Many gifted individuals struggle with very low self-esteem. They often see themselves as not being very clever at all. Most of them will have discovered early on in life that those around them do not understand the way they see the world, the way they think and the way they respond to questions, and that their responses are often labelled as wrong, even if they are not. Their eagerness and intense curiosity will also often have been punished at an early age. As children, many gifted individuals will have learned not advertise themselves as being gifted to others, either implicitly or explicitly, for fear of negative reactions. Such reactions might include comments such as the following:
“Whoa! No need to be so clever/arrogant/intense/… etc.!”
“You probably think you’re so special / better than anyone else.”
“Why don’t you just act normally?”
“Hey, let’s just calm down a bit, shall we?”
“Do you have to take everything quite so seriously?”
Some of the false preconceptions people still have about giftedness are listed below:
Being gifted is the same as being a high achiever.
Not true. Many gifted individuals are notable underachievers.
Being gifted means you have a high IQ.
Not true. The results of IQ tests contain many false negatives.
Having a high IQ means that you are gifted.
No, it takes more than that: creativity and task motivation are also required (Renzulli).
Gifted individuals think that they are something special.
No, this is certainly not the case. Many of them struggle with extremely low self-esteem.
Gifted individuals are good at everyting they do and capable of anything.
Not true. While many gifted individuals are extremely capable in many fields, they also have their weak points.