Today, Michael Postma shares his vision of giftedness through the Gifted Interview. Thank you, Michael! He is President of Gifted & Thriving, LLC. He currently lives in Bellingham, WA, USA.
.IF I COULD CHOOSE, WOULD I STILL BE GIFTED?
.WHAT BEING GIFTED MEANS TO ME
It has become my identity in terms of what I do and how I see the world around me. Each day I wrestle, ruminate, feel, and breath it to the point that it has, to some degree, defined me regardless of what social norms dictate. Ignorance cannot define me nor what I represent.
.IF I HAD TO CHOOSE AN IMAGE OR A KEYWORD THAT SUMS UP WHAT GIFTEDNESS MEANS
.HOW LONG HAVE I KNOWN ABOUT IT?
Instinctively, from an early age as I struggled to ‘fit in’ but from a metacognitive perspective…probably in my early 30’s.
NB from Gloria: You can dig deeper with Michaels’ definition of metacognition for gifted people in my glossary HERE (Letter M).
.WHAT PHASES HAVE I GONE THROUGH SINCE MY DISCOVERY?
I did not really go through phases, just lived the reality on a daily basis with all the challenges and rewards that come with it.
.HOW DO I EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HEARD OF IT?
I simple explain it as metaphysical differences as in atypical brain/body development
.HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE (TO KNOW IT)
I am not sure it has outside of a having a better understanding of self and why I struggled as a child/teen to fit the norm.
.WHAT IT CREATES TO OTHERS WHEN I TALK ABOUT IT
I do this as a profession, so when I speak on the topic of giftedness it is usually to an audience that is interested or needs guidance on giftedness.
.WHAT IRRITATES ME WITH GIFTEDNESS
The dumbing down of giftedness. What I mean is the diving deeper into trends like talent development (not that it does not have a place) to make it seem more acceptable. It is what it is and it comes with its own set of rules and understandings. It is who one is and we do not need to make any excuses for being atypical.
.WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE ABOUT GIFTEDNESS
Giftedness is individual. It is who one is and how one interprets their space. Every gifted person must take their own unique metacognitive journey of self-understanding and ultimately, acceptance, before they can truly reach their potential. This is an ongoing struggle that can lead to isolation, anxiety, frustration, and even depression and it is imperative that the community support gifted individuals along this path, especially in the critical growing years.
.WHAT I PERSONALLY FIND TO BE THE MOST DIFFICULT
Finding connections that count/last/matter
.MY WELLBEING TOOL OR PRACTICE THAT HELPS ME MOST
I need my personal time/space to ground myself on a daily basis. My go to for the last few years is my crossword puzzles.
.A (MIS)REPRESENTATION THAT I WANT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
Misdiagnosis, mis-understanding, lack of resources, lack of proper educational access, and as I stated early, the attempt to dumb down the intense nature of giftedness.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO GIFTED PEOPLE
You are unique. You have the innate personal potential to make a difference in your own life and the lives of others. Intelligence is a gift…use it.
.WHAT I WANT TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT CONCERNED
Stop playing the Ostrich
.WHAT I WOULD RECOMMEND TO SOMEONE WHO IS WONDERING
Do your research. There is plenty out there.
.THE MISTAKE NOT TO MAKE FOR A GIFTED PERSON
Do not let others define you. That metacognitive journey of self-discovery is yours alone to take. Do not let others get in the way.
.MY PROFESSIONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
Be yourself and make a difference.
.MY PERSONAL ADVICE FOR GIFTED
.A BOOK TO READ ON THE SUBJECT
There are plenty but I like Dr. Nicole Tetreaults’ Insight into a Bright Mind.
.MY OPINION ABOUT THE IQ WAIS TEST
Plenty of inherent bias but still has some baseline norms that can be helpful. The point is to use multiple data points when assessing intelligence. One test does not/cannot tell the story
.IS IT A WASTE NOT TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE GIFTED?
No. I think it is a platform to understanding who one is.
.WHEN I MEET ANOTHER GIFTED PERSON, DO I RECOGNIZE HIM.HER? BY WHAT?
Not always….generally it takes some conversating.
.WHAT DO GIFTED PEOPLE HAVE IN COMMON?
Intensity, uniqueness, a different way of seeing the world, etc.
.THE CRUCIAL STEPS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THE JOURNEY OF A GIFTED PERSON?
Back to metacognition, here. When I work with families, it is the first thing I do. Analyse their journey and dissect how they came to be so that I can rebuild that positive metacognition about giftedness and why it is awesome. Positive metacognition means positive acceptance of oneself no matter the journey ahead.
.A WISH FOR THE FUTURE
Global understanding and acceptance that gifted is not elitist, it is just who one is.