Today, Jérôme Delaville shares his vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you, Jérôme! He is a Pre-Sales Engineer specialising in Cybersecurity and currently lives in the Ile de France.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
Ah, so already from the first question, I’m going to be fussy! I clearly prefer the term High Potential to Gifted (in French Gifted implies the word “above”). The latter represents a state of affairs: “that’s how it is, sorry, I’m more gifted than others”… And we don’t even know in what way. Whereas High Potential means “Ok, now I know that I have the potential to achieve great things, it’s up to me to invest in it”… And so to answer the question, of course I will choose to have this potential – even if it can put some pressure on my life!
.WHAT (MY OWN) GIFTEDNESS MEANS TO ME
Being Gifted, in my opinion, means having the ability to achieve great things if you put your mind to it. It is also the ability to acquire skills more quickly, perhaps also to understand sometimes more quickly – which probably gives the impression that Gifted people are also very full of themselves and know everything better than others.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
The key word for me is without question the word “potentiality”. This word alone will explain why there are as many Gifted profiles as there are people tested: even if we can find common traits, we will all be very different. This word also means that we will have to take the trouble to exploit our abilities if we want to get something out of them, and the term “potentiality” also reminds us that we remain human beings with our flaws, weaknesses, mistakes, and limiting beliefs.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
I was officially tested in April 2020, so 2 years ago.
Strangely enough, my story is very similar to Virginie’s (whose beautiful testimony I invite you to read). We suspected that our eldest daughter was Gifted following problems of harassment that occurred very early on at school. We had to wait for the second harassment at school before taking her to see a neuropsychologist on the advice of our doctor. It was she who brought up the subject of Giftedness, and then encouraged my wife to take the test after she became bored.
As for me, I had no particular need to take this test… But my son and my wife kindly challenged me to take it too!
I later found out that I had been tested by a school psychologist as a child because I had learned to read on my own. I only recently discovered this. At that time, there wasn’t as much knowledge about gifted children as there is now. So I was just told that I was smart and was put through a class. I was very adapted to the school system, very adaptable, a real little chameleon!
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
Contrary to the testimonies that one can often read about the discovery and taking into account one’s potential, it didn’t really change much in my life. Of course, when you come out of the test, you feel a certain relief (I’m not too stupid after all…), mixed with great fatigue – the test is intense. However, I have become more confident since this result.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
I haven’t really had this happen yet, I’ve talked about it with friends who already had some knowledge of what it’s like. But if I had to talk about it with a newcomer, I think I would say something like: “Have you ever heard of the principle of Giftedness? No, it’s not geniuses or autistic people, it’s people whose intellectual abilities can enable them to do things quickly and efficiently, and who often come up with out-of-the-box ideas to solve complex problems.”
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
My life hasn’t changed fundamentally, to be honest. However, I do know that it has given me some confidence in myself, in my work, and in relation to others. I also sometimes feel stressed about those abilities that I could probably use better, for example for so-called noble causes. Oh yes, the big change in my life: I can no longer say to my son or my wife, who were tested before me, “No, but I don’t know anything about it anyway, I’m the family idiot!
.WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
To have confidence in myself! Sometimes I have doubts, about my choices, about my actions, but then I remember that I have this potential and I tell myself that after all, I’m probably not so stupid!
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
Reactions can be very different depending on the person. My family tends to reject the very principle of giftedness, considering that it is too presumptuous to declare oneself Gifted. The friends I can talk to about it are either already aware of what it means or are generally open-minded. One person I had the opportunity to discuss it with during one of my son’s school outings was rather in denial about the existence of HP, she saw it as a fashion effect and considered that all the people in her close circle probably had as many abilities as her son (also tested).
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
The people who are tested for Giftedness but who consider that this gives them a blank cheque to justify that their speeches or beliefs are the right ones. In the Mensa association that I joined, we find among the members effectively all the profiles of Gifted, and some seem to forget to question themselves which can generate unnecessary tensions. Fortunately, this is far from being the majority of the people in the association!
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
The potential! Again and again. We will make a good step toward a more generalized acceptance of Giftedness when we replace the notion of “gift” by the notion of “potential” and this will be well understood by both the so-called Gifted and the others.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
The fact that this result was set for me makes me think about my inaction and my abilities, which are probably poorly exploited or even not exploited. I would like to be able to say to myself that I am not wasting this great potential and that, on the contrary, I am making it grow. This puts a certain pressure on my life.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
I appreciate the beneficial contribution that this notion of established Giftedness gives me to my self-confidence. Even if I am still working a lot on my strong impostor syndrome!
.MY WELLBEING TOOL OR PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME MOST
Hmmm… None in particular, but if I had to have a tool or practice, it would certainly not be different from anyone else! Probably sport – I’d have to get back into it!
.A MISREPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
Ah, there are so many stereotypes to break!
First of all, we come back to the very first question asked and the representation – misleading in my opinion – that a Gifted is a person who has a well-acquired gift! No, a Gifted person is not a genius, at least not without a minimum of work. Nor is a Gifted person an autistic person, and the reverse is not necessarily true either. No, not all Gifted are hypersensitive, they each have their own sensitivities, even if this can be exacerbated at times. And three times No, Gifted people are not unwell!
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
Don’t hide, adapt yourself just as you need to, be proud of who you are, have confidence in yourself, and above all don’t forget to remain humble in the face of this ability that you have, it is necessary to know how to question yourself sometimes to better apprehend it and to face your own beliefs.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
Nothing, we don’t talk to them!
No, obviously, it doesn’t change much, and it doesn’t mean that these people can’t have a gift or develop strong abilities in a specific field. Once again, we remain on higher potential, but which remains to be exploited!
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
Take the test. Afterward, see what you do (or don’t do).
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
The fatal error, in my opinion, is to consider that being Gifted protects us from being embroiled in a false belief or in malicious acts. For example, there are HP people who question the usefulness of the vaccine against covid-19, which is scientifically proven. They have therefore been led to fallacious demonstrations that seemed right to them (like many people), but they can be more stubborn than others because they are used to knowing, to knowing, to feeling rightly.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
In France, unfortunately, this singularity is still not really accepted as such. It remains, at best, misunderstood and at worst, a source of rejection. However, we must be our own ambassadors and it, therefore, seems important to me to display it on our professional profiles – at least the fact of being a member of an association such as Mensa for example.
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
I don’t really have any advice to give in this area, perhaps to try to get out of the adaptability that we may have in order to know how to be ourselves in the personal sphere…
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
I have never read any book on the subject! I am always wary of generalizations that can be made quite quickly, and often the people who write on the subject of giftedness are psychologists or psychiatrists, who have a very fragmented view of Gifted people since it is mostly people in pain that they meet.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
These tests are and will always be imperfect and subject to discussion because they do not involve a systematic and verifiable measurement. There is also a part of psychology, of context. They are however and above all to be taken as an indicator of potential – we come back to this notion every time for me!
In fact, I think that this test should be carried out free of charge on all children at the end of elementary school. This would be a good start to eliminate the financial issue associated with this test, which implies that only those who can afford it can be detected. School psychologists – and teaching staff in general – are also often less well trained in this exercise, which seems to me to be a pity.
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
No, not necessarily. It is completely possible to exploit one’s potential without being aware of it or having an official paper. It can also sometimes add a layer of anxiety that you may have missed out on something just because a test has indicated that you have a high potential and you may feel that you have not exploited it. But there are many other parameters in life: the people around you, the support, the financial means, the health, etc. To look back and say “Oh, if I had known before, I would have made other choices” is to forget the whole context at the time of the choice, the people you knew, the family, the worries you might have had.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
I don’t really know… It seems that we recognise each other and are attracted to each other! Some people around me, even if they haven’t taken the official test, there’s no doubt about their potential because they express it in one way or another. But I just feel sometimes, now that I know about my giftedness, that everyone else is – impostor syndrome maybe?
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
As soon as my son, my wife, and I were tested for Giftedness, we decided to join the Mensa association, which brings together gifted profiles. We discovered that there are many of us and that we are all different, with different cultures, personalities, and opinions. But what brings us together, in the end, is the appetite for learning, either through simple curiosity that never gets stale or through a common interest in a theme for example.
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON?
Oh dear, not at all! What pressure just from the question! There is no written path, nor is there a compulsory step! Everyone approaches their Giftedness in their own way, and at their own speed.
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
Education of course! Recognising that there is strong neurodiversity within a school and a class, adapting learning as much as possible to each individual, teaching children not to judge and classify themselves but rather to benefit from the assets that each one can bring to the community. Of course, this requires in-service training for teachers…
.A HUNCH ON THE SUBJECT
Giftedness is a hot topic, especially with the HPI (French Gifted TV) series currently on prime-time TV, which focuses on a genius who is unaware of it. The series is refreshing, funny, humorous, and introduces the concept of Giftedness. Unfortunately, it also bruises the already unenjoyable image that everyone has of it, by using very big strings based on conceived ideas. My hunch is that it will be many years before there is general acceptance that there can be people with higher potential than others, without making them into freaks.