Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


Do you have a rainforest mind?

Take the following totally, completely and utterly unscientific quiz to find out.

image6• Like the rain forest, are you intense, multilayered, colorful, creative, overwhelming, highly sensitive, complex, idealistic, and influential?

• Are you misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and mysterious?

• Like the rain forest, have you met too many chainsaws?

• Do people tell you to lighten up when you are just trying to enlighten them?

• Are you overwhelmed by breathtaking sunsets, itchy clothes, strong perfumes, clashing colors, bad architecture, buzzing that no one else hears, angry strangers, needy friends, or global hunger?

• Do you see ecru, beige, and sand where others see only white?

• Do you spend hours looking for the exact word, precise flavor, smoothest texture, right note, perfect gift, finest color, most meaningful discussion, fairest solution, or deepest connection?

• Have you ever called yourself ADHD because you are easily distracted by new ideas or intricate cobwebs, or OCD because you alphabetize your home library or color-code your sweaters, or bipolar because you go from ecstasy to despair in 10 minutes?

• Are you passionate about learning, reading, and research, yet perplexed, perturbed, and perspiring about schooling?

• Do your intuition and empathy tell you what family members, neighbors, and stray dogs think, feel, or need even before they know what they think, feel, or need?

• Do you find decision-making about your future career and deciding what color to paint the bedroom equally daunting due to the deluge of possibilities assaulting your frontal lobes?

• Are your favorite spiritual conversations the ones you have with trees, rocks, and babbling brooks?

• Does your worth depend on your achievements, so that if you make a mistake or do not perform up to your standards, you feel like an utter failure as a human being now and forever more?

• Do you crave intellectual stimulation and are you desperate to find even one person who is fascinated by fractals or thrilled by theology?

• Are you embarrassed to tell your family and friends that you find it easier to fall in love with ideas than with people?

• Have you ruminated about the purpose of life and your contribution to the betterment of humanity since you were young?

• Do you get blank, confused stares from people when you think you have just said something really funny?

• Are people awestruck at what you can accomplish in a day, but if they knew the real you, they would see that you are actually a lazy, procrastinating, slacking impostor?

• Are you afraid of: failure/success, losing/winning, criticism/praise, mediocrity/excellence, stagnation/change, not fitting in/fitting in, low expectations/high expectations, boredom/intellectual challenge, not being normal/being normal?

• Do you long to drive a Ferrari at top speed on the open road, but find yourself always stuck on the freeway in L.A. during rush hour?

• Do you love skipping down new sensual paths and exploring imaginary worlds to discover beautiful connections between fascinating objects, words, ideas, or images?

• Do you wonder how you can feel like “not enough” and “too much” at the same time?

• Are you uncomfortable with the label “gifted,” and sure that if you were to use the word as a descriptor of people with some sort of advanced intelligence—which you would not because it is so offensive—that it certainly would not apply to you.

If you answered “yes” to at least 12 of the above questions, you likely have a rainforest mind. If you ruminated about the answers to many of these questions and often thought “it depends,” you, too, fit the profile.


(from my book Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth) ProberGuide_CoverCROP_72dpi_4web

185 thoughts on “THE QUIZ

  1. This is so me. I am so lucky to have a teacher at my school that told me this. I am not alone and now I understand myself!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. American society’s obsession with competition attaches a degree of social stigma to words like “bright” and “smart.” Saying “I’m gifted” might as well be saying “I’m a pretentious jerk!” As sensitive people, we learn pretty early to try to hide or minimize our gifted traits to get along with others, but that type of behavior can easily lead a person to think that what they’re hiding is bad. We end up fearing that “living up to our potential” will alienate our friends, but being so conscientious to contribute leaves us feeling guilty for “failing” to do so. I want to connect deeply with others but fear the scope and intensity of my inner world will frighten them away–since it sometimes feels overwhelming to me! I am excited to explore your site and your book, both of which I am glad to have finally discovered.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Wow, I experience/relate to all of these! I never knew all of these feelings, desires, and characteristics I have are all related! How exciting! Thanks for this awesome blog and book! But I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself to be gifted. Any tips for finding/embracing my “gift”? Thanks so much 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for writing, cbrock. For now, just read more posts on the blog and my book. There are many tips in those places. If you’re already read them, another excellent book is The Gifted Adult by Jacobsen.


  4. oh my God! I was in tears halfway through. I was diagnosed “gifted” as a child and found out it was more a curse than a blessing. When I tell this to others they look at me like I’m some sort of self righteous freak. I finally felt recognized when reading this quiz. Feeling too much and not enough at the same time….. arguing with people about shades of colors that are clearly there. I’m also frustrated with my own insatiable need to read every book on the planet about philosophy, religion, and psychology and this started as a child. Oh my! I need this book.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Paula,

    I recently found out that I am a gifted person in my mid 40’s while escaping a brutally abusive marriage. If it were not for that incident, I probably never felt the need for searching of who I am. It seems that my life has a pattern of searching for my self identity whenever abuse overpowered my balance and peace in life and this time, the level of search reached the identification of gifted talented and creative adult “diagnosed”? by professionals and recognized by few more… However, I am feeling the need that I must own my reality of being the marginal population of the bell curve instead of the mean of the bell curve who can be very mean to the either margins who are minorities.

    At times, I wonder how to survive this world full of non-rain forest minded society while innately rain forest minded.
    I wonder how to reconstruct my life to be a fully independent person.
    Rather than a lot of books and passive reading, at times, I would like person to person interactions in the rainforest arena and it feels more like the oasis in the dessert.
    Sometimes, I wonder if it is the right thing to feel afraid to let my wings open in fear of envious ones in tantrums. I wish I can let my lungs have the fuller airway for refreshing deep breath instead of slouching on purpose just to save my head from being scratched against a low ceiling. Not sure where I can be happy without feeling as if I am in hiding.
    Thank you for listening and posting your blog.

    I will continue to read your book and become more familiar with feelings of identification. It is still brand new to me.
    Enjoy a beautiful day~

    Liked by 1 person

  6. About 18 and the rest “it depends”, but am I “gifted”. I wish I could know for sure. I really don´t feel very intelligent, everybody else seems more intelligent than me. Yes I have a masters degree and I´m a qualifed teacher and speak 3 languages but I had to put quite a lot of work. I love having deep pholosopical conversations but I´m an expert in nothing and normally everybody else just reply by shutting me down with their knowledge (except other wannabe philosophers who don´t care about expertise but the exercise of philosophy). I struggle to write down my ideas in an orderly fashion and to express what´s in my head, normally hundreds of things at once. As soon as I open my mouth to say what I want to say and that look so great to me, I just seem to forget how to talk and half of what I wanted to say, so nothing sounds that great any longer. I hate arbitrary rules and oppressive laws that are supposed to be for “the greater good” and have a hard time accepting life as it is. I am very respectful of rules that makes sense to me and of others though and hate not being respected in the same way or when rules aren’t followed. I have lots of sensory issues that make my life difficult and stressful but it seems not so difficult as to be considered a problem. I live in my own head a lot. Sometimes I take things too literally and fail to see second intentions even though I am also very good at reading others, but not always. Are all this contradictions normal? Is my tested child even “gifted”? Pshychologist said yes but she just barely touched the “passing score” and it´s not the obvious “genius”. But everything you explain, and the rainforest mind analogy makes me feel like finally someone gets me. Maybe a label isn´t that important. However it is to me, to know myself better, to not let others misdiagnose me or mislabel me. But what can you do when you can´t afford testing? I can’t go thinking I am something without being 100 % sure because I just always need to know the full truth. I think most things in life are grey but when it comes to me I only see black or white. Do I make any sense?

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s normal to have contradictions and complexity, Laura. Testing in only so useful. I don’t recommend it. There can be so many variables influencing the results. Maybe you don’t have to use the label gifted but you can definitely agree that you have a rainforest mind. Then you can determine what that means for you. Which traits resonate? Try and get to the grey when it comes to yourself!


    • Yes. Because you just described me as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, there are some definite truths about me here!
    I knew I was a highly sensitive introvert when I read about that in Introvert, Dear.. and now this makes a whole lot of sense when it comes to my thought processes as well!
    Do you have any suggestions regarding how to study? I’m trying to major in nutrition and one thing I have a hard time with is keeping true to my goals cause I’m such a lazy procrastinator.. a person who tends to give all or nothing.
    How do you not be afraid of things like failure / success? I have a hard time getting through that barrier. I want to be perfect and facing the fact that I might not perform perfectly for people is hard. and if I succeed, I don’t want to be drowned in praise. I don’t want praise.. I want to be deeply appreciated for who I am. If that makes any sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It makes total sense. I write about procrastination, perfectionism, failure/success, etc. here on the blog. So that’s the place to start. Keep reading. These things are complex so there aren’t any easy answers, as I’m sure you know. My book goes into greater depth on these topics. The chapter on Perfectionism might be a big help. OK? I’m glad you found me on Introvert Dear. Good to have you here.


  8. Hi Paula,

    I only recently found out I am a highly sensitive Introvert and like some other commentators here I’m such a procrastinator – and extremely perfectionistic at the same time.
    Basically, I want to succeed, but I don’t like praise and attention (of people I don’t care about)…

    Anyway, I could handle this dichotomy so far, but lately it got out of hand.
    For example: I wrote my bachelor thesis in the last three days before the deadline – and still got a “Sehr gut” (an A).
    And that’s my problem: I’m too good in compensating my procrastination and now it’s getting even worse.

    I know this sounds crazy and there may be people out there who would be thankful for being this productive in this short amount of time, but I’m really stressed and scared of the day I won’t study at all, just to fail. Because I think I kind of feel guilty for being more “successful” or “better” as some of my friends call it.
    Do you have any advice for me to stop feeling guilty and stop procrastinating?

    Please excuse my English (it’s not my mother language and I haven’t used it since my graduation in 2014) and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Procrastination is complicated, particularly because it’s connected to perfectionism. A great book is Procrastination by Burka and Yuen. It goes into the complexity of it. It doesn’t address giftedness directly, as I recall, but a lot of it is applicable. Also, I’ve written about it more on the blog is you type “procrastination” or “perfectionism” into the search engine. Thanks for sharing!


  9. I have been told I am gifted. It is more of a burden than a blessing as people tell me I am too abstract and theoretical. I am very ideational, strategic, and intellectual. At work I feel like I can never be myself. I am not completely introverted but at work I am becoming so…it is survival mechanism…I feel like I tried very hard to adapt to other people, but they can’t see to accept my personality and the lens through which I view the world…I am started not to care about this at all so I suppose it is ok…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I got 10 yes’s and 11 no’s. Might I suggest a new quiz? Because I definitely had a RFM as a kid and teen, even 20s, but now in 30s, I have balanced out.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve a question. I’ve looked at the list of the characteristics of adult autistic females, and they are strikingly similar to those you list here. Especially the characteristics of Aspergian females. I forwarded this list to many of the members of (an autism forum) and… what do you know, a lot of the people there could identify with this list very well.

    In your honest opinion what’s the difference between having a rain forest mind and having the mind of an autistic/aspergian? Are they just two separate terms for describing the same phenomenon?

    Like your posts, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are some overlapping traits but they are definitely different. Certainly the aspergian has the advanced intelligence. And certain sensitivities. I haven’t studied the females in particular so can’t give you a detailed response. But I’m guessing you’d find differences when it came to the capacity to read social cues and understand them and respond to them, understand metaphors and subtle humor, have considerable empathy, consider various opinions and openness to change. Things that would fit in the social-emotional category. Perhaps some others who know more can chime in here. Sorry I can’t be more specific, Toren. (some on the forum may have mislabeled themselves aspergian when they may be RFMs??)


  12. Thank you Love thank

    Liked by 1 person

  13. On one hand, I tend to call ‘unscientific psychology’ pop-psychology and I don’t like it much. On the other hand, your blog touches me like I’ve rarely been by said pop-psycho, and these series of questions are all but a few painfully accurate depictions of my state of mind. Thank you for reminding me I’m far from being alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Paula…how are you…I actually face criticism from people and have a very eccentric relationship with my imaginations…but I am below average in science , mathematics and logic… I also have a low memory power…and inability to take strong decisions with an introverted lost-in-thought personality and I have a fear of stentorian voices authority violence abuse threats insensitive comments and people who hate me for my rebellious non-conformist opinions and I don’t feel so good about life…I just feel like being transported to a world where I can better connect with strange flavors of unusual illogical irrational metaphors…do you think I am dumb…? I know I have a low IQ but still I love the strangeness of my whole being and I don’t want to change or be forced to change…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, Chethi, I’m not able to make an assessment, not knowing you. But if you connect with many of the quiz questions, it could mean that you have a rainforest mind! IQ isn’t the only measure of intelligence.


  15. Hello Paula its nice to meet you…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Me to a T !

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I have tears in my eyes. My whole life has been spent trying to be dumb (I am only realizing this now) so that my mom and sister would like me. I remember one time as a kid thinking how superficial and stupid their concerns were but was met with so much anger I never judged them again. As a matter of fact I convinced myself that they must be right and that I was wrong. As I got older I hid all my curiosity because I felt “stupid” for the stuff I thought about. I also discounted my intuition because how can anyone “know” without data. I actually didnt do that great in school because it was boring and had no meaning to me. I would have NEVER considered myself “gifted” until I found this article. I feel so guilty for judging someone privately in my mind but my lack of discernment has led me to accept and stay in bad relationships. Could I actually be smart??? This is so contrary to my self image but could be the reason I struggle so much with cognitive dissonance.
    Thank you….

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I am so happy that I came to know about the concept of “rainforest mind”. I now find it easier to tell people and myself that I am not as strange as I they/myself thought I was for I am just someone with a “rainforest mind”. After all;” It isnt that simple in the rainforest…”. Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hey, maybe don’t misuse mental health labels (ADHD, OCD, bipolar) if you’re trying to convince people you’re a good authority on intelligence? I feel like using those terms in such a frivolous way is a sign of less intelligence, if anything. Those conditions are serious, and should be treated as seriously as any other health condition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your feedback, Liu. These are serious conditions and my intention is not to diminish that. What I’m saying is that there are times when RFMs are misdiagnosed with these conditions. At the same time, there are many folks who are twice-exceptional who can be both gifted and ADHD, etc. So it’s not simple for sure. I apologize if I’ve offended you.


  20. Ummmm… This is on point and a bit scary at too! LoL but I’m glade to know more about me and my personality RFM I embrace …. Me.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow, interested in finding out more! Where can we get book?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The easiest place to get the book is on Thanks, Shelley! If you click on the photo of the book on my homepage, it should take you right there. If you’re not in the US, you may have an Amazon in your country. Of course, you can also order it from an independent bookstore, Barnes and Noble, or Powells Books!


  22. I feel this applies to me, then again, I feel under qualified, … yet enough, not enough…
    Learning, through books, articles, blogs, you tubes. Not educated in the schooling sense, but always learning. Feeling things deeply. So much applies, yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I wish I could counsel with you directly! I have so many passions and talents and so little time to pursue them I become overwhelmed and depressed at times. I have recently set about producing music videos 2-4 times a year with music I’ve written and I’m also a dance teacher. These barely satiate me. I long for other adults I can dream with and collaborate with on large scale projects without scaring people away!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I am not gifted, but 14 apply to me for sure. I’m not sure what you mean by some of the questions.

    Liked by 1 person

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