beginning to realize how strongly I have felt loneliness all my life and I would love to meet more people with whom I can have a proper conversation.”
What perspective do you use?
The objective perspective refers to matters that occur outside you, or to information that is preferably quantifiable and uncoloured by personal observation or emotion. You can also look at yourself like a stranger would.
In the subjective perspective you perceive the world so to say from the inside out, using sensual experiences, feelings and emotions.
Not everyone is aware of his or her own preferred perspective. Plus in both groups there are people who can honestly not imagine that the other’s approach would be of equal value to their own preferred one when it comes to “serious business”.
In science, the objective perspective is the norm.
Did you expect, given the subtitle of this blog “What’s my perspective?” that Willem was going to explain his, or did you take it as an invitation to explore your own?
The objective assessment of giftedness
The subject of giftedness, both from academia and from education, usually resides in the “objectifying corner”. Preferably an expert should establish with objective tests whether someone is gifted or not.
Therefore many people begin their introduction to the subject from an objectifying perspective and that is not always helpful to realize that this discovery means that there are personal issues waiting to be felt and addressed. Especially if (un)consciously all kinds of emotions about your own “unknown gifted past” exist. Some people just do not start “owning” their giftedness to keep painful memories at bay.
Subjective information processing by Imaginal thinkers
The message: “You are gifted” does not readily fall into place with someone who innately prefers to process sensual information, for example, an Imaginal thinker.
Their acknowledgement and exploration of information occurs through their own subjective information processing, linked to the specific context in which events happen. They develop a sense of what a topic means to them by action and interaction.
This applies both to strong Visual-Spatial thinkers – Imaginal thinkers in the narrower sense – as to XIPs that mainly use other senses, including the intuitive variants thereof, or any combinations of senses.
Do you recognize the characteristics of Xi?
My introduction of Xi as “something you recognize in yourself,” appeals to people who (also) feel at home with the subjective perspective:
“I do not know whether I’m gifted, but I recognize myself in the characteristics of Xi. Finally I can understand all kinds of events in my life. I can now put my Xi into action.”
From objective to subjective
To be able to move in terms of perspective of “the subject of giftedness has crossed my path” through “what should I change in my career and family?” to “what are my personal feelings about this?” can be quite hard for some people.
But if your life as an XIP or Gifted person appears to be quite vibrant and emotionally charged, the subjective perspective is, in my opinion, the only viable approach to master what you want to do with it.
Carving out your own niche?
I find it plausible that many XIPs can only “carve out their niche” themselves:
Partly because those niches are so unusual, partly because the carving itself is a necessary process to discover the shape, location and personal value of the niche.
The motivation to start and continue the carving process can be increased by contact with like-minded peers, and by exchanging experiences with them. Often those subjective experiences cover events that created an emotional impression and contain personal discoveries how to deal with this.
I consider it practically inevitable that being unusually intelligent and intense occasionally leads to imbalance with one’s surroundings. That applies particularly to the so-called Independents, from time to time to the so-called Strivers, and probably not so often to the Superstars. (For explanation see this page).
Resilience, self-reflection and peers for growing together
When in a state of imbalance, it usually comes down to your level of resilience to regain your emotional balance and vitality. Of course it may also be helpful to reflect on your own situation, but from a mindful rather than an objective viewpoint: Remaining aware that you are (indeed) the subject here. What are you going to do? Will you keep waiting until your surroundings restore your balance, because the disruption was not your fault?
Moral support and shared experiences from peers will encourage you to take action, instead of waiting for others to do so.
Intergifted, a new platform
Over half a year ago a new international platform started: Intergifted, “a network hub of connection and support for gifted people”. A private Facebook group is attached to it. I’m part of the group of coaches within the network.
It’s fascinating how a warm and open atmosphere has arisen and is maintained in which experiences and knowledge from different countries and contexts are combined and shared.
I find it exciting to see how the potential of such a platform as Intergifted can contribute to the personal growth of the participants, and stimulate them to (dare to) express their unusual qualities.
In any case, the question “What’s my perspective?” is well represented and the answers are just as genuinely diverse as the audience happens to be.