Gifted, Talented, Misunderstood: 10 Misconceptions

WhereIn her article “10 Misconceptions About Gifted Adults”, Jane Macondo sheds some light on why gifted people can be baffled…and baffling.

She writes:

Gifted adults are largely invisible. One of the reasons very few apply the term to themselves is due to the misconceptions about giftedness – in adulthood as well as childhood.

Many adults who have been part of the gifted community, either as children or as parents, still do not acknowledge themselves as gifted.

Adults who were identified as gifted children were often not provided information about what it means to be gifted and, as a result, think they have outgrown their ‘giftedness’.

For a variety of reasons, parents of gifted children also often fail to identify their own giftedness.

Of course, there are many gifted adults not affiliated with the gifted education system in anyway- adults who simply feel out of step and don’t know why but would never consider themselves gifted because of the misconceptions as to what a gifted adult is.

The misconceptions of being a gifted adult fall into two categories: superstar overachiever or incompetent misfit. The reality is more subtle than either of these stereotypes suggests.

While some gifted adults struggle and some achieve extraordinary things, most gifted adults are somewhere in the middle.

10 Misconceptions about Gifted Adults

All gifted people:

# Are ‘nerds’

# Are socially inept

# Were exceptional students

# Have attained a high level of formal education

# Are ‘book smart’

# Physically awkward

# Excel at everything uniformly; have evenly distributed abilities

# Have exceptional careers

# Are able to ‘get ahead’ because of their intelligence

# Cannot be successful with practical things because they’re ‘too intelligent’

A gifted adult may or may not conform to a stereotype but neither stereotype explains or defines what being a gifted adult is.

If you have rejected the idea you are a gifted adult based on any of the misconceptions above, I encourage you to reconsider but this time based on information, not popular misconceptions.

Have you been told you’re a perfectionist? Intense? Expect too much?

Are you the parent of a gifted and talented child? Did you attend a gifted program as a child?

Do you know you have a high IQ but never considered your IQ relative to how you feel and perceive?

Many gifted adults are not aware they are gifted due to lack of information, stigma and misconceptions about giftedness. If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you may be a gifted adult.

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Article Source: 10 Misconceptions About Gifted Adults, By Jane Macondo, Educational Studies Ph.D.,



Article: Finding the Gems in the Rough: the mission to identify and serve the unknowing gifted – by Sara Yamtich. “Over the decades, education and resources for gifted youth have made significant contributions to the education and mental health fields. Many thinkers have shed light on not just the intellectual differences of the gifted, but on the unique personality traits and social-emotional needs of this population. And it’s been hugely liberating and beneficial to many youth, who with enough support, are empowered to achieve greatness in their lives and the world. However, we know that giftedness doesn’t go away as we reach adulthood.”

girl-frustrated-at-blackboard-200Article: Brainpower and The Smart Gap – Psychologist Eric Maisel notes that every smart person experiences challenges, and lists fifteen of them that many people have in common, including: “Living in a society and a world that does more than disparage smartness, that actually silences smart people (because the power and privilege of leaders is undercut by smart people like you pointing out fraud, illogic, and injustice). Doing work day after day and year after year that fails to make real use of your brainpower…”

One of his related books: Why Smart People Hurt: A Guide for the Bright, the Sensitive, and the Creative.

His Academy for Optimal Living online course: Why Smart People Hurt.

Article list: High Ability – gifted/talented


Giftedness characteristics

Self-tests: giftedness / high ability

Facebook/High Ability


The Gifted AdultMary-Elaine Jacobsen. The Gifted Adult
From the Inside Flap:
“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.”

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Marylou Kelly Streznewski. Gifted Grownups: The Mixed Blessings of Extraordinary Potential.


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Social Emotional Health Program for Creative, Gifted, Highly Sensitive People

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