Today, Lionel Lesguer shares his vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you, Lionel! He is a school teacher and currently lives in Angers.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
Giftedness is a great gift. It allows you to understand quickly, to be curious, read books with “bulimia”, in all fields, and learn knowledge on your own. Giftedness allows you to multitask and to love complexity.
I also have developed senses so I enjoy all the sounds of the forest during my walks.
Nevertheless, if I had to choose, I would have preferred to have my “instructions manual” from a young age. I would not have made certain mistakes. The “chameleon” option, for example, I would not have ticked. At least I would have had an excuse. I’m left-handed! But that’s no excuse.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
The word is the P for Potential and the picture is the animal called “zebra” because each zebra has different spots as Gifteds are different from each other.
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
I have known this since I turned 48 in 2021. I decided to see a shrink for a lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, and for the chameleon skin, which had been bothering me for a long time and which I wanted to get rid of. The chameleon was present, but I didn’t know its exact origin. I had become aware of its presence during my separation from my first ex in 2009.
In parallel to this psychological follow-up, an organization providing employment services helped me to put some cohesion in my CV and my job interviews (having 3 different masters and multiple jobs: storekeeper, machine operator, methods technician, continuous improvement consultant, web entrepreneur, blogger, innovation project manager).
The shrink listened to me and we talked about my childhood, the feeling of being out of touch with my reading since I could read, loneliness, the chameleon skin, my professional career, and my life in general. She suggested an IQ test: the WAIS a few weeks later. I took it, without apprehension, without any particular expectations.
In May 2021, we did the assessment. I was not disappointed with my approach. I understood who I was with the assessment. She showed me the IQ results. The word Gifted was said. G.I.F.T.E.D! You’re making a mistake! You are making a mistake! Well, considering your age, I don’t think so. Although!
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
Several successive phases:
First of all, total disbelief because since my childhood, I’ve heard “you’re incapable, good at nothing, bad at everything” or “you won’t get your baccalaureate” (now I’m a baccalaureate +6, I missed the prediction). I was an average student, bad at spelling. I was bullied at school. I experienced rejection.
I threw the paper format of the report in the bin. In the end, the report was only for me and the shrink. Then, I read bad books (full of stereotypes where Giftedness = handicap because of recruitment bias among shrinks, I was more afraid than Stephen King’s novels) and good books. I have built up culture about giftedness.
- Storm warning:
I had a deconstruction phase where I rewrote the legends of my life memories. I was in an identity crisis until January 2022. I was already in a deconstruction phase since my separation from my 2nd ex in March 2020. The deconstruction phase related to Giftedness was harder and deeper because it was reaching my deepest “self” and my brain.
- Reconstruction and Acceptance
In February 2022 I accepted to use the term Gifted – I am a bit different only. I told my 2 ex-wives in May. I have integrated it. I killed the chameleon. I even burned the chameleon symbolically in a “ritual” fire. Giftedness is part of me. I don’t say “I am Gifted” but “I have Giftedness”. As I have brown eyes or brown hair – it’s over for the hair.
I have regained cognitive ability because since March 2020 I had been asking myself a lot of questions: why this? Why this? Why this? Finally, with the assessment, I understood the sources of the whys? So these questions no longer had any reason to exist, to go round and round in my head. The “why? applications were no longer running in the background in my brain. I regained my cognitive capacity. I also dared.
Now it’s an asset and a wonderful gift.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
It’s a difficult question! To my daughter, I would say that my brain has a different structure: the neuronal connections are more developed and faster in the brain. I am curious, I read a lot. That’s why, when I speak, I go from “cock to donkey” (a French expression which means you jump from one subject to another). That’s why, when I watch a film, I read or look at social networks. That’s why, when I assemble kit furniture, I look at the first and last page of the assembly instructions. Being gifted doesn’t necessarily mean being top of the class, the boy with glasses, but it can be a girl or an average student.
.THE REMARK WHICH BLEW ME AWAY MOST WHEN I TALKED ABOUT IT
The comment that blew my mind the most when I talked about it was “we knew”, “we thought you were going to announce something serious”, “you are the nicest person I know”.
I only told a few people. My exes suspected, and one of my exes’ current partners thought I was going to announce a serious illness. A friend of mine also suspected because of the way I switch from one subject to another, my great kindness, and my total commitment to women’s rights. I am committed to Women’s Rights, but Giftedness colours my search for meaning or values, even though my commitment is linked to my upbringing from my mother when I was a child.
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)& WHAT I HAVE ALLOWED MYSELF TO DO EVER SINCE
Following the acceptance phase, I have confidence in myself. I have better self-esteem and I dare. I dared to become a contract school teacher while waiting to take the exam in April 2023.
Dare! I understood my childhood and I killed the chameleon that was phagocytising me. I dare to be me, authentic, and I’m done adapting to situations. I say what I think while keeping my usual diplomacy.
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
I haven’t talked about it around me. People who are very close to me know and understand some of the things I do. They know that I am done with questioning and above all, they feel that I have confidence in myself. I am at peace with my past.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
Some people annoy me: apocalyptic shrinks: “giftedness is a mental illness” I heard on TV. Some shrinks use stereotypes and are affected by recruitment bias: Gifted people seek help so they are not well. But there are 1.8 million French people who are Gifted (Gifted represent 2.3% of the population according to statistics), they do not all consult and are doing very well.
The gender inequality in the world of giftedness infuriates me. “Your son is gifted”: it’s the father! No! No! The mother or grandmother can also be gifted. Intelligence does not only concern men. I think that my Giftedness was passed on by my mother.
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS & WHAT I PERSONALLY LOVE
Curiosity, search for meaning, attachment to values, developed senses, multitasking, and a great memory – if you are interested.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
Metacognition: thinking about our thinking that causes a lack of self-confidence, lack of self-esteem, and constant self-doubt.
.A MISREPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
“Tree thinking” is not proven by science. Both Gifted and non-Gifted people think in divergent ways. The difference is that Gifted people go faster and further. Since they cultivate themselves, the memory is put to work in divergent thinking in automatic mode. The speed in the brain of a standard person is 2 m/s and the HPI brain is 3.5 m/s.
As I said earlier, the gifted person is not necessarily a boy, top of the class, with glasses. There are as many gifted people as there are gifted women. The gifted person can be a good student or an average student or one who is failing at school.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
It is a gift and a wonderful asset. Dare to do it! Dare to do things! Dare not to fit into a box!
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
Don’t say that they are atypical: statistically, Gifteds represent 2.3% of the population, i.e. about 1,800,000 French people, so Giftedness is normal for 2.3%. They are born with a differently wired brain so they are born and will die with a Gifted brain. To ask a Gifted person to adapt, even more, to the world we live in, is an insult because they already adapt to 97% of the standard world. There are Gifted seniors so stimulate them when they are in a retirement home!
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
To go and see a psychologist and do the WAIS test! The assessment is not only about the IQ test, but also about getting to know oneself and discovering the beginning of one’s “instruction manual”.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
As soon as you know you are Gifted as an adult, you have to decide who you want to inform first. I am single and both my parents are dead, so I informed the mothers of my two children and one or two friends because we had talked about Giftedness following the french “gifted” series. on TV Following the Gifted interview, a few more people will know.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Dare and don’t let your manager fill in the Excel grids! Dare! Dare to get a degree because you have the potential to do so.
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
I’m not in a relationship, but I’ve started to make a mind map of my functioning in order to explain my giftedness to a potential girlfriend (one can dream). If not, talk to your partner, and the acceptance stage will be at 2 if you learn your giftedness late like me.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
I have no opinion on the Wechsler tests: Wais, Wisc and WPPSI. They are not perfect, but they exist.
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
Yes, it’s a big waste: people are left to discover it at 30, 40, 50, or later and this creates an identity crisis, even an identity storm.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM·HER? BY WHAT?
I had a discussion with a friend of a couple of friends. I had doubts about her divergent thinking and her ability to switch from one subject to another. She saw a book on the subject lying around so we discussed it. She was detected at 37 (she is 39).
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
Each Gifted person is different but their brain structure brings them together. Values, curiosity, the search for meaning, feeling different, metacognition (thinking about their thinking), and doubt.
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON?
His or her assessment, without putting pressure on him or herself, and then getting to know him or herself.
.THE LAST THING I LEARNED ON THE SUBJECT (THAT I’D LIKE TO SHARE)
I advise to continue the psychologist follow-up after the IQ test because I refused: I have had bad experiences with incompetent psychologists and psychiatrists following a burn-out. I managed alone the storm, but it is very difficult to manage without telling anyone.
.A GIFTEDNESS INSPIRATION FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY
Giftedness is a gift and an advantage in the United States! Not in France! HR departments consider it as fragility or instability. It is a strength and a potential. Don’t kill it!
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
Stop looking at Gifted people as curious beasts or atypical. The heroine of the french TV series “Gifted” is at 160 IQ points, but Giftedness starts at 130 IQ points in France.
I am 185 cm tall, left-handed, Gifted, bald, committed, a substitute school teacher, peaceful and happy. I have giftedness, so what?
I have daily difficulties, not because I have giftedness, but because I am an imperfect man like the others.
The only thing: to the people who humiliated me, said I was bad, and dragged me through the mud: I want to tell them “I have giftedness, and fuck you”.