What’s ‘Giftedness’, Anyway?

There’s a fuss surrounding the definition of ‘giftedness’; scientist’s opinions are divided. But, what do people that apparently are defined by it think about that? I did the internet equivalent of asking around (created a Google Form), and the results are provided right here. Many many thanks to Marco Agozzino, Lukáš Kyzlík and Mike Sarris, Nefeli Zikou and all the lovely CTY Greece postgraduates who provided me with their answers; this article wouldn’t have been written without you!

The small survey was comprised from two questions: providing an objective definition and a subjective one.

Objectively:

  • Gifted is someone that has an ability that others don’t.
  • A person who is great at something and passionate about it.
  • A gifted individual is someone who has the ability to do something easily without having to practice so much to achieve it.
  • Seeing ahead and from different perspectives.
  • 1. Someone who has the ability to think clearly through situations in order to pick the best solution. 2. Someone who has multiple skills (in many different fields eg both smart, logical, athletic and social) and is able to use them in any situation to their advantage. Not in any case someone who was “born with it”. We do have some traits due to our genes and upbringing but the rest is clearly the work you put on yourself. No one is good because the simply are.
  • I know how books define giftedness, but rather than talking about “high cognitive potential” and stuff like that, I would put the stress on how gifted people approach problems with curiosity and creativity.
  • An individual who is well beyond average in some aspect of life. It can be academic skills, imagination, memory, music, sport etc. or even just motivation (for me the most important one).

Subjectively (what it means to them):

  • It is something pleasant.
  • I believe that’s an honor to be labeled as gifted, though it’s a big “responsibility”. Also, it could work as a motivation to keep me passionate.
  • I feel honored that someone valued me, but it can be frustrating.
  • Responsibility.
  • When someone calls me gifted they refer to the different way I usually think like, but then they demand for it to change so it is almost a bad thing to have😂. Other times, it’s about just knowing something and people believe I just know, they forget the process of learning and working, they think I was born knowing or born good at something which is at least terrible. Both cases show me what people think and expect of me and not something I truly am for there is no reassurance (to me) I am what they say (good or bad). Sorry for the big text.
  • When I first got recognized as gifted, nothing really changed in my private life, since I don’t consider it as a title or something like that, I just think of it as one of my features like my height or weight. On the other hand, being labeled as gifted gave me the chance of discovering many opportunities I wouldn’t have even known about. I don’t think that’s how things should work, everyone who’s curious should have access to the same opportunities.
  • Not much, to be honest. I wouldn’t label myself as “gifted” and I don’t think these labels meter. What matters is the motivation to do useful stuff.

As it is evident, while the objective definition hovers around the same perspective of high ability and passion, subjectively for each individual, it has a different connotation. Some view it as a burden, others as an honour, and some don’t think it makes a difference to them.

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