Today, Anthony Gonnet Vandepoorte shares his vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you, Anthony! He is an entrepreneur in the digital sciences (he accompanies companies and future entrepreneurs in their digital evolution). He lives in Switzerland in the Canton of Vaud.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
Yes, because I love to find myself thinking for hours and escaping into my bubble without finding a limit to what happens there.
.WHAT (MY OWN) GIFTEDNESS MEANS TO ME
To be honest, I have absolutely no idea. I don’t know exactly what it means. I can simply define what it means to me by explaining a concrete situation. For example, I regularly analyse things in everyday life spontaneously, without necessarily having a specific goal. By “analysing” I mean looking at a computer, a mobile phone or even a simple lamp and imagining an exploded view of the object or imagining myself diving inside the product and trying to define the type of material, the components used, the internal processes that drive it… How it was created in the laboratory or a design office, the number of people who potentially worked on it… Which is a lot of things! Especially since I also frequently analyse each of my interlocutors when I exchange with them: the position of the face, the look, the schematic of the movements… If the handshake is warm or rather cold, how are the legs positioned, does the person cross the arms, etc.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
The image that immediately comes to mind refers to a conference I gave at the Ted x CESI in Angoulême. The image in question was that of a tree. For me, it perfectly represents the mental pattern I follow when I step back and think. First, you have the leaves which collect hundreds of pieces of information outside the known spectrum, then the branches which start to cross-reference the information to make sense of it all. Then comes the trunk, which gathers all the ideas into a single concrete structure, and then the roots which sink into the earth and become the development of all the ideas that have previously catalysed.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
At the age of 6, I had some troubles that made my parents think that something was not “normal” in my way of being but also in my way of behaving with others. I had set up and dismantled my first computer at that age, one of the things that led to my first visit to a specialist for an IQ test.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
At first, I was a bit young to understand what it was all about, what it could do and how it could be used to go a bit further than the established patterns. The only thing I did was to be a clown in class to entertain the crowd and try to get noticed. Over the years and with hard work I changed my ways and focused on managing and channeling everything that came into my head, but it was – and still is – still difficult. What is always a challenge is to manage to choose and focus on one task at a time, when hundreds of other thoughts are tickling my mind. Unfortunately, I have not yet found a solution to this, but I am still working with hypnotherapists and psychologists for this purpose.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
I simply don’t tell them. Because very often people take it as a matter of overinflated ego without trying to understand that I am actually just trying to present ability or an anomaly.
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
“Anyway, it’s no wonder that being big-headed you must have trouble keeping your head on your shoulders”.
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
I didn’t see any difference, but I used it to move forward much faster on different projects that were close to my heart and that allowed me to obtain prestigious titles: French laureate at Microsoft, Master of noon on TF1 (French TV), valedictorian, certification in progress at Harvard, etc.
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
When I feel that too many things are starting to clash in my mind, that I’m not thinking clearly, and that my brain is clogged up with hundreds of pieces of information, I pull the plug and simply go for a walk. The simple fact of getting some fresh air and oxygen for an hour or two allows me to release all the tension accumulated due to a lack of efficiency on various tasks. When I get to the “too full” point, rather than cracking up futilely, I allow myself to do other activities like abstract painting, ideation, seeing friends, etc.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
It is almost impossible to control your thought flow, to pause your brain and tell yourself that you are going to concentrate on one task at a time. Sometimes what might take just a few minutes to sort out can take several hours because hyperactivity and attention disorders disrupt the whole thing you’re doing.
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
We often talk about the positive things that come with it, but we rarely go into detail about the negative things that we have to put up with. Whether it’s mood swings, moments of intense emotion, or even the complete absence of emotion as well. This translates into the impression of being in front of a block of stone that has no feelings in certain situations.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
For me, I would say it is procrastination, which can take up a lot of your time at once and make your day completely unproductive simply because it is not a good day and you feel that you do not have all your capacities at their full efficiency. Whereas on another day it’s the feeling of having an overflow of feelings where the slightest hitch in your process will ruin your productivity. There are also times when simple words that you are trying to say, which are very much in your head and perfectly clear, fade away, disappear to leave a void where you don’t know what you wanted to say or how you were going to communicate.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
My vision of the world and the place each person has in it.
Indeed I think that everything around us today is just the result of something more powerful than we are unable to perceive because our minds are hindered by psychological biases, mental barriers, and other things that we don’t understand or can’t explain today, because we don’t have the faculties. To put it more clearly, I think of electricity. It has always been “around us” in a form that was previously imperceptible to us. Then, one day, some people started researching and found a new universe just waiting to be explored.
.MY WELL-BEING TOOL OR PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME MOST
Walking and hiking in the Swiss mountains. It is, without a doubt, an incredible way to regain a foothold in the constant flow of information that passes through your head. Oxygen and height on the mountain tops make you realise how small a problem is in comparison to everything else around you and then make it “smaller” and more manageable.
.A MISREPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
The personalities that are created within oneself and the resulting mind movies.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
Let curiosity take over. It is a powerful weapon that is, in my opinion, badly exploited. It is a powerful weapon to create situations, make discoveries, and gain new experiences that are formative. If you are not curious, you can always become curious. You just have to read a book, watch a programme, an object, or an element that interests you or not and ask yourself what is behind it, everything that has been put in place to make it present to you here and now.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
You are fine as you are. Everyone would like to be like someone, to be a hero to someone or even to many, but I think everyone has potential, talent, but just everyone on different levels. But the important thing is not to be or to become someone, in my opinion, it is above all to know how to look at everything that has brought us to where we are today and to accept it in order to move forward and go even further.
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
If he·she is wondering, it is already because there are signs. Science is not yet able to define very clearly the patterns of functioning of the brain, but doing a test costs nothing, just time.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
Acting without a plan. With a plan, things are often much clearer and more thoughtful and you can quickly see the ins and outs of what you want to do. When you don’t succeed it’s often because you don’t have a plan or you haven’t laid the foundations of your thinking properly, but it’s not an exact science. Sometimes other things come into play, but when they do, a plan can help you to deal with them properly and be prepared for them.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
I’ll speak in my case because I don’t know if it applies to everyone but let’s just say that I use a lot of lists and protocols that I try to follow so that I don’t lose track of different ideas. This is similar to making a list with different steps on which are mentioned sometimes briefly or with descriptions of the tasks I have to do and how I have to do them. Besides increasing my efficiency I am also able to fight against memory problems that would make me forget parts of my protocol or errors of inattention.
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
“Your brain is extraordinary” from Fabien Olicard.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
All the results that often come from these tests are just numbers.
They only come to life if you give them the interpretation. Numbers are like grades at school, we should only pay attention to them to give us an idea of our level without necessarily making them general truth. Also, these tests are not necessarily up to date with the latest developments. For example, new technology, accessibility of information, distance learning, etc. These are all points to be taken into account when the results of such a test are positive. You don’t know if doing this kind of test in other conditions with other emotions or other things that could have stimulated you before the exam to get more or fewer points.
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
No. You are what you are born with. It does not affect your potential for success.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
There’s a kind of positive tension that goes on in the discussion, it’s always indescribable and it’s hard to put words to it. In the past, I have been training in non-verbal language translation for 5 years. I learned to detect a lot of things like lies, embarrassment, filters in the discussion, and yet when I communicate with this kind of person, all these things I learned are worthless. It’s also a good spotting element on my side.
THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN A GIFTED PERSON’S ‘GIFTED JOURNEY’?
Surround yourself and persevere. At first very few people will be interested in you or want to work with you. This is normal, and many times you will always be seen as a fool and misunderstood. One of the only ways I know of to build something stable and lasting over time is through work and exchange. Through work, you can show your abilities and through exchanges, you can show your vision and your thinking, and inevitably if all this fits together you will get some nice levers that you can use to get where you want to go.
.THE QUESTION THAT I WAS MISSING BUT THAT I WOULD LIKE TO ANSWER?
How can you flourish?