Today, Christophe Colas shares his vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you, Christophe! He is a company director and currently lives in Tours, France.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
Today, it’s a bit late to change. Let’s say that looking back, I would have preferred not to be gifted as a child and in my early adult life. Today I live with it.
.WHAT (MY OWN) GIFTEDNESS MEANS TO ME
It’s thinking differently when faced with a problem, with a brain that works fast, too fast.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
It would be the word too much! Too fast, too many emotions (stress, joy, sadness), too much thinking.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
My GP had asked us to look into it, and I didn’t see the point. From my point of view, there was no point, because at some point you have to blend in with the majority of the population. But with relationship problems at school, we had my first daughter tested, then the second, and then my GP (who we love) came back and asked my wife to read a book. She in turn made me read it, as she could see me. Then I did the WAIS to confirm the suspicions.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
At first, it was a relief, a rebirth. I had 40 years of unexplained things that finally made sense. It didn’t solve anything, but it did give me a reason, an explanation for a lifetime of feeling apart. Then life returned to normal.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
I’m careful who I tell about it because it could be seen as a boast, whereas it’s a characteristic just like left-handedness, short-sightedness, or blondness. For my part, I use the term HP (High Potential). Because in potential, there is the notion of “possibility” and less the overwhelming notion of “I am gifted and you are not”. Then, I can see with my daughters that even among the Gifted, there are their own characteristics.
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
That someone says “me too” without having done the tests. I don’t know about the others, but personally, I can smell the Gifted from miles away. Especially if it’s someone close to me at work, in my friends, in my family.
And from my point of view, the TV series in which I find almost no notion of Giftedness is not going to help. Today, it seems to me that everyone wants to be one as if it were great. But like all advantages, there are also disadvantages: if I’m the first to smell a gas leak (which is great), I also find the smell of the morning unbearable. What can I say when it’s mixed with coffee and cigarettes…
NB from Gloria: The TV series mentioned is called “HPI” (Gifted). Broadcast on French TV in 2021, the main actress plays the role of a profoundly gifted woman (very high potential at 160 IQ).
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
It has shed light on 40 years of misunderstanding, joys, and suffering.
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
Nothing more. Except for laughing about it with my nongifted friends.
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
I have stopped talking about it. It’s received either as haughty or as a competition: “me too”, without having been diagnosed.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
Looking for the traps (in instructions for example, like during the WAIS, the car permit, the tests).
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
If I suspect my eldest daughter of being Asperger, she is synesthetic and sees words and numbers in colour. Neither her sister nor I! We are simply hyperesthetic. But then again, if I say that I smell stronger, taste stronger, make noises and sound louder, it sounds strange to non-gifted people, even to my mother, who finds it hard to understand and accept. So even though there are 3 Gifted in the house, all 3 have similarities but are quite different. So there is not one type of Gifted but some Gifteds. In short, we are different in our giftedness, even if there are commonalities.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
The fact that my own mother doesn’t believe it.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
That my daughters are gifted. I went from being the only man in the house (which is still the case) to my wife being the only nongifted one.
.MY WELLBEING TOOL OR PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME MOST
Qi Gong, and tai chi. Especially when the teacher asks you to take your time and do the forms as slowly as possible. I hate slowness, but I find the movements even more beautiful at that moment. I reluctantly stopped for other activities (typical Gifted).
.A MISREPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
That it looks like the TV series. I’ve never seen one as big-mouthed and worldly as this character.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
Nothing! Go your own way! At your own pace!
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
Stop thinking you’re Gifted because you read an article in “Elle” (a French Magazine) or take the test (not on the beach in the magazine but in a psychologist’s office).
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
Take the test!
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
Being condescending! It’s not easy because some things seem very simple.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Leave your Cassandra syndrome in the wardrobe. 1/ it’s frowned upon, 2/ you’re going to hurt yourself by actually being right (against the grain) 3 months later.
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
I read “I think too much” (a French book) which was a real revelation for me and pushed me to do the WAIS. For my wife too it was a revelation. We are more patient with each other by reading how the other can think.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
I knew before I took the test that I had ADD (not for long either as I am not physically hyperactive), and it played tricks on me during the WAIS.
There was a power cut during the test, the inverter took over and was beeping every 3 seconds. I was very distracted. So my WAIS test result – due to my ADD and the inverter – does not reflect the true score, whereas I like it to be clean and accurate. I am left with this frustration.
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
Absolutely not. What is a waste is not knowing yourself. Gifted or not. Even for children, I think it can be a handicap.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
I can’t say, it’s almost like a given.
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
General culture, different interests, but with quite a lot of knowledge, black humour, even very black!
NB from Gloria: you can be Gifted and have little general knowledge, Quentin talks about this in his interview.
.THE LAST THING I LEARNED ON THE SUBJECT (THAT I’D LIKE TO SHARE)
That the myelin in neurons is thicker in Gifted brains.
NB from Gloria: there is a neurobiological reality behind thinking faster. The thicker myelin is part of it (white matter) as well as the density of neurons and their (different) more efficient and faster organisation (grey matter).
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON?
The test if you’re stumped or need to know; acceptance; acceptance by close family, then the routine 😊
.A GIFTED INSPIRATION FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY
The progress of recognition and care (for children) in Canada.
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
To catch up with the delay that France has on neurodiversity, even though the literature is available and the Quebecers speak the same language as us.