At my first Beyond IQ, one of the other adults commented to me, that when you put a group of socially-awkward gifted kids in a room together, they will socialize and play, with few signs of awkwardness. That struck a cord with me, because I remember my own difficulties integrating into my school playground. It seemed like most of the other kids formed social groups and played well together effortlessly. Not without friction or conflict, but the basic process seemed organic. For me it wasn’t — I felt like socially, I had two left feet. Some kids played soccer… I didn’t know the rules, and I didn’t like to run, but I knew that the game was missing one thing that I always saw in adult sporting events: a commentator! You can imagine how things went, when I tried to join the game in that capacity. Not well. I remember pacing the perimeter of the playground, hoping to be “beamed up” to a starship, or someplace that made more sense. While other kids played, I had to learn how to play… [Read more…] about Learning to Play at Nerd Camp
I had never thought of myself as “gifted”. It felt strange to find myself attending a conference for highly gifted individuals. I’ve known people who go around claiming to be smarter than everyone else, but who didn’t seem worth the oxygen they consume; those are the people I had always associated with the label “gifted.”
I had also never considered myself to be all that smart. After all, I did not spend my childhood developing new mathematical models, composing breathtaking symphonies, or advancing medical research. Like most other children, I loved to play, and hated school. I really hated school! During class, I would read novels, draw, daydream, or write stories instead of taking notes. When a teacher would admonish me for my lack of attentiveness, I would simply devise more surreptitious ways to continue doing as I pleased. I never actually studied or put much effort into my schoolwork, and I derived precious little enjoyment from it.
I could never quite figure out how to relate to my classmates either. I wanted to make friends; but for some reason other kids consistently rejected or ignored me. School, as far as I was concerned, was something to be endured until it was over. Yet had you asked my teachers or parents about how school was for me, they would have said that everything was great — couldn’t be better! The other students, while rejecting me, also envied me. My report cards said: A+, A+, A+, A+, A+. By all the available measures I excelled in all subjects, and I was a model student. Most of my classmates had a very different experience of school; it was difficult for me to grasp that, yes, there were kids who were giving their absolute best effort in school and yet struggling to comprehend the material.
I suspect that most people assume that their mental landscape is essentially similar to everyone else’s, and it is only when reality smacks them in the face that they can possibly consider otherwise. Realizing exactly how different I was from the general population has been a gradual process. My life as an adult began as a quest to find relevance and meaning in a world that seemed to have neither. The lives of my parents or any of the other adults around me had never appealed to me. Seeing the rest of my life as something to be endured, as they had done, salved by drugging themselves with television and church, was inconceivable to me. I was driven by the need to understand everything, and most importantly needing to understand myself. I exhaustively examined every aspect of my life as I became aware of it, and wondered how I fit into a universe that seemed entirely alien. [Read more…] about Claiming My Gifted Identity
This article is intended to be the core of Procrastination 2.0 presentation on hacking productivity shortcuts for your brain. It largely consists of what we learned or (re-learned) in the first year of running solo-practices.
Our brains are capable of burning tremendous amounts of energy to force through things that are difficult, but once we learn how to do something a particular way, it becomes much easier and faster for the brain to follow that path again. This is true for physical skills like riding a bicycle, but also for the mental discipline needed to focus and be productive.
What follows are a few structures that are conceptually relatively easy to set up in your life to help get things done (but take time and practice to get used to). The point is not to put out a Herculean effort, but to adjust your environment in a way that makes it easier for your brain to learn when it needs to be in productivity or creativity mode.
The alternative title for this post is “Personal Accessibility 101.”
This is about how to make yourself more accessible to people who have invisible challenges (or full-blown disabilities), who may function well in an environment they have some control over, but would need to expend an excessive amount of energy in an environment that is not well-suited to their needs. This is about creating a communication and social interactions paradigm that is sustainable and adds energy, instead of being draining and challenging.
“The things about people that drive us crazy, are the things that are keeping them sane.” – Eugene Kennedy and Sara Charles in their book, On Becoming a Counselor.