The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide For Liberating Everyday Genius(tm) by Mary-elaine JacobsenThe Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide For Liberating Everyday Genius(tm) by Mary-elaine Jacobsen

The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide For Liberating Everyday Genius(tm)

byMary-elaine Jacobsen

Paperback | November 28, 2000

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Are you relentlessly curious and creative, always willing to rock the boat in order to get things done . . . extremely energetic and focused, yet constantly switching gears . . . intensely sensitive, able to intuit subtly charged situations and decipher others' feeling? If these traits sound familiar, then you may be an Everyday Genius--an ordinary person of unusual vision who breaks the mold and isn't afraid to push progress forward. . . .

As thought-provoking as Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence, psychologist Mary-Elaine Jacobsen's Gifted Adults draws on a wide range of groundbreaking research and her own clinical experience to show America's twenty million gifted adults how to identify and free their extraordinary potential. Gifted Adults presents the first practical tool for rating your Evolutionary Intelligence Quotient through an in-depth personality-type profile. Demystifying what it means to be a gifted adult, this book offers practical guidance for eliminating self-sabotage and underachievement, helping Everyday Geniuses and those who know, love, and work with them to understand and support the exceptional gifts inherent in these unique personality traits.
Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, PsyD, is a practicing psychologist and the director of Omega Point Resources for Talent Psychology and Gifted Development. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Title:The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide For Liberating Everyday Genius(tm)Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 8.2 × 5.45 × 0.84 inPublished:November 28, 2000Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345434927

ISBN - 13:9780345434920


Read from the Book

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings.                -Friedrich NietzscheTo look at her, you would never suspect that Ann was in the midst of acrisis. She sat in my office, composed and resplendent in a black Taharisuit. The only sign of any agitation was her habit of coiling and uncoiling her index finger around her strand of pearls. She looked much younger than forty-three. As my client now for nearly four months,she, at first, had been at a loss to explain rationally what brought her to me."No one ever expects a midlife crisis, Dr. Jacobsen. I certainly didn’t,"were the first words that Ann spoke to me.At one point in her legal career, Ann had been a dynamo, working on a teamthat won a major case involving suspected violations of interstatecommerce laws in the dairy industry. The lead attorney acknowledged thatit was her dogged efforts that helped dismantle the government’s case. Annseemed destined to make partner before she was thirty-five and wasguaranteed the pick of the firm’s highest-profile and potentially mostlucrative cases. Success hadn’t come without a price. Those who were passed over for promotion in favor of Ann attributed her meteoric rise to favoritismand not her razor-sharp analytical skills, her amazing intuition, and hertwenty-six-hour workdays. Once lauded as the consummate most valuableplayer, Ann was eventually plagued by not-so-quiet whispers about herchameleonlike ability to transform herself into whomever each partnerwanted her to be. Suddenly the qualities that had once been her mostvaluable assets felt like her greatest liabilities.Always someone who took every criticism to heart, Ann stopped trusting herintuition and her allies. Rather than ranging far and wide to offer colleagues help, anticipating their problems before they evenidentified them, she kept to a carefully circumscribed territory in order to restore her coworkers’ regard for her. Her boundless interest andenthusiasm, previously characterized by being the first to volunteer totackle the thorniest problem, now slid precipitously. She became aloof anddistant."After all the problems I created by being a standout, I decided that thebest way to get along was to go along and just joylessly grind my waythrough the day like everyone else. It seemed to be the only way that Icould make working there bearable. Everyone else seemed pleased about myso-called change, but I was miserable."A few months before Ann first came to see me, I’d walked into my office one afternoon and was startled to find a man standing at the win-dow tugging at one of the slats in the miniblinds and peering out at the street. He turned around and saw me. Then he took a couple of steps toward me, muttered, "How ya doing, Doc?" and stalked to thebookcase lining one wall. He pulled a book off the shelf and startedleafing through it."You must be John," I said as evenly as I could. "My clients usually waitin the reception area.""Well, I saw that other woman come out, so I came on in. You don’t mind,do you." There was little to suggest that John was asking a question.John soon put back the book and took down a few others, smiling ruefullyand shaking his head after examining a couple of their titles. EventuallyI came to understand that John was very nearly incapable of keeping stillfor longer than a few minutes at a time. In this instance, the classicstereotype of the patient lying on the couch was laughable. John was theepitome of the restless peripatetic at home and at the office.Early on, John described how he perceived others. "It’s like the rest ofthe world is moving along at twenty-four frames per second, normal filmspeed, but to me that’s slow motion. Even when somebody’s talking during ameeting, I swear I look at their mouths and it’s like I’m advancing thetape frame by frame on my VCR. So, okay, film and videotape are two verydifferent things, so maybe that’s not the best example, but maybe it’smore like the world’s a blender on stir and I’m on liquefy."John’s self-editing and criticism aside, his description is apt. Tosomeone like John, the rest of the world does seem as if it’s laggingbehind. From people walking too slowly on sidewalks and those counting outexact change in a supermarket checkout line to others arriving at asolution that seemed obvious to John minutes, days, or sometimes weeksbefore, everyone else always seemed to be moving at a glacial pace. A truemultitasker, John used to upset everyone at meetings because he couldmonitor the flow of the conversation, read a report, scan the agenda forthe next item of discussion, then jump ahead or interject at seeminglyinappropriate moments."I’m sick of being told to slow down. If I’m on an express train andthey’re on a local, why don’t they switch trains and get onto mine? It’stime for them to be responsible for catching up to me."Unfortunately for John, what others perceived as his uncooperativeattitude eventually caught up with him. While he hadn’t been fired fromhis job as a creative director at an advertising agency, he’d beenessentially stripped of all authority. He’d been asked to stay on in aconsulting capacity but was given little real work to do. John clearlysensed what was about to happen to him, but that only made him dig in hisheels more deeply on some issues and veer recklessly from one moreoutlandish idea to the next, wielding his considerable wit like a saber.He’d gone from being a visionary Renaissance man of the company to personanon grata in a matter of months."It wouldn’t bother me so much, but before I came along most of themthought that HTML was what you saw when some of the letters burned out ina neon hotel or motel sign. I got us a jump start into Web advertising,and now everyone is reaping the benefits and claiming they were themasterminds behind the whole thing. It’s like working with a bunch of AlGores claiming they were the ones who helped develop the World Wide Web.Of course, everybody knows that Dan Quayle was the one who invented thespell checker."Giftedness DeniedWhile John and Ann couldn’t have been more different in certain respects,they do have much in common. They are both gifted adults standing poisedat a crossroads. And they both initially recoiled at my suggestion thatthey were gifted.Like John and Ann, when many of us hear the word gifted we almost always think two things: (1) "Only schoolchildren are gifted" and(2) "Since I’m not a child, I can’t be gifted." These automatic responsesare understandable given what most of us have been told about brightpeople. But most of what we have been told is radically incorrect andenormously incomplete.Most of us think we know what giftedness is, but we’re unable to describeit or define it accurately. Part of the reason for that is that we live ina culture that emphasizes products over process. We can see what giftedpeople produce, but we can’t see the internal systems and operations thatproduced those products. In the previous sentence, even I had to resort tousing words more suited to something manufactured mechanically than to howthe brain really functions. While most people in society would accept thedefinition that giftedness is as giftedness does, it is not adequate forthe purposes of this book.Most definitions of giftedness include these components: ¸         Initially having and using natural abilities without benefit of formaltraining ¸         Rapid learning ¸         Creative and productive thinking ¸         High academic achievement ¸         Superior proficiency in one or more domains (e.g., mathematics,performing arts, leadership)As you can see, the emphasis is on the cognitive components of giftedness.While the cognitive components are certainly important to consider indiscussing giftedness, too often there is a piece missing. Giftedness isnot merely as giftedness does or as giftedness thinks. Instead, giftednessis as it thinks as well as feels, senses, perceives, and does.The Gifted Adult explores the psychology and personality of giftedadults-the most underidentified group of potential achievers in oursociety. Regrettably, too often in our society those who would mostreadily be identified as "smart" are most at odds with making theirintelli-gence work for them. Quite often it works against gifted adults,preventing them from producing the kind of products that traditionally arethe markers of giftedness. One possible explanation for this discrepancyis that we place a great deal of emphasis on educating gifted children. We understand that gifted children operate differently from those in themainstream. As a result, we try to accommodate these differences amongchildren by providing them with special programs and enrichmentactivities. However, even in the best school districts these programs areoften inadequate and make the fundamental mistake of using only standardmeasures such as IQ as a basis for admission.Programs for the talented and gifted are a relatively recent phenomenon.As a mother of three very different gifted children, as a former educatorand advocate for gifted education, I can attest to the benefits anddeficits of these programs. However, despite the varying quality of suchprograms and their methods of identifying students, they stand head andshoulders above earlier efforts to educate gifted children, sincespecialized programs simply did not exist. From firsthand experience, Iknow that many gifted "programs" consisted primarily of removing the"smart" kids from the classroom and giving them busywork or enlistingtheir aid as tutors for the "slow" kids.If we accept the notion that some children are gifted, then we have toaccount for what happens to these children when they grow up. After all,it’s not as though these former children slough off their giftedness likediscarded skin at the age of sixteen or eighteen or twenty-one. Giftedchildren do grow up, and they become gifted adults. It seems like anobvious comment to make, yet little is written about giftedness and how itapplies to adults. So instead of asking if gifted adults exist, we mightbe better served by asking questions like the following: How many giftedadults are there? What are they doing with their lives? What do we knowabout how they function in society? What do they have to do to besuccessful and fully use their abilities? These are all importantquestions, and it is this initial line of inquiry that led me to morefully investigate the concept of giftedness as it applies to adults.Interestingly enough, my answer to the first question about the number ofgifted adults in this country demands that we radically revise ourthinking about the very nature of giftedness. Today there are at leasttwenty million Americans who would be classified as gifted adults. Thatnumber dwarfs the estimated three million gifted children in our schools.So where do these gifted adults come from? They can be found in every agebracket, culture, gender, and socioeconomic stratum across the nation."They" are many of "us." Given these statistics, quite a number of peopleyou know are gifted adults, and perhaps even you are a member of thisnot-so-exclusive group. Despite our John- and Ann-like claims to the contrary, it is not the proverbial others who are truly gifted. We who are what I term the Everyday Geniuses in our society comprise a group that together would be equal to the size of the entire population of New York State!So-called baby boomers comprise the largest portion of the unidentifiedgifted adult population. The baby boom was a sharp rise in the birth ratethat began after World War II and lasted for nearly twenty years. Usingthe crudest of statistical analyses, it is clear that with more childrenbeing born, the greater the number of potentially gifted children therewould be in that boom. Since there were no programs to accommodate theirneeds, many of these youngsters spent their formative years adrift, agreat number of them choosing to swim against the tide of societalexpectation. Furthermore, when you consider that the bulk of the babyboomer generation is presently moving into, or has already moved into,midlife, the time at which many of these identity issues resurface, youcan understand why I felt so compelled to write this book. Since 1991,when I began specializing in counseling gifted adults, I have becomeincreasingly aware that a kind of cascade effect has been created by thisgroup’s collective discontent. While we are no longer taking overadministration buildings or taking to the streets in protest, we areexperiencing a similar kind of discomfort with maintaining our individualand collective status quo. For many of us, life has become a kind of danceto avoid the vaguely déjà vu-like feelings from early adulthood that kepttangling our feet and sent us tripping along widely varied paths.The Gifted AdultLike Ann and John, the individuals who come into my office have a vagueawareness that the root of their problems is far deeper than surfacesymptoms. They realize they are intense, complex, and driven, but theyhave been taught that their strong personalities are perceived asexcessive, too different from the norm, and consequently wrong. In aculture that often equates different with wrong, it’s inevitable thatgifted adults point a critical finger toward themselves as the source oftheir discontent: Why can’t I just be like everybody else? Shouldn’t Ihave outgrown this kind of identity crisis by now? Why can’t I shake thisnagging sense of urgency? Will I ever feel satisfied? What’s wrong withme? When I hear my clients say these things to me, what immediatelybecomes obvious is that they are in dire need of accurate informationabout themselves. Frequently, the very traits that make an adult giftedare the same traits that society demands they suppress. This is a bookabout normalizing giftedness. My purpose is to show gifted adults how theycan bring their gifts to fruition by fully expressing the very qualitiesthat are the foundation of their personality.Copyright© 2000 by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, Psy.D.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


1. Beyond Giftedness: Everyday Genius Defined        
Giftedness Denied                         
The Gifted Adult                                
The Source of Giftedness                        
The Concept of Giftedness Expanded        
The Five Facets of Freedom                

2. Gifted? Not Me                        
We Love Your Unique Products. Just Stop Being So Different!                
Gifted? Not Me: Unidentified Everyday Genius
Telltale Signs of Everyday Genius
Facing the Truth about Ourselves
Why Must I Know This about Myself?
How Can I Know This about Myself
Misconceptions about Giftedness

3. The Everyday Genius: Lost and Found
The Ugly Duckling
When a Duck is Not a Duck
Seeing the Swan of Everyday Genius
The Everyday Genius Brought to Light
The Ugly Duckling Syndrome
Know Thyself or Lose Thyself
How Did the Swan Get Lost?

4. Lost In The IQ Game
What's Smart and What Is Not?
What is IQ, Really?
Beyond Outdated IQ
The Unexpected Gifted Adult
Mistaken Identities by the Millions
The Everyday Genius Next Door

5. Standing What You "Know" on Its Head
The Everyday Genius Mind: The Same and Different
How "Different" Becomes "Wrong"
Gifted Needs
The Destiny Question: Disown or Deliver?
Are There Others Like Me? And Are They Normal?
Rebel, Nerd, or Marvel?
Reframing Genius


6. Evolutionary Intelligence: The Next Step
Retesting the Waters of Intelligence
What's Evolution Got to Do with It?
The EvI Formula

7. The Evolutionary Intelligence Profile
About the EvI Profile
What the EvI Score Tells You
Exploring Your EvIQ Score
Evolutionary Intelligence in Real Life
It Only Looks Revolutionary After the Fact


8. Gifted or Cursed?
Correcting the "Too-Too" Misdiagnosis
Déjà vu
Gifted or Cursed? My Own Beginnings
Five Basic Truths About Giftedness
A Bittersweet Experience
The Essentials of Self-Discovery
The Real Enemy—Fitting In
The Ten Criticisms

9. Confronting the First Five Criticisms
Rewriting Personal History
Criticism #10: "Why Don't You Slow Down?"
Criticism #9: "You Worry About Everything!"
Criticism #8: "Can't You Just Stick with One Thing?"
Criticism #7: "You're So Sensitive and Dramatic!"
Criticism #6: "You Have to Do Everything the Hard Way!"

10. Getting Free from the Top Five Criticisms
Criticism #5: "You're So Demanding!"
Criticism #4: "Can't You Ever be Satisfied?"
Criticism #3: "You're So Driven!"
Criticism #2: "Where Do You Get Those Wild Ideas?"
Criticism #1: "Who Do You Think You Are?"

11. Meeting the False Self
Meeting the False Self
Five Blocks That Enslave the Self and Eclipse the Soul
Indulging the False Self
Denying Gifts and Talents
Getting Over Giftedness Guilt
The "Safe Life"
Making Friends with Risk
Seeking Approval
Breaking the Approval-Seeking Habit
Unlearning Impostorism

12. How Assets Can Become Liabilities
The Shadow Side of Everyday Genius: Disorderly Conduct
Wounds and Reactions
Looking Back to Move Forward
Everyday Genius—The Second Time Around
The "Teachable Moment"
The Reactivity Pendulum
The Unbecoming Extremes

13. The Big Three Differences: Intensity, Complexity, and Drive
Managing the Flow: No Trickles, No Torrents
Charting an Evolutionary Course
Intensity: Quantitatively Different
Complexity: Qualitatively Different
Drive: Motivationally Different

14. Self-Mastery: Managing Intensity, Complexity, and Drive
The Drive to Perfect Versus Perfectionism
Ending the PerfectionismProcrastination Seesaw: Ready, Set, Go!
Managing Feeling
Impulse Management
Reviving Your Natural Optimism
Smarter than Ever: Becoming Superconscious
From Stress Tolerance to Stress Management
The Life Balance Plan
Five Strokes of Genius for Being Successfully Different

15. The Everyday Genius in Relationships
Not Phony and Not Lonely
The Everyday Genius in Love
Partner with the Person, Not the Potential
The AcquiesceAccuse Pendulum
Listening for Love
Reflective Listening
Assertive Instead of Demanding
The Selfishness That Enhances Intimacy
Real Relating
Relationships in the Workplace: Working Together, Preserving Individuality

16. Self-Liberation
Evolutionary Moments: A Preview of Life's Coming Attractions
The Catalyzing Evolutionary Moment
True-Life Evolutionary Moments
The Rewards of Genius
Declaring a Personal Mission
Beyond I-ness
Ten Signs of Advanced Development
Reconciling the Nine Dilemmas
True Genius



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From Our Editors

Dr. Mary-Elaine Jacobsen offers this revolutionary work examining the psychology of America’s 20 million gifted adults. If you are persistently curious, creative, energetic and attentive, yet always changing direction; extremely sensitive, intuitive and understanding of others’ feelings, then you may be an Everyday Genius — a gifted adult with a unique, progressive and independent vision. Drawing on innovative research and clinical experience, The Gifted Adult demystifies the meaning of gifted adult, revealing how Everyday Geniuses can identify and liberate their remarkable potential. This practical guide features a detailed personality type profile for rating Everyday Genius, enhancing our understanding of the individual characteristics accompanying exceptional intelligence.

Editorial Reviews

--New York Daily News

"Takes readers beyond the myths and stereotypes about talent and genius . . . Everyone interested in maximizing intelligence, creativity, or productivity will want to read this book."
   Contributing editor, Gifted Child Quarterly