Gifted? Genius? What’s the difference?

Giftedness versus Genius

 

I’d like to spend a moment looking at this distinction– because it’s basic to how many people see themselves and evaluate their capabilities. But just for a moment, let’s assume that giftedness and genius really are the same thing. In that case, a person who jumps very quickly through the hoops of elementary school should continue jumping for all the years to come. But very often this isn’t what happens.

Do you know if you are gifted?

You see, our perception of giftedness and genius has often depended to some extent on the age of the person we’re considering. Sooner means smarter, in other words. The sooner a child learns to read, or learns to play the piano, or learns to do long division, the more genius-like that child is perceived to be.

There are a couple of things wrong with that perception. First, a number of the world’s all time great geniuses were at first thought to be anything but gifted.

Secondly, it’s by no means the rule that prodigious children turn out to be genius adults. To some extent, this may be because of the extra stresses that are placed on obvious prodigies. A lot is expected of them, and burnout is a frequent consequence. But it’s also possible that many seemingly gifted children aren’t really gifted — or, rather, they’re no more gifted than the boys and girls around them. The fact is, childhood is simply a time when there’s a lot of emphasis on measurement — and it’s also a time when things are pretty easy to measure. Standardized tests are a staple of American education, as they have been for almost fifty years. There are all kinds of instruments for measuring a child’s achievement levels, as well as their innate capacity to reason and to learn. And sometimes there’s a dramatic difference between those two measures. When that difference exists, the concept of the “underachieving child” comes into play. It’s the definition of a child who has unusual potential which is not showing itself in equally unusual achievement.

But at some point, we stop measuring people in the same way. If we kept it up, we would see some things that are obvious to the casual observer, but are rarely documented by the kind of standardized tests that we’re constantly giving to children. Even as casual observers, we see that other often people catch up to the gifteds and the prodigious. The child, who finished his math workbook before everyone else even started, did something impressive — but sooner or later everybody else finished their math workbooks too. Sooner or later, everybody learned to read and to spell. I might mention, in fact, that a huge and very profitable industry has grown up around the idea of giftedness in children, but there’s no such profit motive in the grown up world. Sure, we know there are highly talented adults who don’t access all of their capabilities. Or who don’t get the recognition they deserve. We know that Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, and that Emily Dickinson only published three poems in her lifetime. Still, there is no readily accepted concept of “underachieving gifted adult”….

We all are the sum of our choices, or are we?

Which is a pity, since I can almost guarantee that that’s exactly what you are. I can virtually assure you that you’re a latent genius…and once you understand what genius really means, I’m certain that you’ll come to agree with me.

The word genius happens to have a very rich heritage. Today we talk about people being geniuses, but in the past people had a genius. Instead of something that you were, genius was something that you possessed, or, that possessed you. For the Romans, the word genius referred to a guardian spirit that protected people throughout the journey of their lives. Every individual was born with a unique genius that looked after them, helped them out of difficulties, and inspired them at crucial moments. At someone’s birthday, the Romans celebrated the birthday of the genius as well as the person. They celebrated the mysterious power with the person as well as the physical human being.

Do you know someone who has been told they are gifted or a genius? What impact has that label been on their lives? Do you think we try and stick our children into certain “boxes” and ask them to be something they may not be?

Let us know what you think in the comment section of this blog. Your thoughts and experiences may serve to help others!

 

Do birthdays bring more knowledge or just another mark of time?

 

Dr. Tony Alessandra has authored 14 books translated into 17 foreign languages, recorded over 50 audio and video programs, and delivered over 2,000 keynote speeches since 1976.  This article has been adapted from Dr. Alessandra’s Nightingale-Conant audio CD series, Secrets of Ten Great Geniuses, available at http://www.alessandra.com/products.asp

 

Knowledge-Should Never End

DEPTH AND BREADTH OF KNOWLEDGE

Depth of knowledge refers to how well you know your products and services–your particular area of expertise. How well do you know your company, your industry, your competition, and your customers? You should make every effort to learn as much as possible about your particular area of expertise. Take advantage of any training programs that your company or industry may offer.  By increasing your depth of knowledge, you will command respect from your customers, co‑workers, and competition by projecting an image of intelligence and credibility.

Breadth of knowledge deals with your ability to converse with others in fields outside of your own particular area of expertise.  Read at least one newspaper a day and a minimum of one book a month.  If you can’t find the time to read, get books on audio and listen to them in your car.  Make it a goal to learn something new each week.

When you are willing and able to talk with people about topics that are of interest and importance to them, those people will feel much more comfortable being in your presence. In fact, people will go out of their way to talk with you. By increasing your breadth of knowledge, you will increase your circle of influence with people of varying backgrounds and education.

JOINING THE FORUM = KNOWLEDGE

We have a forum which can be found at  www.assessmentforum.com which can help provide a wealth of ongoing information to you in helping with your business and your own personal life. Join-It’s FREE and start talking with others, asking questions, giving your own input and if you need Dr. Tony to answer your direct question, that will happen, too!

See you at the new Forum!

How People Learn

Can you remember when you first learned how to drive a car? Before you learned how, you were in the Ignorance stage. You didn’t know how to drive the car and you didn’t even know why you didn’t know how to drive it.

When you first went out with an instructor to learn how to drive, you arrived at the Phase 2:Awareness. You still couldn’t drive, but because of your new awareness of the automobile and its parts, you were consciously aware of why you couldn’t drive. You may have felt overwhelmed by the tasks before you, but when these tasks were broken down one by one, they weren’t so awesome after all. They became attainable. Step by step, familiarity replaced fear.

With some additional practice and guidance, you were able to become competent in driving the car through recognition of what you had to do. However, you had to be consciously aware of what you were doing with all of the mechanical aspects of the car as well as with your body. You had to be consciously aware of turning on your blinker signals well before you executed a turn. You had to remember to monitor the traffic behind you in your rearview mirror. You kept both hands on the wheel and noted your car’s position relative to the centerline road divider. You were consciously aware of all of these things as you competently drove.

This third phase is the hardest stage – the one in which your people may want to give up. This is the Practice stage. People tend to feel uncomfortable when they goof, but this is an integral part of Phase 3. Human beings experience stress when they implement new behaviors, especially when they perform them imperfectly.

In Phase 3, you must realize that you’ll want to revert to the older, more comfortable behaviors, even if those behaviors are less productive. At this phase, you must realize it’s alright to make mistakes. In fact, it’s necessary so you can improve through practice, practice and more practice.

Returning to the car example, think of the last time that you drove. Were you consciously aware of all of the actions that I just mentioned above? Of course not! Most of us, after driving awhile, progress to a level of Habitual Performance. This is the level where we can do something well and don’t even have to think about the steps. They come “naturally” because they’ve been so well practiced that they’ve shifted to automatic pilot. This final stage, Phase 4, is when practice results in assimilation and habitual performance; where your productivity increases beyond its previous level and reaches a new and higher plateau.

This four-phase model for success can help you break out of the rut most of us dig for ourselves. By experiencing success and encouragement at each level, change can be exciting instead of intimidating. The bottom line is this: skills and attitudes will both improve by taking one step at a time.