I would love to hear your thoughts on this perspective of gifted and creative individuals.
The article is The Application of Dabrowski’s Theory to the Gifted by Kevin J. O’Connor and was published in the book Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children: What Do We Know?.
Here are a few quotes from the article to give you a taste of its content:
Dabrowski observed that gifted and creative individuals are often in conflict with the demands and expectations of their environment…
Many in the gifted community believe Dabrowski’s overexcitabilites, as they contribute to developmental potential, are a measure and indicator of giftedness.
Overexcitabilities are enhanced modes of being in the world. The word ‘over’ used in connection with ‘excitability’ connotes responses to stimuli that are beyond normal and often different in quality. Dabrowski identified “psychic overexcitability” in five forms: psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational and emotional.
While the concept of developmental potential emphasizes the positive aspects of experiencing life with greater intensity and sensitivity, these same characteristics may also be experienced in negative ways. Individuals with elevated overexcitabilities are more susceptible to being misunderstood and alienated by those who don’t share or understand their unique personality traits.
Parents of gifted children and gifted individuals themselves may find that Dabrowski’s ideas provide a useful “framework for understanding and explaining the developmental patterns and challenges that occur for those of high ability.”
“Fostering risk-taking and creativity in children can ensure that they learn the basics of economics and independence—and develop a mentality of innovation.”
How do you foster risk-taking and creativity in your own life and/or in the lives of children or other adults? Please share.
A couple of organizations focusing on entrepreneurship with youth referenced in this article:
What power do we have to create change with our everyday habits of spending money? What’s possible when we organize together that isn’t when we act on our own?
Some educational and parenting resources for you:
Sir Ken Robinson is author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative, and a leading expert on innovation and human resources. In this talk, he makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it. (Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA.)
“Indulged, coddled, pressured and micromanaged on the outside, my young patients appeared to be inadvertently deprived of the opportunity to develop an inside,” she writes in her book. “They lack the secure, reliable, welcoming internal structure that we call the ‘self.”’ …
There is a Hasidic saying that Mogel quotes, “If your child has a talent to be a baker, don’t ask him to be a doctor.” By definition, most children cannot be at the top of the class; value their talents in whatever realm you find them. “When we ignore a child’s intrinsic strengths in an effort to push him toward our notion of extraordinary achievement, we are undermining God’s plan,” Mogel writes.
Which leads me to aPsychology Today article on the Sudbury Valley school:
At Sudbury Valley School, there’s no other way to learn. The 38-year-old day facility in Framingham, Massachusetts, is founded on what comes down to a belief about human nature—that children have an innate curiosity to learn and a drive to become effective, independent human beings, no matter how many times they try and fail. And it’s the job of adults to expose them to models and information, answer questions—then get out of the way without trampling motivation. …
Play—it’s by definition absorbing. The outcome is always uncertain. Play makes children nimble—neurobiologically, mentally, behaviorally—capable of adapting to a rapidly evolving world. That makes it just about the best preparation for life in the 21st century. Psychologists believe that play cajoles people toward their human potential because it preserves all the possibilities nervous systems tend to otherwise prune away. It’s no accident that all of the predicaments of play—the challenges, the dares, the races and chases—model the struggle for survival. Think of play as the future with sneakers on.