Signs of Giftedness in Adulthood

If you’re wondering, as a gifted adult, what characterizes your giftedness, you may be interested in this article. It’s by Elyse Killoran (highlighting and point form formatting is mine, not that of the original author).

Take a look:

The vast majority of adults who were labeled *gifted* in childhood are unaware that their advanced development would continue to have an impact throughout their lives. Contrary to popular belief, giftedness is not characterized by high intelligence alone. Rather, gifted individuals experience early & exceptional psychological, spiritual, and intellectual development. As a result, gifted adults exhibit common personality traits and face similar challenges on the road to self-actualization.

Gifted adults demonstrate:

Qualitative differences in information processing — characterized by:

-          unique perception and awareness

-          a sense of humor and creativity outside the norm

-          questioning, searching for truth, intuitiveness

-          insightfulness

-          comfort with both divergent thinking (breaking things into components) and synergistic thinking (putting things together to form something new and different)

-          relentless curiosity and heightened creative drive

-          more process-oriented than product-oriented

-          hold divergent values compared to mainstream culture

High sensitivity — characterized by:

-          sensitivity to others often combined with a sense of personal alienation and loneliness

-          acute awareness of complexities and consequences

-          heightened responsivity to expectations of others

Intensity — characterized by:

-          high excitability

-          high energy level

-          emotional reactivity

-          high arousal of central nervous system

Multipotentiality — characterized by:

-          having capabilities in many areas and domains of talent

-          can move fluidly from one pursuit or interest to the next

-          have the ability to juggle many things at once

Idealism — characterized by:

-          striving for moral integrity

-          interest in social reform & service

-          extraordinarily high standards

-          low tolerance for mediocrity and frustration

Perfectionism — characterized by:

-          self-criticism

-          labeling themselves as “scattered”

-          having a lowered sense of entitlement to make mistakes

-          identifying easily with failure

-          thinking they are more likely to blame than others

-          difficulty taking credit for achievement and abilities (“imposter” phenomena)

Internal locus of control — characterized by feelings of:

-          being out of step and on a separate path

-          being “Other”

-          not fitting in

-          striving for Inner Authenticity may experience deep conflicts between needs for self-actualization and maintaining traditional relationships

Strong entelechy (from Greek for “having a goal”) — characterized by:

-          the need for self-determination, for self-actualization

-          leadership qualities

-          achievement-oriented

-          interested in non-traditional careers and professions.

Intense moral commitment — characterized by:

-          seeing injustice and doing something about it

-          willingness to stand up for one’s beliefs

-          outrage at moral breaches that the rest of the world seems to take for granted

Global view — characterized by:

-          respect for all human beings

-          a greater capacity for empathy

-          concern for others–especially children

-          sensitivity and warmth

As a gifted adult, it is important that you recognize your precious creativity and acknowledge that the full expression of your gifts would be a tremendous contribution to the society at large. It is essential that you develop a plan to channel and focus your abundance of physical, sensual, intellectual and emotional energy.

The above listing has been derived from the work of Douglas Eby, Mary Rocamora, Kathleen Noble and studies conducted by Linda Kreger Silverman of the Institute for the Study of Advanced Development.

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  • James Joiner Jr

    I guess ill be the first to post on this article. It was an excellent read. Thanks for the time and energy put.into it. Just today i started dwelling on some child behaviors of mine that led me to this site after hours of research. I dont like to categorize myself as gifted however this article really spoke to me on many levels. Ill continue to research and learn more about the life I live. Im going on 30 & have questioned what to do for the rest of my life in terms of career path. Its not an easy choice because everything i do I do it whole heartedly and suceed so everything seems like the right thing but ultimately leaves me feeling unfullilled