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Sticking Out in a Crowd

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

March 15, 2011

Comments (6)

school-of-goldfish.jpgWhen you're exceptionally talented or skilled in an area, people do tend to take notice and not necessarily because they are happy for you.

Were you one of those people growing up who seemed to gather more criticism or jealousy for your talent than encouragement and support?

Recently I spent some time among some people who fit this description and I've decided to share my experience with you.

Find out more in today's VOX Daily.


Gifted

Last week I spoke at a conference for some young ladies who are about to enter high school. My topic was the business world and how I navigated my way through the various stages of life that brought me to where I am today.

These girls were eager to listen and take in my experiences along with a number of parting words that I hope will stay with them for a lifetime.

That being said, there was something different about this audience... this audience had been identified academically as "Gifted." The Gifted Girls Conference in London drew over 50 girls in seventh and eighth grade from across the Thames Valley District School Board and featured a number of speakers ranging on topics specific to their particular challenges and needs.

Being Yourself

While I wasn't singled out as "gifted" as a child, I could certainly identify with the girls when it came to having a special talent that caused me to stick out from the crowd... and not necessarily because those around me were pleased with how I was able to perform.

For me it was singing. Being too loud, having too much natural vibrato in my voice, my diction was too crisp and I didn't "blend" in.

For some of the girls present, it was being "too smart" which in some cases deters them from participating in class, not fully applying themselves in their gifted subjects and the stress of having to measure up to the high expectations of parents, teachers and others in all areas of their academic life whether they be areas of concentration or not.

We Are All Gifted

What we must realize is that being "gifted" doesn't mean that you can be all things, know all things or succeed in all things. Gifts are particular and often can be used for the benefit of others in addition to the individual themselves.

I believe that there are different kinds of intelligence. Some people are emotionally intelligent whereas others are musically so. The traditional view of intelligence typically circles around being academically bright, however, I know that all people have special gifts to share with others and we should celebrate those gifts. Our communities are built upon the collective strengths of those who willingly contribute and share their gifts.

What About You?

Sticking out in a crowd can be hard but if you are doing what you do best and also what you love, these growing pains can be part and parcel of the experience that only makes you stronger and more determined to excel and eventually to give back.

What unique gifts have you developed? I'm interested to hear your story.

Best wishes,

Stephanie

Related Topics: child, gifted, Gifted Girls Of London, High School, skills, talented


Comments


    Schoolmates at my mock-tough suburban English junior school laughed at my 'BBC' voice. To survive, I cultivated a London cockney accent and asked to be called Tom. In the end they forgave me these eccentricities when I brought in a home-made radio so they could listen to cricket (yes this is long ago, though not quite pre-television). Certainly the experience is useful today.

    Posted by:

      Stephanie- That sounds like a wonderful conference and kudos to the organizers. I liked what you said, "We must realize is that being "gifted" doesn't mean that you can be all things, know all things or succeed in all things."

      I was gifted artistically, I could draw and paint well from an early age. What I find damaging about displaying your gift, especially when you're young, is facing other people's expectations of its outcome. We live in a very commercial society that often looks at every gift as a commodity. The message: something isn't valuable unless you can sell it. So if you have a gift in a certain area, people want you to rise to the top of your field and achieve fame and fortune.

      Two things are damaging about this outlook. First, it doesn't consider the simple joy the gift brings to the person who was born with with it. When you draw something that pleases you, the sense of personal achievement is what matters most to the artist, especially when a young person is developing their gift. It's annoying to hear that achievement followed by, "You can make as much money as Andy Warhol!"

      Second, talent does not always translate to fame and fortune. (In fact, in this age of celebrity, achieving fame and fortune seems to be a talent unto itself!) Young people need to hear that lots of talented people don't become famous, and that's okay.

      My message to gifted kids would be this: Developing your gift is a lifelong process. Protect it, find your own joy in it, and be watchful about how your gift affects others. It can help people in ways you can't imagine.

      Posted by:

        Wow Stephanie,
        You're the first person I've ever known besides myself who stood out because of "overly precise" diction!
        I even Lost a gig once (that I'd booked) because when I introduced myself at the studio to the clients they said I didn't sound like what they'd heard on my reel. As a small girl, I was given lessons with a speech therapist to lose all vestiges of broken English and accent acquired from my Hungarian parents as well as the Auntie and Grandma who lived with us. Sometimes, when I meet people for the first time, I speak with overly precise diction---but I can be as "sloppy" as the average English language speaker!
        Anyway, just wanted to thank you for making me feel better.
        And I absolutely agree with you that there are All kinds of intelligence. We've all been given different gifts as well. I hope to use mine in ways that please God and bless others!

        Posted by:
        • Matilda Novak
        • March 17, 2011 12:59 PM

          Insightful post and comments. I recently read a comment by a member of American Mensa stating that "any IQ above 140 is a disability." Definitions of "gifted" typically have thresholds around 130 to 140.

          Posted by:

            This is interesting because I was just at my son's gate meeting and this is the same sort of stuff the lecturer discussed. Sticking out is hard and I can relate to it on various levels. I haven't found my niche yet personally. I see the joys and struggles of having a gifted son as well as a daughter with a disability. They are different yet have similar struggles. I am interested in learning more about emotional intelligence. It's very important. I want my children to do the best that they can do and not be ashamed of shining!

            Posted by:
            • Esther
            • March 23, 2011 2:21 PM

              Sticking out is what all successful people do.

              In the pop entertainment industry, the more unusual you look, act or perform, all the better.

              Look Michael Jackson as a child star, and then the extremes he went to, just to keep himself in the limelight.
              Yes, many ridiculed him mercilessly, yet those same folks loved him for his talent.

              Humans are very curious creatures by nature. In order to harness this curiosity, you have to present them with something they haven't seen before.
              That lonely he starfish that gets stranded on the beach gets a lot more attention then the millions of his brethren still laying about on the bottom of the ocean.

              You can choose not to pay a price for "standing out" from the crowd. By using your imagination, you can turn your situation around 180 degrees so it now becomes a valuable asset for you.

              Posted by:

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