Exploring The Key Concepts

Demystifying your gifted mind

What is a Rainforest Mind?

If you think of people as an ecosystem, you can see some as meadows, others as deserts, some as mountains – and some as rainforests. While all ecosystems are beautiful and make valuable contributions to the whole, rain forests are particularly complex: mulit-layered, highly sensitive, colorful, intense, creative, fragile, overwhelming, and misunderstood, while thick with possibility and pulsing with life, death and transformation. You could say that a rain forest has far more activity than, say, a meadow or a wheat field. The rain forest is not a better ecosystem, just more complicated. It also makes an essential contribution to the planet when allowed to be itself, rather than cut down and turned into something that it is not.

Paula Prober, MS, MEd

Author, Gifted Specialist

How do we speak about Giftedness?

Terminology referring to giftedness varies because the term gifted doesn’t always sit well with people, as if to say one is better than another. This is obviously not the case. Oddly enough, as the Gifted Development Center in Colorado put it, people don’t feel discomfort talking about those with less than average intelligence whereas the notion that individuals may be smarter than us often leaves people feeling insecure, leaving the gifted “lonely in a world of misunderstanding”. It is thus important to acknowledge the whole experience of being gifted because it has implications for all aspects of your life. The notion that being gifted implies something more than others is one-sided. There are a host of issues -particularly in school, professional and social contexts- that can seriously undermine development, deeming giftedness to be quite complex.

Capturing the essence of giftedness in a word or phrase that isn’t laden with preconceived ideas has proven to be challenging given the various terms in use. The term high potential (HP, the French term for giftedness), implies a promise of abundance, yet so many go un(der)recognised and underachieve. The frequently used term talented also imbues manifestation thereof, whereas so many gifted children need real support to get through school. Other phrases like bright and quirky may lighten the mood, addressing not only the propensity for learning but also how they can be perceived as different in society, yet may give insufficient sense of the challenges faced by the gifted. The Columbus Group describes giftedness as asynchronous development (see quote in footer of this page), providing an excellent, thorough description, albeit a bit heavy on the psychological jargon. Further, giftedness as being differently wired speaks to a more physiological/neurological distinction, where the difference is as fundamental as the difference in the color of your hair, your height or the size of your nose. Though, again, without any indication as to implications thereof. Paula Prober, who coined the phrase the rainforest mind, uses an analogy to speak to the whole experience of the gifted as being a beautiful and fragile system with much to offer whilst also being very vulnerable.

The free e-book offered will provide you with some of the vocabulary and references for further reading. Scroll down to the contact form or send me an email requesting the e-book.

A Psychological Reality

Whatever terminology we choose to use, and for whatever reason, giftedness must be seen as a psychological reality of which Linda Silverman, founder and director of the Gifted Development Center, says it renders individuals particularly vulnerable, having significantly different needs than the norm and often marked as outsiders in society, due to the lifelong characteristics which typify them.

Though the diversity and variability among the gifted is vast and personalities and interests also vary greatly, there are factors that are common to the gifted, often resulting in similarities of experience in the context of the world around them.

Embarking on a path of discovery of your giftedness, what this may mean for you and how this can be impacting your life, it is important to start with a clear understanding of some characteristics common to many gifted people, making them truly different from the norm. Take the quiz below to find out if you have a rainforest mind and send me a message requesting the free e-book which will provide you with more information about some of the key concepts related to giftedness.

Take the Quiz

The questions in the quiz below have been borrowed (and here and there slightly adapted) from Paula Prober’s Your Rainforest Mind Quiz, a first step in recognising characteristics of your giftedness. As she says, this is by no means a scientific quiz, but fun to see if some of these questions resonate with you. The questions in the quiz may not all fully apply to you, but if you get the feeling for the essence, then answer yes. If you find yourself questioning all your answers, go with your gut feeling or with the answer you are most leaning towards.

There are no right or wrong answers and there is no time limit. 

Also, your answers will not be collected, saved nor stored.

If you recognised yourself in at least 12 of the above questions, you likely are gifted. If you ruminated about the answers to many of these questions and often thought “it depends,” you, too, fit the profile.

After the Quiz

Once you’ve completed the quiz, you can fill in your email address in the contact form below (or email me at gifted@raphaelacarriere.com) to request a free e-book with some more in-depth information about challenges (and gifts) associated with being gifted. You are by no means obliged to, but should you choose to do so, I will not use your information for any other purposes than to send you a personal mail. If you still have questions, we can schedule a free 20 minute discovery call to find out how I can help you.

Gifted individuals are used to authorities who are not as bright as they are, and they often despair of ever finding a helper who can speak their language and match their enthusiasm measure for measure. They [can] become cynical and resistant to helpers, having too much experience with teachers and counselors who just do not or will not understand them.
Barbara Kerr, PhD.

Author, Gifted Specialist

Please get in touch to learn how I can help you on your path to leading an authentic and fulfilling life.

13 + 11 =

Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm.  This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity.  The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.
The Columbus Group