The attributes of being highly gifted

Below you will find an overview of the attributes of being highly gifted. Read the list and after that go over all the attributes again, one by one. Have an open mind and don’t take it too literally. Like creativity is so much more then drawing or painting and when you purchase books from your library or on kindle your bookshelves will not be overfloaded.  Or mabybe you have not read a lot the past couple of years but you did when you were younger.

Don’t get distracted by apparent contradictions too much, a very socially skilled highly gifted adult has much less trouble with birthday parties than one who has trouble communicating because it always led to disappointments.

By now I have conversations with thousands of gifted individuals. In the first years I was very active as a volunteer in the field and spoke to many, many people, and of course in my practise as a counsellor coach. Virtually everyone recognizes himself in the following list of characteristics. Yet we are all very different. Important is to see the list as a whole. Separated from each other everyone will recognize himself in part of the characteristics. But being highly gifted is about the entire package, or at least about 90%.

Confusion may also arise if one is recognizing the attributes that are especially linked to high-sensitivity (hsp). Being a high sensitive person alone is not enough. To avoid confusion I have created a small subdivision between the characteristics that are especially connected to being highly sensitive and which are especially connected to highly giftedness. I don’t know any highly gifted individuals (unless there are other problems like for example autism) that are not highly sensitive, but not all high sensitive people are highly gifted.

I also added characteristics that are linked with a very high level of conscious awareness separately. Every highly gifted man or woman has a very high awareness. Finally I have written down the characteristics with respect to intelligence, creativity and perseverance, the more common known attributes.

Many highly gifted people are visual-spatial thinkers but that is not a necessity.

If there are only a few attributes you don’t recognize within yourself, but for instance 90% you do, then changes are very big that you are highly gifted. Are there a lot of attributes you don’t recognize within yourself you still can be very intelligent and gifted but changes are, you are not highly gifted as meant in this context.

Good luck!


High sensitivity

  • You always felt different from other people.
  • You have low self-esteem and are not confident about yourself.
  • You are sensitive to (loud) noises, light, crowdedness, smells and other stimuli from the outside.
  • You are (quickly) influenced by the moods of others.
  • You are a perfectionist.
  • You are intuitive.
  • You can pick up subtle signals from your surroundings.
  • You are easily irritated or quickly impatient.
  • You are sensitive to pain.
  • After a day at work I need rest to return to being myself.
  • You are sensitive to the effects of alcohol, nicotine or caffeine.
  • You can feel the emotions of others within your own body.
  • You don’t like violence.
  • You can easily be touched by the beauty of things, art or music.

High consciousness awareness

  • You will find different solutions for problems often quickly.
  • You were an outsider at school.
  • You got through school at an unobtrusive if average level. (Socially you sometimes had contact with the underdog and then again with the popular ones too, but actually didn’t fit into neither of the groups.)
  • You are very loyal.
  • You can face the world with courage one moment, and be depressed the next day.
  • You are a worried because you can see so well what is going wrong in the world.
  • You have a preference for friends or girlfriends who are older than you.
  • You have to defend your opinion and ideas often or they are ignored.
  • You doubt your own ideas because you are the only person who seems to have that opinion.
  • You are often told not to be so complicated or so serious.
  • You would like to improve the world and are already full of ideas on how to do that.
  • You feel you could perform more than you have done up till now.
  • You have trouble finding inner peace.
  • You are very loyal and reliable in friendships.
  • You are afraid to take an intelligence test, because what if your flunk it and highly giftedness turns out not to be “the answer” to why your life is so different from the rest.
  • You have knowledge about things of which you don’t know were it came from, you just know it to be true.
  • You have extraordinary experiences you can’t always explain and call them coincidence while deep in your heart you know there is more to it then that.

    Intelligence, creativity and perseverance

  • You work best in a stand-alone function.
  • You set high standards for yourself and to others and are (very) critical.
  • You have a great perseverance if you’re busy with something what you like or obligated yourself to.
  • You often have to repeat or explain something several times. Other people don’t seem to understand you.
  • You have your own way of learning.
  • You have no difficulty learning but the way it is presented to you should be appropriate.
  • You have a very strong sense of justice.
  • You have a “different” kind of humour.
  • You hate repetition.
  • You can spend hours working very concentrated when the thing you’re doing interests you a lot.
  • You like to have a deep discussion when you are at a gathering of some sort.
  • You’re bored easily at parties.
  • You have a large vocabulary. (Or you know a lot of words but don’t use that large vocabulary yourself. You use little of the ‘difficult’ words, which you do understand though.)
  • You love the details in a discussion and ‘pick on’ others irregularities in it.
  • You have an unbridled curiosity.
  • You feel a hunger for knowledge and information on areas that you find interesting.
  • You could read early. (Need not be, not everyone is stimulated, had the occasion or maybe you found outdoor playing just much more interesting.)
  • You still read a lot. (Books, magazines, internet, everything counts.)
  • You have a full bookcase.
  • You can work on many things at once.
  • You have a hard time starting up with what you have to do. (Because you don’t know how to start?)
  • You procrastinate a lot.
  • You have difficulty completing projects because your attention is already drawn to the next one.
  • You work according to established procedures or are having trouble putting structure into your work.
  • If you’re working against a deadline you drown yourself in your work and it will usually end up fine. (Crisis management)

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Highly Giftedness in the right perspective