Today, Cécile Bost gives us her vision of giftedness through the “gifted interview” and thus continues my new series to share on Giftedness. Thank you Cécile! She is an author, blogger, lecturer, peer researcher. She lives currently in Marseille, France.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
Yes, “of course” … As long as I had the “instruction manual”
.WHAT (MY OWN) GIFTEDNESS MEANS TO ME
The intensity of feeling that allows a fine understanding of certain situations. The pleasure of learning, the permanent curiosity (for people, things, all new knowledge).
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
A cheetah. Feline without retractable claws, the fastest animal in the world, provided it is free… but cannot run for long distances. A paradoxical being.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
For 17 years. But at the time there was no “instruction manual” for gifted adults.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
When I learned that I was gifted, I understood better why I had a soft spot for minorities and the idea crossed my mind to put my skills at the service of this minority that I was discovering. I tried to understand the mechanism, even though there was no information on the subject. Hence my research and my books. There has never been an “Aha moment”, a revelation. The expression of giftedness is a function of the construction of identity. It is, therefore, a whole process of in-depth reflection (and guided as much as possible).
. HOW DO I EXPLAIN THIS TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
There’s no such thing as giftedness, there’s only evidence of giftedness. Very often, I put forward the word “too much” (or “not enough”) by giving some concrete examples of daily life. And then I explain the structuring of the brain, which is really different, and what it leads to.
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
Nothing to report.
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
To better understand my intensity, my demand. “To understand the gap” using the words of Carlos Tinoco. When we understand the gap, we find strategies to preserve ourselves. It is easier to do “with” than “despite”.
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
Allowing yourself has nothing to do with giftedness. Allowing oneself is a matter of “belief” – one can be gifted, know it, and not allow oneself to do anything. Having said that, knowing that I was gifted made it easier for me to resume studies on a subject that is not at all in my usual comfort zone: I told myself that I had to be able to do it – I knew my points of strength and weakness (Master’s degree in Public Health Research obtained in 2019) and this also made it easier for me to become a peer researcher (a person from a group studied who works in cooperation with academic researchers: “experiential knowledge” is thus recognised and allows you to work not on a group, but with a group).
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
Why talk about it at all? Being gifted is an intimate thing. Unless you feel that the interlocutor can be open, sensitive (even concerned). For my part, I can talk about it more easily, given my research because I develop all the scientific facets of the organisation and functioning of the brain before talking about anything else. But that doesn’t erase decades of collective beliefs on the subject.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
Presenting giftedness as a handicap. Giftedness alone is not and does not do everything. The construction of identity is decisive. Some gifted people are happy and very well inserted, even in high positions in different hierarchies.
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
The ability to understand the complex. In a VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) world, this is an asset.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
Keeping the gap in mind
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
The intensity of the beautiful images I can capture. “Freeze-frame” moments of a few seconds but which feed me for a long time.
.MY SURVIVAL AND REBOUND STRATEGIES
Take some quiet time to regenerate myself. Think positive. I’m not alone.
.A (MIS)REPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
The poor gifted wretch that nobody loves.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
Each one bears his or her share of responsibility in the dialogue with the other. Living together requires constant effort, but it is at this price that society becomes richer… And it can indeed be a little more complicated when you’re in a minority.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
The same thing I would say to a gifted person…
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
Read! Use reference documents and not just pre-prepared texts that can be read in 5 minutes maximum. This is the reason why I created Talent Different: to make available scientific communications, some passages of which I translate for those who are not familiar with English. Understanding what it means to be gifted is complex. You have to take the time.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
Forgetting the gap
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
“Think the gap” (tempo, requirement level, intensity, cognitive conformity). This is what I explain in my second book “Gifted: Integrating and thriving in the world of work” (Vuibert 2016, available in French only).
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Remember that the brain is not disconnected from the body: preserve the body. Knowing how to rest, to decompress… this is not always to the will of the brain!
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
Mary Elaine Jacobsen – “The Gifted Adult – A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Every Day Genious” and Joan Freeman “Gifted Lives”.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE WAIS IQ TEST
O how limited! For example, depression can lower an IQ by 15 points. Similarly, handicaps are not taken into account. The worst is when there is heterogeneity and we cannot “average” IQs (some therapists do it, however, neglecting the ethics). So doing the IQ test is not bad, but only if you take it with someone who really knows what he/she is talking about (“Too bad you are depressed otherwise you would have been gifted” – said a therapist to one of my readers…).
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
When there is something wrong with your life, yes. Sometimes, knowing yourself to be gifted is like the piece of the puzzle that reveals the whole picture. But I repeat: the expression of giftedness is intimately linked to the construction of identity.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
It’s crazy how, sometimes, in less than 5 minutes, we’re discussing intimate subjects (ideas we can’t share, knowledge…) with someone we didn’t know before. That can be a sign. But beware of manipulators.
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
I have no idea. Usually, we lump the gifted together, forgetting that everyone has his or her own personality. We also forget that a highly / profoundly gifted person (145/150 and more, if we accept that the test is worth something, and to give a benchmark) will have as much trouble connecting with a gifted person at 130 as the latter will have trouble connecting with someone of normal intelligence (100). It is generally accepted that you have difficulty being understood by people who have more or less 20 IQ points with you (see Leta S. Hollingworth in particular, who has worked on the subject of profoundly gifted).
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON?
Acceptance and understanding by re-reading one’s life in particular in the light of the traumatic history (For example: harassment in childhood is the bedrock of harassment in the workplace).
.THE LAST THING I LEARNED ON THE SUBJECT (THAT I’D LIKE TO SHARE)
This is something I’ve known for a long time and I think it’s important to stress: the probable link between giftedness and autoimmune diseases (a theory that was first put forward in 1982 – a study was carried out in the United States in 2017 with similar conclusions – but for the moment, we are only interested in giftedness from a psychological point of view, and not enough from psychiatry (some pathologies are not, they are “just” intensities that are out of the norm – the expression of depression is not the same (study in progress on the subject in the department of Prof. Lançon – AP-H Marseille)), or even endocrinology.
(read also Fabrice Micheau on that)
.AN INSPIRATION FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
James Webb et al – a thick book about misdiagnosis and double diagnosis in giftedness.
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
To make progress in living together through a better knowledge of the subject. My Gifted Network / Airbus is doing remarkable work on the subject.
.A HUNCH ON THE SUBJECT
There will soon be restaurants for gifted (which would make me very puzzled actually).
.THE QUESTION THAT I WAS MISSING BUT THAT I WOULD LIKE TO ANSWER?
I added my comments when I thought it was necessary ☺