Is uncommon intelligence or intensity a gift?

Willem Kuipers is author of the book Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon: Extra Intelligent, Intense, and Effective.

Read the Foreword by Linda Silverman (and see link to the author’s site) in the post The Gift of Being Uncommon.

In a section of the book – Is it a Gift to be Uncommon? – he writes about how people who are Xi [eXtra Intelligent or Intense] may view their exceptional abilities.

Here is an excerpt – link to full article at end.

Giftedness refers literally to special talents, somehow provided at birth. Extra intelligence refers literally to an uncommon overdose, compared to standard availability.

It is well known that the label gifted is generally not welcomed by the person in question, whether child or adult. This can be due to worries about possible stigmatization as a strange exception to normal, or about the implied expectation or felt obligation to be an outstanding performer…

A gift is something we do not get by our own efforts: It is bestowed upon us.

That makes it different from something we acquire through our own efforts, like commodities or possessions.

Giving and gifts play an important role in our celebrations and generally in the affirmation of mutual relations.

At birthdays for instance, we celebrate the gift of having lived for another year, we offer gifts and hospitality to our dear ones and receive their gifts in return.

Gifts have to be reciprocated to keep their essence of being a gift; that is maintaining the relation.

A talent is a gift: Although one needs to develop the talent through conscious effort, its initial appearance is a gift.

Inspiration and intuition are also a gift: Their appearance cannot be forced or adequately forecasted.

Therefore, the creation of a true work of art comes partly as a gift to the artist, and many artists feel that way about their creations.

Hyde [Lewis Hyde, author of the book “The Gift. Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World”] argues that looking at such a work of art conveys an awareness of that gift to the beholder.

That makes it art instead of an everyday commodity: We are touched by it gift-like, in a way that has no direct relation with the price we paid for museum entry or even ownership.

Thus many artists feel grateful that talents and inspiration have been bestowed upon them. They feel the urge to share the results with their environment, and their gift is reciprocated through public attention, admiration, official prizes, and, to some extent, through money to account for their daily costs of living.

There are XIPs who consider their uncommon intelligence somehow as a gift; they certainly did not ask for it at birth.

Others may consider it an act of God, a weird trick of fate, a cosmic joke or a genetic inevitability. But in all cases there is most often a drive to do something special with it, a sense of mission, even when the mission itself is far from understood as yet.

> From article Is it a Gift to be Uncommon? by Willem Kuipers.

Book: Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon: Extra Intelligent, Intense, and Effective
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Originally posted 2011-02-15 21:54:20.


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