Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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If You Were Gifted, Wouldn’t You Be An Arrogant Know-It-All With Two PHDs in Astrophysics?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Click here to watch me pontificating (briefly) on the subject.

In case you do not want to watch me pontificate and you would rather read a more detailed version of my pontification, here ya go:

I have met a whole lot of gifted folks in my somewhat quirkified life. I realize this is unusual. But somehow I fell onto this career path when I was a youngster in my 20’s teaching in a public school. Colleagues noticed I was teaching in a somewhat unconventional way and suggested that gifted children would respond well to my flexible, creative, project-centered, self-paced, empathy-oriented classroom. Not really knowing what a gifted child was, I went for it anyway, and found a job teaching in a gifted pullout program in a middle school.

(photo Cancer Institute, Unsplash)

Those colleagues were right. It was my dream job. The kids were eager to learn, divergent thinkers, funny, sensitive, super smart, kind-hearted, and Star Wars and Shakespeare fanatics. None of them were arrogant know-it-alls. None of them. (although a few of them are likely to have PHDs now, maybe even in astrophysics)

Then, in my late 30’s, I left teaching to pursue my passion for all things psychotherapeutic. I had been a client in counseling for a while and found the process fascinating. Even though I was diving into the abyss of my somewhat miserable childhood, I loved the attention and companionship of a skillful, compassionate guide. I was determined to retrieve all of the pieces of my broken heart and live a more whole, authentic, meaningful, confident, make-a-difference life. It was a no-brainer, then, to go back to school for a counseling degree and start a private practice.

It became clear pretty quickly that I ought to specialize in working with gifted souls. They had particular traits, sensitivities, and experiences that required a finely tuned, informed, sensitive, and aware approach. I imagined that their tendencies to be introspective and their desires for depth, healing, insight, and transformation, would be a good match for my therapeutic style and interests.

I was right. Another dream job that fit my quirkified life well. Then, many years later, I started this blog. And because of the blog, I expanded my practice to include international consulting. And guess what? Still. No arrogant know-it-alls. After all these years. All around the world.

( Note: OK. I realize it is possible that gifted arrogant know-it-alls exist but don’t go to therapy or do not want to consult with me. It is possible. Or, perhaps, I have some magical powers that keep them at bay. So, there is that.)

But, if you are still not convinced, here is a little more proof. As you know, if you have been reading my blog for a while, the gifted humans I see still stumble over the G word. Many of them know how much they don’t know and do not realize how much they do know. They do not see their very high standards and expectations, their complex sensitivities, their creative thinking, and their rage to learn as indications of giftedness. And so, they prefer to describe themselves as rainforest-minded. It feels more appropriate, more equitable, and more descriptive. Not g-g-gifted. Just rainforest-minded.

Not arrogant. Not know-it-alled.

Pontification. Over and out.

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To my bloggEEs: What do you think? Do you agree? Are there arrogant know-it-alls in your life? Are they gifted? Have you heard about the study that looked at how quite intelligent people underestimate their capacities and less intelligent people overestimate their intelligence? That might account for some of the arrogance you run into. OK. I’m sure there is some gifted arrogant know-it-alling out there, y’all. Just not in the overwhelming numbers that the myth would have you believe. What other myths of giftedness are you aware of? Let us know your thoughts. And thank you, as always, for being here.

And, if you are interested in learning about your empathy and sensitivity, there is a Summit coming in November 15-19, 2021 sponsored by The Shift Network. I am one of the speakers! It is one of those events that is free to attend and then you can pay to have it permanently. The links here are affiliate.


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So Many Career Paths, So Little Time

“If I had 10 lives, I wouldn’t be able to do everything I wanted to.”

“My problem is I love to learn a job, then I optimize the job to do it in the fastest possible way, then I’m bored, and I want to move on to something else.”

“Sometimes, there are so many things that I want to do, it’s paralyzing and I end up doing nothing.”

Sound familiar? Could this be you? If it is, you may suffer from multipotentiality. A condition that afflicts many of the rainforest-minded. You may think that you are a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none or a dilettante; that you skim the surface and never dive.

Maybe.

But what if it’s just that you’re fascinated by anthropology and gardening and researching and mathematics and art history and sustainability and, well, you get the idea.

How do you choose? What gets left behind? How do you explain to your parents that you’re changing your college major for the fifth time? How do you explain to your friend Amy that you’re bereft because you have to choose engineering over music? How do you explain to yourself why you’re still working at Starbucks? How can such a smart person be so confused?

And how many times have you heard: Just pick something. Anything.

Oh boy.

You would if you could. It’s hard for others to understand that you love learning new things. And you learn them quickly. The possible career paths are overwhelming. Friends look at you quizzically, “This is a problem?” YES. It is. But how do you choose when you want to do it all? How do you choose when you’ll lose interest in a year? How do you explain that you’re not ungrateful but that you just have to avoid boredom at all costs?

This is how.

1. Refuse to Choose. This is the title of a book by Barbara Sher. She explains how you can craft a career plan that combines many of your interests. She provides examples and suggestions and understands your rainforest mind because she has one.

2. Go to empoweryou.com and read Zen and the Art of Making a Living. Laurence Boldt, the author says, “Make your work an expression of love in action.”  He provides resources for people wanting to have a positive impact on the world. He has powerful ideas and lots of fine philosophy.

3. For the poet in you, read David Whyte’s books on work. (Crossing the Unknown Sea–Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity) His ideas aren’t practical as much as they’re brilliant.

4. Go to rebelsatwork.com. Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina provide fabulous support for smart people working in the corporate world who are struggling with the inequities, ineptitudes, and injustices.

And finally, you can walk many paths over your lifetime. You have a right to a work life that is meaningful, purposeful and intellectually stimulating. And, as David Whyte says,“To wake the giant inside ourselves, we have to be faithful to our own eccentric nature, and bring it into conversation with the world.”

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