Welcome to the first of a three part series I am doing on resiliency. Simply defined, resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity. It involves several components, three of which I am going to focus on in these posts –
- Emotional Intensity
Gifted individuals, both children and adults, are hardwired in ways that present unique challenges to overall resiliency. And while these posts will take a look at some of the inherent problems facing the GT population, I do not want any reader to interpret this to mean that GT individuals are MORE prone to resiliency challenges. I would actually argue that the very nature of giftedness may serve as a well of internal resources helping improve resiliency for most. But we will get into that in a follow up post or two.
For now, let’s look at mastery – a definition and the ways in which GT kids may struggle with this domain.
Mastery specifically refers to a person’s ability to understand and analyze the cause/effect relationship between effort and results. It involves how a child views his or her individual ability to master the environment; whether or not he or she believes that working hard will, in fact, lead to improved outcomes.
Mastery involves the attributes of optimism (the ability to see the glass as half-full and feel positive about the future), adaptability (the ability to change and adapt to environmental/situational changes), and self-efficacy (different from self-esteem, this specifically relates to a person’s belief that he or she has the ability to perform successfully in a given situation).
As seen from the definition above, there are several areas in which gifted kids may struggle related to the very nature of giftedness. Some of the more typical challenges may include the following:
- Feelings of inadequacy due to a mismatch between ability and previous achievements
- 2E situations
- Perfectionism and the belief that making errors means you are not gifted
- Fear of failing resulting in poor risk taking
- All or nothing belief structure (“I either know it all, or don’t know anything”)
- The belief that teachers/parents have unrealistically high expectations for performance
- Same rigidity, perfectionism, and fear of failure discussed above
- Inflexible in thinking processes
- Intensities (you will see this come up a lot)
- Resistance to accepting help
- Resistance to change