Reviewed by Marilyn Lane, California Association for the Gifted.
The author, Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, is a teacher, a therapist, and a researcher who states that, "This is a book about normalizing giftedness. My purpose is to show gifted adults how they can bring their gifts to fruition by fully expressing the very qualities that are the foundation of their personality." In the book she examines the five steps that need to be taken in order to bring this about.
Steps One and Two: Identify Thyself and Understand Thyself
It is the author's belief that there are two underlying components of giftedness: heightened receptivity and the urge to perfect. "The promise of high potential and creative intelligence is accompanied by a specific set of personality traits and inner processes--not simply more of some attributes, but an altogether different quality of thinking and experiencing. When put into place, it has the power to change everything."
These differences are intensity, complexity, and drive. Intensity is associated with sensitivity and energy, complexity with complex thinking and perceptivity, and drive with personal mission, urgency, and the need to perfect.
Step Three: Reveal Thyself
Many gifted adults were not identified as such when they were children and the author goes to great lengths to review the history of intelligence testing and debunk myths regarding giftedness. She looks at Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences and lists of gifted traits. She proposes another building block to be added to form a new model of human intelligence. She calls it Advanced Development and believes it acts as a keystone to lock together the fundamental elements on which evolutionary intelligence lies.
Ms. Jacobsen has created a rather complicated formula to determine one's Evolutionary Intelligence: EvI = MI + GT = AD. She offers the readers a self-profile and test to determine their own levels of evolutionary intelligence.
Step Four: Manage Thyself
Once you have identified and understood yourself to be an everyday genius, it is important to reveal yourself by reframing your qualities from the "liabilities " seen by others to the positives. As an example, the everyday genius viewed as too dramatic and sensitive should be acknowledged for empathy, compassion, and responsiveness, thereby arousing motivation and cooperation. Ms. Jacobsen lists Five Basic Truths About Giftedness and Ten Top Criticisms (to reframe). She goes into more depth in looking at the three big determinants of the everyday genius: intensity, complexity, and drive. She describes ways to manage these differences and examines their impact on relationships.
Step Five: Liberating Thyself
The author poses the question, "What does 'liberate thyself' mean for us?" It means "taking ourselves seriously, embracing our differences, maturing our choices from outer control to inner rule, and doing the work and making the sacrifices necessary to live from the inside out."
This publication will be of high interest to the gifted adults among us and to people seeking to further claim and understand their true nature. The book adds to our understanding of giftedness and its potential to affect our everyday world.
Permission to reprint has been granted by the California Association for the Gifted.
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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