Xi and giftedness offer differing perspectives on uncommonly intelligent people.
Objectively or subjectively
Whether someone is, or isn’t gifted, is usually confirmed by an external authority, according to a specific norm (98th percentile score on a formally accredited IQ-test), and possibly other formal requirements. The basic aim is an objective diagnosis by an authorised professional.
Whether someone is, or isn’t extra intelligent, is usually concluded by the XIP him/herself, based on sensuous experience and acknowledgement of three or more of the five characteristics of Xi. We are dealing here with the results of subjective experiences by the person under consideration.
Even when an independent professional concludes that someone is an XIP, it is still a subjective assessment, similarly to the situation when a layperson makes the claim.
To many people ‘objectively defined’ sounds more reliable than ‘based on a subjective experience’. But it is more practical to view them as two sides of the same coin. Depending on a situation one view is more efficient than the other or vice versa.
In some case, like in a sports game, one might prefer an objective norm or independent observation to assess the differences in abilities between two people in a reliable way.
But one can only personally experience the significance of one’s own giftedness in daily life, or the usability of it, or the (lack of) attractiveness.
From the outside or the inside
The essential difference between a Xi and a giftedness approach can also be illustrated by other aspects:
The perspective to assess giftedness is like looking closely at someone from the outside: You measure, describe or evaluate your observations of that person. You are poised to observe a certain level of performance.
It is comparable to making someone’s passport photograph.
The acknowledgement of Xi is like becoming aware of what you are experiencing on the inside: What is it like to be you? Do three or more of the typical character traits describe something meaningful to you? What do you want to show the world about yourself?
It is comparable to an invitation to make a self-portrait.
High or extra
High and low are emotionally associated with being safe or unsafe. A statement about your high intelligence is unintentionally also a statement about the relative unsafe position of your environment. That may lead to the typical statements like: “If you are so smart, then why…..?” The intention is to demonstrate that your intelligence is not that high, and therefore, your environment is less inferior or unsafe than you suggested.
Extra is a far more neutral description of the “overdose” of intellect that XIPs discerns from non-XIPs. In that respect it creates less tension than the word giftedness.
Performance or mastery
For many people giftedness is shown through excellent performance. And if there is none, why would there be giftedness? Someone with a very high score on an IQ-test has shown a literally excellent performance, but these results alone do not suffice to be labeled gifted. Broadly speaking, the spotlight is on visible, measurable performance.
Some people become extra motivated when benchmarks are set. Others become paralysed by the thought of not meeting those high expectations.
Acknowledging one’s Xi is basically a personal matter: you do not need to prove it to others by performing excellently. While being uncommon intense, complex and driven (just like the gifted of course), you may become intrinsically motivated to reach a certain level of mastery in the activities you like to do. Understanding the process can be more rewarding than showing immediate results. Stretching your borders may lead to new levels of mastery.
The three practices are helpful to develop your potential for mastery.
To test or not to test IQ
People with very high IQ-scores are very intelligent, but people with not so high IQ-scores can be very intelligent too. Some people may find specific test conditions unsettling and score under those conditions considerably lower than was to be expected from their “usually very intelligent behaviour.” Additionally, given the existence of multiple intelligences only half of them are measured by an IQ-test.
Considering giftedness seems to be inevitably linked to various kinds of measurable performance, including IQ-testing. Therefore, if objective measurements are necessary, a test is a logical choice, while still being aware of its limitations.
When someone acknowledges being an XIP, testing is only rewarding if that XIP’s extra intelligences are “testable” and his/her emotional stability is well up to the testing circumstances.