Monday, June 7, 2010
Are you gifted? Yes.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word "gifted"?
Do you think of a musician like Yo-Yo Ma or an opera singer like Pavarotti? Does a genius come to mind, such as Albert Einstein or Leonardo Da Vinci? Or perhaps someone who excels at a certain activity, like Bobby Fischer or Michael Jordan?
I found a few definitions of "gifted". The most obvious was "of high intelligence". But others included "having a great natural ability" and "revealing a special gift".
Now we're getting somewhere.
My son attends a gifted school. The students here have been recommended by their teachers and tested and meet the IQ and other standards for a gifted teaching program. Their curriculum is different than the mainstream schools. They do things a little faster, a little harder.
But like the rest of us, these students have deficiencies. Some may be extremely disorganized. Others forgetful. Some may be brilliant in math, but struggle in English. They're just as normal as the rest of us; however, their "giftedness" is based on intellect and therefore more apparent.
I believe we are all gifted in some way, and this quote by Thomas Carlyle sums it up best:
"A person who is gifted sees the essential point and leaves the rest as surplus."
Everyone - I don't care who you are - has "revealed a special gift". With me, I suppose, it is writing. However, I am wildly deficient when it comes to directions. A friend of mine has the most amazing information in his brain when it comes to current events, technology and history. But he can't remember holidays to save his life. Another person I know has a photographic memory, but dances like Elaine on Seinfeld.
I have come to believe that the human brain does just what Carlyle says. In each of us, our minds see what is essential to our lives, and leaves the rest. I need to write. I love to write. It's what I do. But in my opinion, I don't need to know which way is west, so that information - if in fact it even exists in my brain - is buried beneath a sea of stories and synonyms.
My family loves to make fun of my inadequacy when it comes to directions, and I'm OK with that. But, we need to be careful when we chide someone for their deficiencies, lest they feel all-around stupid. The brain is not balanced, nor is the information in it. What feeds the essential point - i.e., the things we are good at, starves the rest as surplus - i.e., what just isn't considered necessary information to us.
In the end, what makes us whole is how we complement each other with our unbalanced brains. If I met a navigator who couldn't write, we'd make a great team. A forgetful dancer may fall in love with the anal-retentive guy with two left feet. Or, the detail-oriented employee may make the perfect secretary for the "big picture" businessman. It's why we hire accountants to do our taxes. Or why we have surgeons perform procedures. Or hire writers to say what we can't put into words.
So, take a moment to reveal your special gift, and look for it in others. And when a fault appears, remember... it's just "surplus".