Today, Eric Labrie gives us his vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you Eric! He is a Project Director in Business Development. Eric currently lives in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
I don’t really know. It’s not a choice or a decision. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree with my daughter’s Giftedness & ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnosis, so I went ahead to get an evaluation. And poof the results come in at the age of 48. Let’s just say that having had the choice to learn about it earlier would have been beneficial to me.
.WHAT (MY OWN) GIFTEDNESS MEANS TO ME
It is intense for those around me who are intellectually dishonest. And my senses are always on alert. It’s exhausting at times.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
A Grizzly. It’s imposing and sensitive. It needs to protect its forest.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
For 3 years.
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
All phases. The anger towards my family is the one that has eaten up my time. They were not equipped 45 years ago to understand. That said, I had a big sigh of relief afterward, it was a huge period of introspection to rebuild my foundations.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
I keep it light with close people I love and trust. Just the mention of the word “Neurodiversity” makes people scratch their heads and say: Well, what now, lol.
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
No comments at all. I’m very modest about this subject, especially in the social context of Quebec. It’s not a subject that is very covered or popular. Those who sometimes post about it push the limit by claiming to be experts. I avoid it, it’s personal.
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
It didn’t really change my life. It changed my perception of who I am as a person more. Without knowing it, it was heavy and intimidating to those around me. Until I was 30, improvisation and theatre allowed me to hide this aspect. I was in the game. When I realised that I was Gifted, the mask fell off.
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
Not much has changed on this front, except to make sure I’m surrounded by good people and to simply say no to things that don’t suit me. I am no longer playing games and being fake nice. I remain myself in all aspects of my life.
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
They don’t know what to think. Some people are curious, while others pretend it’s another lame excuse. It’s not a sexy topic for a dinner party, it’s more often an uncomfortable one. So I avoid it.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
It’s exhausting in my case, I think about everything all the time, I remember everything and analyse everything. I think about several subjects at the same time and overlap them. It’s difficult to be silent and hear myself, I can only do it by listening to music.
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
Absolutely nothing, it’s not a power, nor a gift. I’m not Bruce Banner (laughs). Well, sometimes you have to hide the Hulk, who loses patience with people, who don’t understand you. LOL
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
The feeling of being overwhelmed by the emotions of others. When you feel the emotions of everyone around you, it drains all your energy.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
The ease of learning and understanding a complex subject quickly. The more complex the problem, the more I dwell on it.
.MY WELLBEING TOOL OR PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME MOST
I apply the three 8’s rule: 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours to have fun at work, and 8 hours to take care of myself and my loved ones. Oh yes, I’m going to see my shrink, he’s got to buy his family a holiday. Nah, he’s not like in the comic strip “Les Psy” (The shrinks) by Bédu and Cauvin. Good thing he’s here. He’s the best.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
Stay yourself, don’t change anything about your personality, because it will come back at a gallop. Just assume yourself, grow, and evolve smoothly. Climbing Kilimanjaro with flip-flops is a bad idea. So change into some good hiking boots and move on.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
We are super cool, sensitive people with hearts in our hands. If we open up to you, it’s out of trust and love. Because in reality, it is sometimes difficult to surround ourselves with good people, who will be kind to us. Don’t be nice, be good people.
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
Don’t hesitate, go and consult and be well accompanied by a psychologist. Don’t leave your brain in the hands of anyone.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
Denial is the worst feeling.
If someone tries to convince you of the opposite of who you are, do not be obstinate. Get around it without being obstinate. Turn your heels and move on.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Surround yourself with extraordinarily good, talented, competent people. Find an organised team with a good structure. Avoid a chaotic and unhealthy environment, this is our Achilles heel.
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Find something you like to do for yourself, without really trying to convince the people around you to like it. I like to cook, it’s my refuge. For family and couple life, don’t tolerate any disrespect for your values. Find a person who is strong in his or her boots and who will play fair with you. Be fair, play fair. The power of words is important. We need space to name our emotions. The unspoken is our sworn enemy. Naming and speaking.
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
I don’t have a book on this subject specifically. A book that has helped me a lot is Normand Baillargeon’s “A little Intellectual Self Defense Course”. My approach to the subject is more sociological than psychological.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
My daughter has an IQ of 135. I don’t know sometimes I feel like I have the intelligence of a mold. She is Gifted & ASD and I am Gifted. It’s not a contest, there are many forms of intelligence. My daughter rakes it in, except in maths, we’re both horribly bad. Like father, like daughter.
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
As mentioned earlier, 40 years ago there were no tools. I was probably the village idiot. My poor family, not very psychologically equipped, suffered. I was not aware of it. A diagnosis at an early age would have saved me a lot of trouble, a Gifted person has no filter. The frankness of a Gifted person can be murderous and corrosive. I don’t let anything that is unfair and unacceptable pass.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
Even if my Chinese astrological sign is a dog, I don’t sniff people out to identify them. I recognise intelligence in people who are good and intellectually honest. My bearings are clear now.
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
Love, kindness, and joy. Nothing more. And we can sometimes be particularly ironic, cynical, sarcastic.
NB from Gloria: in order not to create false beliefs, Giftedness does not determine whether one is (…) or not (human qualities & Giftedness are two different things).
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON?
Detection, follow-up, and being well-surrounded.
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
My wish is that this subject be popularised simply with the right tools here in Quebec. We are often wrong about diagnoses. The power of words, having the right approach. There is a fine line here between HPI, ASD, Hypersensitivity, BPD (borderline personality disorder). The list is long.
.A HUNCH ON THE SUBJECT
This universe of neurodiversity is recent, the more it is popularised, the more our education system will modernise. We can no longer classify with intelligence and grades. We need to review this, especially for boys, the dropout rate has been exponential for the last 25 years.
.THE QUESTION THAT I WAS MISSING BUT THAT I WOULD LIKE TO ANSWER?
Oufff, 34 questions, that’s not bad for a verbomotor who doesn’t write much. So let’s go:
35. Would you have had children if you knew you were gifted? Absolutely, without hesitation, with love everything is possible.