Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

THE QUIZ

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

310 thoughts on “THE QUIZ

  1. I cried while reading this. Thank you, thank you, thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I relate to all 22 of the examples. What a relief to discover I am not simply fighting with my heart & my head all the time, nor am I odd or difficult. I am truly blessed, and have a lovely new goal of embracing, sharing and managing my newfound superpower, previously referred to as a ‘curse’. I feel as though, at 55 years of age, I have a brand new life ahead of me! Thank you! I can’t wait to read Rainforest Mind!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This really hit home for me. I’ve spent all my life feeling different or weird…glad to know I’m not alone

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “• 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?”

    I was thinking — autistic because you infodump on your favorite topics? 🙂

    Thanks again for responding to my panicked contact the other day. I think it’s going to be okay!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, I should add Aspergers to the list for that reason for sure. Thanks, Meg. And I’m glad you’re going to be OK!

      Like

      • For the past 3 years I’ve been feeling totally like I have Asperger’s. Now that I’ve found out what giftedness is, I’m not so sure anymore, so many things are in common. What are some main differences to tell the 2 apart??

        Liked by 1 person

        • There are clear differences. One would be your ability to understand social cues, to know when someone else is upset or angry or tired, etc. Aspies usually miss social cues. Another is that you understand metaphors and symbolic language. AS is usually very literal. Similarities can be sensitivities to sounds, textures, smells, etc. And diving deeply into interests. With AS, there is usually too much sharing of passions and lack of awareness when the listener isn’t interested. I’m not an expert in the area of autism spectrum issues but you can do some research at http://www.sengifted.org for more details. Many people are confused by this!

          Like

  5. Oh boy, there I am. In just about every quiz question. What hit me between the eyes was “itchy clothes”. As a child I refused to wear wool. The texture drove me out of my mind! I am both relieved and terrified by this revelation for myself. I suffer from analysis paralysis — so many ideas and overwhelmed by which path to pursue. I am a great starter, a finisher — not so much. I get easily distracted (Husband jokingly nicknamed me Dory, the fish from Finding Nemo)… Added pressure of being 53 (married and parent to 3 teens). One of the most painful things ever said about me came from my father-in-law who shared with my husband that he thought I was “floundering”. Gut punch! So, there’s that. I will start with your book and reading the blog. Thank you for your work!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Have you ever considered the overlap with ADHD? I see the comment about “saying you’re so ADHD” (which is hurtful to people who have ADHD) but there has been a very obvious overlap with myself and many of my friends with ADHD who also process the world this way. I’m noticing a very large overlap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are definitely people who are RFMs and also ADHD. They are what are called twice exceptional or 2e. And there are gifted traits that can look like ADHD but are not. Multiple interests and nonlinear learners who are easily bored and don’t finish one thing before starting another can be misdiagnosed. Kids who are advanced in school and distracted because they are not being challenged can look ADHD. I’m sorry if there was a hurtful comment that I missed. I don’t write much about ADHD or other exceptionalities because I don’t have a lot of experience with them. But I have had a few clients who struggle with ADHD for sure. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ok, so I answered and pondered deeply on all of those examples… now what? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s so me!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi there

    I’ve listened to you speak on your work on a couple of podcasts and it’s fascinating! In one you mention this quiz so I’ve read through it a few times. For years I’ve been thinking about my own abilities so I thought I’d try it. It’s really interesting to me because I can’t answer a single one! I keep wondering about the answers. My brain sorta short circuits and I can’t think of definitive answers…..🤓

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Words to my feelings! And accurately so. I have often doubted i am autistic for the above mentioned reasons, although technically i’m told i’m ‘fine’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • There can be overlap with some gifted traits and Aspergers which can be confusing for folks. But there are also very clear differences. And if someone is twice-exceptional, they can be on the autism spectrum (Aspergers) and intellectually gifted.

      Like

  11. I’m glad I found this website. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable calling myself gifted, but relate to this list a lot. I actually stumbled upon the site after (in one day) I saw a couple of people I knew labeling themselves as gifted. So, I entered something weird about giftedness into Google to see what would happen and found this site. Can’t wait to read your books!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. holy frick,
    I really thought I have some weird mental illness that is a combination of ADHD, OCD, and bipolar depression(i know that sounds dumb)

    thank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is all me but honestly the descriptor of ‘gifted’ is not at all me. I feel more useless than anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Two comment-y questions.
    1) Could you reformat this page so the reader can apply a check mark to a tick box by each item? I was a bit miffed when I got to the end and it said “If you answered “yes” to at least 12 of the above questions” and I felt compelled to go back and count, necessitating doing the quiz a 2nd time and pondering some questions even more.

    2) I think I meet 2/3+ of the designators, but I also wonder “doesn’t EVERYONE?” I can’t imagine a person who in their heart-of-hearts doesn’t think at least half of these apply, particularly since the ones which aren’t “me” must be many other people. So, I feel like I’ve encountered a webmarketer selling wondermops at 2a.m. and suddenly I’m agreeing with everything and reaching for my credit card…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I probably won’t reformat the quiz. And, no, not everyone has these traits. Really! Although your response is something I’ve heard from others. And if I start selling wondermops, I’ll let you know! 🙂

      Like

  15. I’m reading this, late at night, letting the biggest sigh of relief out because I was on the verge of feeling like I was going absolutely insane and researching why me (an HSP which I already knew) is struggling so much with feeling like I’m not good enough and feeling like too much at the same time. I’m a Highly Sensitive Person with a Rainforest Mind. Who would’ve thought? But as I’ve gone through this quiz and read different articles on RFMs, I can’t help but suddenly feel so safe and understood. There was a comment that said they also felt that they were some weird mix of ADHD, OCD, and Bipolar…SAME! But, my mind is just a little more complex than the “normal” mind and now I can start to take the steps into accepting this gift that I have. Thank you so, so much for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. almost everything applies to me but how can I be gifted when I don’t even get the highest grades this year and so many others even those I used to top all the time started getting better than me I love reading researching I even love languages and sciences but I don’t believe I am gifted especially when I feel others around me are getting better grades while I used to get the highest grades did I just get less smart or did they get smarter I am not envious I just know I always got better than the grades I get this year . honestly, the word gifted or smart daunts me because I really want to be that but don’t know if I am and thinking I may be not smart annoys me

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amelia. I think you wrote this comment twice so I’m just posting this one. One idea is that high grades are not necessarily a sign of giftedness,. They can be– but some gifted kids don’t score well on tests, don’t complete homework, or choose not to complete assignments for various reasons. If you find yourself answering “yes” to many of the quiz questions and if many of my posts resonate with you, there’s a good chance you have a rainforest mind.

      Like

  17. It’s like living in technicolour and surround sound when everyone around me is living in black and white. There’s a quote in one of my favourite books that says something like the whole bloody world is crowded with absences. I feel that. The absences are deafening.

    I’m exhausted from holding back but I’ve got no idea what else to do. Every time I let go even a fragment I’m too much: “too smart”, “too intense”, “too passionate”(all direct quotes). The word quirky follows me around like a dog.

    I don’t even think I’m especially clever or anything. I just don’t get why people seem so wilfully obtuse about what’s right in front of them a lot of the time.

    The world is full of these amazing weird and wonderful things, you know? The golden ratio and shamanism, poetry and altered states of consciousness, mythology and anthropology and symbolism and semiotics of colour and how different combinations and patterns of letters can catapult you into ecstasy and despair.

    And there’s all the terrible things too like FGM, and violence and murders and the way we grossly abuse animals and our natural world and it feels sometimes like that can just squash you flat. Every action we take is like an indelible footprint and sometimes I think back on my indelible footprints and how much I’ve inadvertently harmed just by existing and it leaves me breathless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ABSOLUTELY 100% RELATE TO EVERY WORD SAID HERE! I have to work hard to conserve my energy, I find, since everything moves me so!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this beautiful description of what it’s like to have a rainforest mind. Just a thought: People seem to be “willfully obtuse” but it may be that your RFM actually sees what they don’t actually see/know/feel.

      Like

      • I’m 89% sure you’re right and yet, these things are so obvious. I’m loath to say “maybe they can’t” because I’ll have to forgive them for their inability to see, and everything else that stems from it and I’m not sure I want to. I don’t want to be the one who has to give. Why do I have to meet them where they are? Why FOR ONCE can’t they meet me where I am?

        Liked by 1 person

        • It is so frustrating and painful to always be the one giving. And this is not unusual in the RFM world. This is why it’s important to keep looking for other RFMs who can meet you where you are or who can even get ahead of you!

          Liked by 1 person

  18. I used to fit this criteria, or thought I did, before abuse burnt me to a crisp. I’m hoping the rainforest can reflourish, shoot by shoot, tendril by tendril…

    What a lovely description of a mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Paula,

    I am writing this comment in the hope that it reaches you. I can see that you have liked or responded to most of the comments on this page, so I feel that there is a good chance that you may read this.

    I was wondering if I could get your advice on the matter of high+ giftedness.

    To make better sense of the problem I will just provide a bit of background information. Despite being identified as gifted by a government standardized assessment in grade 3, I had no idea that giftedness meant anything more than a test score, until about 3 years ago. I was actually just beginning my recovery from depression when I stumbled upon your website. It was the first time I had ever encountered a complex model of giftedness, in fact, I had not even thought about giftedness in years. Your post, along with a few other key peices of literature, began my journey into human psychology. It is not that I had not thought about psychology before, but that I had never held it in such esteem. I never knew just how much essential truth was held in the field of psychology. Of course, the same lense was later pointed towards philosophy, which held just as much if not more essential truth. Ignoring the broader multivariable implications, your post set my sights upon giftedness as a model for explaining the differences in experience that I percive between myself and others. Fast forward three years. I have developed my logical reasoning capability to a far higher degree, and built my own theories and, even further, models regarding philosophy and psychology. I have also extended this understanding to many more areas. Yet, I have never been able to quite, for lack of better word, “nail” a model that explains the full breadth and depth of difference in experience. Giftedness did not prove to be fully adequate; consequently, I sought out other theories to supplement its shortcomings. Positive Disintegration was revolutionary. I had a hard time getting a hold of the full work, but when it arrived I devoured it quickly. I then set out to create a combined model to explain my differences in experience. Giftedness in conjunction with Positive Disintegration was initially very promising. Unfortunately, when I put myself in environments with other gifted individuals (online communities, Mensa, looking back to the gifted program, gifted programs in high school, etc.) I did not encounter the levels of Positive Disintegration that I predicted. In fact, I did not find a single individual who I felt sympathized “completely” (not an exact version of myself, but similar in the ways that matter). As I sifted through more and more gifted literature and communities the problem persisted.

    Eventually, I encountered a few resources that posited that the existence of multiple significantly different levels of giftedness was responsible for this discrepancy. In other words, what I hoped to find in the gifted population, I would supposedly find in the highly gifted population. (I neglect exceptionally or profoundly gifted bc those IQ brackets have not been scientifically supported). Unfortunately, I have not been able to find many reliable resources on high+ giftedness; especially its impact beyond mechanical achievement (which is the classic flawed societal perspective) or its presence in adults. This leads me to my question.

    What is your view on high+ giftedness? (Does it exist? Is it significant? (beyond scoring higher, does it designate a group with a dramatically different experince))

    If you are familiar with the term/feild/group, are there any resources that you can suggest? (nothing is too technical or complex)

    I would really appreciate anything you can offer.

    Finally, I am very grateful for your work; without it I may never have found the theory of giftedness, which I now consider indispensable to my understanding of psychology.

    Thank you for your time,

    GM

    Liked by 1 person

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