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Don’t You Have To Be “Gifted and Talented” To Be Creative? Part 2

Colin Firth and Meryl StreepContinuing from Part 1 on the topic of recognition: What if your novel remains unpublished, no gallery wants to show your painting, no one seems to want to fund or promote your idea for an app?

What if you never get an Oscar?

[Photo: Colin Firth and Meryl Streep from post We Need Healthy Self Respect to Be More Creative.]

If your creative work of any kind is not applauded or at least acknowledged, does that mean you are not “really” creative?

Cheryl M. Ackerman addresses this idea of recognition specifically for gifted people, but I think her perspectives are helpful even if you were not “labeled” as exceptionally intelligent or creative.

She notes “It is important to remember that just because a person was not identified as gifted when they were in school, doesn’t mean she isn’t a gifted individual.

“In addition, something that may seem as benign as whether or not a person was identified as gifted can have significant effects on the development of his self-concept and self-esteem.

She adds, “While the fundamental characteristics of gifted adults are the same regardless of whether or not they were identified earlier in life, those who were not identified face the challenge of making sense of their gifted characteristics without the gifted label to guide them in any way.”

From her article Gifted Adults.

Author Willem Kuipers comments on this topic: “It is essential for gifted people to be aware of their identity…Additionally, their giftedness influences their identity; positive awareness of this influence is crucial for the development of their potential.”

From post: Admit your gifts: Willem Kuipers on unrecognized giftedness and identity.

He is author of the book Enjoying the Gift of Being Uncommon: Extra Intelligent, Intense, and Effective.

In the Foreword of the book, Linda Silverman (Director, Gifted Development Center) comments: “Even those who were tested as children and placed in gifted programs often believe that their giftedness disappeared by the time they reached adulthood. It does not seem to matter how much success a person achieves—hardly anyone is comfortable saying, ‘I’m gifted.’”

From post The Gift of Being Uncommon.

Believing talent is not fixed, that you can develop creativity

Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, wrote in an issue of the Duke Gifted Letter:

*  Some people are born gifted, and others are not.

* You can tell who will be gifted from early on.

* Gifted children should be labeled and praised for their brains and talent.

“All of these statements are accepted by many as true. However, as evidence has accumulated over the past decade, another view has been gaining credence that portrays giftedness as a more dynamic quality that can grow or stagnate.

“With this outlook comes a shift in emphasis from how to identify gifted children to how to cultivate giftedness and talent—a change in focus from measurement psychology to cognitive and motivational psychology.”

She declares, “Genius and great, creative contributions are the product of passion, learning, and persistence. More researchers are regarding motivation as the key ingredient for exceptional achievement.

“Their work suggests that creative genius itself grows out of the ability to sustain intense commitment for extended lengths of time in the face of obstacles.

“They tell us that many well-known geniuses—Edison, Darwin, even Einstein—were ordinary bright children who became obsessed with something and because of that obsession ended up making enormous contributions.”

From post: Carol Dweck on developing creative talent.

A final quote – from my post Creative Obsession:

“The refusal to rest content, the willingness to risk excess on behalf of one’s obsessions, is what distinguishes artists from entertainers, and what makes some artists adventurers on behalf of us all.”  – John Updike, about J. D. Salinger.


Don’t You Have To Be “Gifted and Talented” To Be Creative? Part 2

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2013). Don’t You Have To Be “Gifted and Talented” To Be Creative? Part 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Jul 2013
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