Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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How Can You Be Too Much And Not Enough At The Same Time?

photo courtesy of Joshua Earle, Unsplash

How is it possible to be both too much and not enough at the same time?

Here’s how:

Reasons you think that you are too much:

You question too much. You read too much. You think too much. You feel too much. You talk too much. You research too much. You do too much. You know too much.

You are too intense. Too sensitive. Too empathetic. Too curious. Too obsessive. Too smart. Too geeky. Too emotional. Too self-absorbed. Too compassionate. Too introspective. Too intuitive. Too analytical. Too creative. Too idealistic. Too weird.

Reasons you think that you are not enough:

You’ll never meet your high expectations. You know how much you don’t know. You haven’t won a Nobel prize. You haven’t invented anything “insanely great.” You dropped out of college. You dropped out of elementary school. You couldn’t save your parents from their dysfunctional patterns. You have too many interests. You haven’t settled on one career. You don’t have friends. Your mother said so. You haven’t lived up to “your great potential.” You’re easily overwhelmed. Your friends do so much more than you do. Your gifted child is getting bad grades in school and hitting kids on the playground. You make mistakes.

What is the truth?

If you have a rainforest mind, which you know you do, pretty much everything about you is MORE. It’s not too much. It’s just more. It’s natural for the jungle to be more. More life. More death. More growth. More wild. More you.

But not everyone is comfortable in the jungle. And your moreness probably includes massive amounts of self-analysis, self-criticism and self-awareness.

Which leads you to. You guessed it. Not enoughness.

How paradoxical of you.

Lucky that you have a rainforest mind so that you can appreciate paradox.

And what do you do about it?

Here’s an idea from one of our lovely bloggEEs:

“…I think it’s “ok” to be too much, but have come to understand that the mainstream sometimes needs it organized, categorized, and occasionally drip-fed to be palatable. Sort of a form of self-curation, a rotation of the collections… even the world’s greatest museums don’t have their entire collections on display…”

And here’s another idea from the great rainforest mind of Maya Angelou:

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

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To my bloggEEs: Do you struggle with too muchness and not enoughness? How do you handle it? Thank you to the reader who made the above comment and to the reader who inspired this post. Comments are greatly appreciated by all of us. Please. Show us your collection. We can handle it.

And if you’re looking for more support and strategies and haven’t read my book yet, well, what are you waitin’ fer??? And if you have read my book, thank you. Let us know your thoughts.


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To Achieve Or Not To Achieve — That Is The Question

photo courtesy of Juan Ramos, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of Juan Ramos, Unsplash, CC

What does it mean to achieve or to be successful?

You’re smart, so you’re a high achiever, right?

Maybe. Not necessarily.

And what is a high achiever anyway?

And then. More questions:

What is a reasonable expectation for your particular abilities and interests? Where can you find adequate feedback? If you’re proud of something you achieve does that make you arrogant? How do you deal with accolades when something was easy for you to achieve; do you feel guilty or undeserving? Does praise for your achievements feel empty? Are you always expected to achieve but the pressure makes your brain turn to jello? Have you decided that it’s easier to go underground rather than risk achievement or risk not meeting expectations? How do you help your kids find a real achievement experience in school if their academic needs aren’t being met? Where do you even begin when there’s so much suffering everywhere you look?

To achieve or not to achieve.

It’s a good thing that you’re smart so you can manage living in this jungle. It’s intense. So many mosquitoes  questions.

Here’s a place to start: You’re asking these questions because your ability to think, understand and process complex ideas is fast, deep and wide. You are not being too dramatic or too sensitive or too obsessive or too self-absorbed. These are real concerns. And the answers will require thinking time, research, chocolate and conversations with others who understand what it means to have a rainforest mind.

Here are some places to look for answers:

Intergifted.com — an online resource for gifted adults; classes, Facebook group, coaching

Paula Wilkes Coaching and Consulting — a coach with many years of experience in gifted education and in working with gifted children and adults, including 2e issues

GHF Press and GHF bloggers — an organization supporting parents of gifted/2e children (particularly homeschoolers) and gifted adults, the publisher of my book

Hoagiesgifted.org — an online website with a gazillion articles and resources, blog hops from parents and professionals

SENGifted.org — an organization supporting the social-emotional needs of gifted kids and adults through articles, webinars and conferences

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth available now to order at Amazon.com and your favorite independent bookstore by Paula Prober (that would be me)

The Gifted Adult by Mary-Elaine Jacobsen

And, of course, inside your own compassionate intuitive heart.

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To my bloggEEs: This is such a complicated topic. What are your thoughts and questions about achievement and success? What other resources are you aware of? Your comments make my blog so much richer! Thank you for sharing. (And if you’re feeling distressed about recent events, my post on sensitivity and compassion is here. Sending you love.)

 

 


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If You Haven’t Achieved Greatness, Can You Be Gifted?

photo courtesy of Cam Adams, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of Cam Adams, Unsplash, CC

Here it is. That pesky old question. You’ve heard it. You grapple with it.

If you aren’t a high achiever, can you be gifted? If your achievements aren’t “great,” can you be gifted? If your work isn’t “insanely great,” might you not be gifted but just insane? (You may not have heard of that last question. I made it up. Just now.)

Then you wonder: What constitutes high achieving? What is greatness? Who decides? What does it mean to be gifted? Does it matter if you know that you’re gifted? What if you think you’re gifted, but you really aren’t?

Oh boy. More questions. If you ask the most questions, does that make you gifted?

Here are some things to think about. (You like to think, right? Does that make you gifted?)

High achievement, in itself, might not be a sign of giftedness. It could just be an indication of hard work, deliberate practice, a point of view, nepotism, or your family’s trust fund. It could also be a sign of giftedness.

Greatness. Even harder to explain than high achievement. You don’t have to be gifted to do great things. You could be but you don’t have to be. See what the researcher David Shenk says about it:

“People are not doomed to mediocrity, as conventional wisdom suggests. No one can really know his or her true limits before applying enormous resources and investing vast amounts of time. Greatness is something to which any kid—of any age—can aspire.”

So what are we left with? How do we decide who’s gifted? Do we need to? And, assuming that achievement and greatness are desirable, how do you get there?

First: If you have many of these rainforest traits, odds are pretty darned good that you’re gifted. Then: There are many reasons why you may not be accomplishing what you or others expect. Some of the reasons are described here and here. It’s complicated. Finally: Knowing that you are gifted will help you stop pathologizing these traits so that you can get on with being who you are meant to be. Doing what you’re here to do. Achieving greatness.

Your version.

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To my blogEEs: How do you deal with the pressures to achieve and to be “great?” Were you called an underachiever when you were a kid? Do you still feel that way? Have you been successful as an adult? How? What’s that been like? What would you like to achieve? Looking at events in the world, do you feel an urgency to contribute? Thank you for reading and commenting. You all have so much wisdom to share.

 

 


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Pressure, Paralysis And Your Great Potential

photo courtesy of Unsplash Jayakumar Ananthan CC

photo courtesy of Unsplash Jayakumar Ananthan CC

Have people repeatedly accused you of not living up to your potential? Were you called an underachiever when your grades in school were not A’s? Are people shocked and disappointed that you didn’t become a Nobel prize winning neurosurgeon? Are you convinced that all of the talk of giftedness was not meant for you and your real IQ test must’ve been eaten by aliens?

Yes? Then, you must be suffering from High Potential Deficit Disorder. (HPDD)

HPDD is a common malady among humans who are super smart but don’t perform up to a standard that society decides equals greatness or eminence. Onset of the condition is usually during early school years when paralysis sets in from an overdose of dullness due to too many worksheets and not enough actual learning. HPDD worsens if you were told, directly or indirectly, that your accomplishments were what made you lovable and worthwhile. 

HPDD can be particularly intense when accompanied by other conditions such as ADHD, SPD (sensory processing disorder), anxiety or depression. Symptoms include: extreme pressure to be smart or right at all times, eventual avoidance of situations that might be intellectually challenging, chronic loss of curiosity and effervescence, FDE (fear of disappointing everyone), FBM (fear of being misunderstood), and FOB (fear of boredom).

What can you do if you suffer from HPDD?

Decide for yourself how to define achievement. Write your own treatise on what makes a human successful. Record in your journal your memories of what was said about your potential and feel your feelings as you write. Then, design a plan to live according to your own assessment of a life worth living.

If your HPDD feels overwhelming, unmanageable or destructive, there may be another co-existing condition. You may have GUCP. Growing Up with Chainsaw Parents. In that case, find a therapist– One who loves rainforest minds and understands the predicament — the pressure and paralysis of your great potential.

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To my dear blogEEs: Were you told how much potential you had and how you weren’t living up to it? What was that like? What did you do? Does it still affect you? How have you dealt with it? Thank you, as always, for your insight, sensitivity and kindness.

This post is part of a collection of great posts on “other achieving.” To read more click on the link.  12642533_10207269014896228_7155678351495096720_n


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If I’m So Smart, Why Aren’t I Successful?

photo by Kevin T. Houle, creative commons, Flickr

photo by Kevin T. Houle, creative commons, Flickr

Smart people are rich and famous. They win Nobel Prizes and Genius Grants. They’re high achievers and arrogant. They don’t waste time on the little people. Right?

Wrong.

Well, OK. I guess that some smart people are all of the above. Or parts of the above. Maybe your Uncle Charlie. But how many are, say, none of the above? And if you are one of the none of the above, do you believe that you just aren’t all that smart? Do you think that you’ve fooled everyone only because you happen to be witty every once in a while, and people are so darned gullible? Do you believe that you’re really an impostor? In fact, most days you’re a total failure for now and all eternity?

But: What is success, anyway? What makes a successful life? Is it some grand achievement? What is achievement? Some people refer to “greatness.” What exactly is that anyway?

Oh boy. I think I’m getting in way over my head with all of these questions. This is a blog. A little itty bitty blog. Not a dissertation.

Speaking of dissertation, I never did get that PhD. Did I mention that I took Argentine tango lessons instead? Does that mean that I’m a total failure for now and all eternity?

(Note: Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m not really using myself as an example. After all, I’m barely g-g-gifted. But it’s just so convenient. So hang in there with me.)

(Another note: Yes, I do realize the irony in the fact that I’m writing about giftedness and impostor issues and I’m telling you that I’m not really really gifted when it comes right down to it. My qualifications come from years of teaching gifted kids in schools and now counseling gifted adults. I’m really good at it. But I can’t explain why. And stop looking at me like that.)

Back to the tango.

photo by Elvin, creative commons, Flickr

photo by Elvin, creative commons, Flickr

What if success and achievement have to do with something other than college degrees and how many rockets you’ve fired into space? I mean those things are nice but what if your compassion is an achievement? What if finding your authentic voice or stopping the cycle of abuse in your family qualifies as success? What if parenting sweet, loving, empathetic humans counts as greatness?

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t win a Nobel Prize or shoot rockets into space. That’s OK, too. What I’m saying is that I want you to use that rainforest mind of yours in a way that has meaning for you and for others, maybe even for the planet.

And I want you to rethink what success really is. Maybe you already have it. And consider that if you feel like an impostor it’s not because you are one. It’s because you aren’t one.

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To my blogEEs: How do you define success? What are your experiences with impostor syndrome? Share your thoughts, feelings, questions and insights. Please. Your comments are meaningful to everyone who reads this blog.