Intensity, complexity, drive
In her book ‘The Gifted Adult’, American author Mary-Elaine Jacobsen (1999) introduces the term ‘Everyday Genius’. Everyday Geniuses, hereafter referred to as XIPs, are different in three fundamental ways: quantitatively, qualitatively, and motivationally.
They lead more intense lives, think in more complex ways, and are more driven than averagely endowed individuals. The key is to turn these special characteristics to one's advantage rather than to allow them to work against one.
XIPs are quantitatively different; all systems are running at full throttle.
They experience the world more intensely, and respond in a corresponding manner. Their senses observe more nuances, but are also more susceptible to becoming overloaded. They are able to concentrate in an extraordinarily focussed manner, have strong powers of empathy, and an inexhaustible energy for enterprise. They have a deep and exuberant sense of humour and ability to put things into perspective.
If they are not operating in their strengths, these qualities become distorted in an extremely active or passive form: depressive, workaholic, know-it-all, ruthless debater, torturer or martyr, cynic, iceberg and unguided missile to mention but a few.
XIPs are qualitatively different; they can absorb, analyse, and synthesise information from a wide range of domains, extremely rapidly and simultaneously.
This is an extremely influential characteristic that results in multiple interests, a pervasive sense of self-consciousness, extraordinary intuitive powers, a huge memory for all kinds of things, and a capacity for original and complex trains of thought.
If this complexity is not in balance, once again extreme effects will arise: obsession with one theme, or too little attention across too many themes, self-hate, a fear of the irrational or an escape into superstition, tunnel vision, manipulation, production of trivial facts, chaos without content, analysis without conclusion.
XIPs are unusually driven individuals; they are structurally inquisitive, set the bar at a high level, are self-starting, independent, and persistent.
They have an inner drive, even though they initially are unaware of where this will lead. This makes them natural innovators and visionaries, idealists, strong performers, flexible, and adept at achieving their goals.
Here too the key lies in finding the appropriate resources. If this does not happen, stagnation will occur via fear of failure, or ultimate perfectionism. Alternatively, the good start will never be capitalised upon and concluded. Or the wheel will be re-invented. Some individuals allow themselves to be pushed just so they can resist. Others manage to demotivate everyone through their endless nagging.