Posts Tagged With: gifted problems

Which esteem?

I’m having a bad day today, because I realised I have no self esteem left. And this realising is actually worse than just not having self esteem. Through the past year I came to accept myself the way I am, with all my little quirks. I was more confident about my qualities and learned that it was mostly just my perfectionism that made me feel worthless, because I set impossible standards for myself.

But then the jury members at my clarinet exam decided I’m not worth it after all. And that’s when I started doubting again. Because even though I still think I am worth it, I suppose that they look at me more objectively and see that I can’t set the same standards other students set.

Than there was that other teacher that, even though I got a decent grade on the exam, couldn’t resist telling me I should change my lazy attitude because that is not how I want my future student to be. This teacher was basically telling me I should be more perfectionist!

And now I can’t decide whether I think they are right or they just don’t see past my problems of underachieving and low self esteem. It can’t possibly be that a few months ago I was finally convinced I am extremely gifted and I even started to accept that I’m really that different from other people, and now they are making me believe I’m nothing more that a dumb girl who doesn’t know anything and doesn’t even try.

Having written this, I’m feeling a bit better already. I should stick to believing how much I’m worth, whatever others say of me, because they have no idea what’s behind all of my problems, how complicated it is to be me.

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Sherlock Unlocked

I read THIS article, of which the following part caught my attention:

To give the reader a better feel for the differences in thinking among the three ability levels, imagine the three detectives from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes: Inspector Lestrade, Dr.Watson and Sherlock Holmes himself. Analytical Inspector Lestrade would solve the case step by step with concrete evidence. Dr. Watson would appreciate clues which had obvious and non-obvious connections to one another and synthesize abstract clues. Sherlock Holmes would find and generate clues which he could hypothetically integrate to solve a crime. Holmes was an interesting mixture of brilliant analytical skills and synthetic ability which enabled him to perceive the minutest details, assign proper weight to each, and to integrate these into a large-scale picture of the entire situation. For us, Inspector Lestrade is of normal intellectual ability, Dr. Watson is of the moderately gifted level, and Holmes is extremely gifted.

And that got me into watching the two movies (2009 and 2011) with Robert Downey Jr. playing Sherlock Holmes, and the BBC series Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the great detective. I had never before read anything about Sherlock Holmes, but I was immediately hooked. His remarks, his actions, his way of thinking, his intuition, his clairvoyance, the speed of his thinking,… It is so recognizable to me! Yes, I am also extremely gifted. And no, that doesn’t mean that everything comes easy to me.

A small comparison between normal IQ, gifted, and extremely gifted:



Being gifted doesn’t mean you don’t have to work to excell, on the contrary. Extremely gifted people very often feel misunderstood. They do everything in a different way, and not as they are supposed to do. They have to fight very hard to prove their ways and theories right. They have very little in common with normal ability people, but because those are the mayority, gifted people (not only the extreme ones) are asked to adapt (or do it without realizing). But it is a bit like the story of the ugly duckling: no matter how hard he tries to be a normal duckling, he’s stil recognized as the odd one out, and everybody just turns his back on him.

Finding out I am that ‘odd one out’ was quite comforting for me. It was the confirmation of the feeling that I really am different from everyone else. I somehow found the motivation to keep living, thinking, and working in my own special way, in the hope that someday I will get recognition. It is not always easy to hold your ground when nobody seems to have faith in you. Some days I’m so depressed I think that maybe I’m wrong after all, and I’m not special at all; that I can’t do anything right. I keep thinking that before I had less sad days, but in the end, there are still many good days, and they are even better than before, more natural. I decided that in my own life I won’t adapt anymore (only in superficial social relationships), make myself believe that I’m just like anyone else. Because I’m not. I’m like Sherlock Holmes.

Categories: Psychology | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to become a master?

Last year I learned to divide problems in urgent ones and important ones. And that you get the best result when you solve the important ones first.

About a month ago I talked about my main objectives to complete before the end of this year. The important one is to accept myself as I am, the urgent one is to be able to express myself through music. Urgent because in a few months I will have my masters exam. Important because I feel that I can’t really express myself when I don’t accept or know who I am. So, the difficulty is to accept myself in order to achieve self-expression.

When I was younger, I thought I was different because I acted differently (and I thought that was my own choice). Now I know I act differently because I am different. As a teenager I liked being noticed because I was different, now I sometimes wish I were normal (although in the end I always realize that being strange is more fun). Because of this change in viewing point, I have a lot of questions about myself

How do I..

– learn to see my qualities as real qualities instead of something out of the normal?

– accept and embrace the fact that I really am different from everybody else?

– accept that other people aren’t able to think and reason the same way I do? [They’re not lazy, they just don’t have the same capacities I have. That doesn’t mean that I am better, they have qualities too, and their qualities are often more usefull than mine.]

– manage to not see myself as a victim, nor as a superior being?

– learn to not always yearn toward acceptation by others (even if I don’t always admit I do that), but accept my own opinion when I think I did something good?

– know what is good enough, seen as I am a perfectionist, but am aware of the fact perfection as I have in mind can’t possibly be reached?

– know when I do good enough, seen as I know that many of my prestations in the past have been lower than my possibilities?

My original objective for this year was “to pass the exam and get my diploma”. I’ve been told that wasn’t really a great goal to work to. But it was a possible one. I wonder if the above is possible or if it can only be that way in my perfectionist mind.

I am, however, more convinced of the possibility of succeeding after reading about the difference of a performance goal and a mastery goal yesterday (in Enjoying the gift of being uncommon, page 117).

A performance goal is about obtaining some well-defined result, like grades at school or production targets at work.

A mastery goal is about becoming proficient – a master – in the process of learning or working.

My original goal, to pass the exam, was a performance goal, and it didn’t give me any motivation. The new goal(s) sounds at times really difficult to achieve, but that only gives me more motivation. It’s not about proving to others what I am worth, it’s about proving to myself that I’m worth being me, and I’m able to keep trying to be better than myself. It’s about learning to express myself in a way that I can say: “This is me; this form of expression shows you a part of my unique identity.”

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What’s the use?

I’ve been thinking…

What are my expectations about my clarinet lessons?

Well, when I finish my class, I should:

– feel like I want to start practicing immediately

– know what to study

– have lots of energy

– start to look forward to next week’s lesson

– have learned something and taken a step forward in the progress of mastering a piece

– have the feeling that it was a usefull class

Instead, I:

– don’t feel like practicing at all in the near future

– wonder why I have been studying if my effort isn’t appreciated

– didn’t really learn anything, I’m just more fixated on the things that I already knew I did wrong then before

So I ask myself:

– Why do I go to class every week?

– Is there really something I can still learn from this teacher? (and if yes, what is it?)

– How do I motivate myself to keep practicing?

– How do I see the good things and not only my faults.

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I am a good girl. A very good girl. I never ever break the rules. And if exceptionally for some unevitable reason I do break them, I feel extremely bad about it. If I am then treated as if were just another person, with a normal conscience, but not afraid to break rules now and then, I feel even worse.

A question comes to mind: Why aren’t there any rewards to being the good girl? If I weren’t so conscious about my conscience I wouldn’t worry about following the rules too strictly anymore.

Let me explain:

Yesterday I needed a room with a grand piano for my chamber music rehearsal. I got one in the main building. But than I noticed that the rehearsal wasn’t at 16:00 but at 18:00 (or 6PM, which is why I messed up in the first place). I was completely confused, arriving at the wrong time is one of my worst nightmares (I have light dyscalculia, and I hate misreading numbers). I felt really bad, even though I didn’t hurt anybody by coming early.  I decided to keep the room and practice a bit, even though normally I don’t practice in the main building. Now I know why. When I came down at 17:30 the concierge had already gone home, so I couldn’t retrieve my student card anymore (which we need to give in order to get a practice room). In the other building we then used the pianist’s card to get a key.

This morning I was really worried, because how would they give me a practice room if I didn’t have my card. I calmed myself down by remembering that it’s happened to other people and the morning concierge is okay with the student giving some other form of identification, until the main building opens and they can retrieve their card.

Was I wrong… I explained my problem. The concierge looked at me with a “why are you asking me a stupid question?”-face. And then he said: “Well, you needed to have retrieved your card before 16:30 yesterday. How long do you study here? You should know that.” So that’s it? I have to wait until you unreasonable people open the other building?! Not only was I disappointed for not getting a practice room, I was furious for getting spoken to the way I was spoken to, to be treated as if I don’t have any rights, I hated the whole stupid system, and why do they have to be strict all of a sudden. I don’t understand. And I feel bad. Maybe I just should’ve gone later. I’ll never trust in the kindness of other people anymore.

I feel really bad. Because I don’t know if I really did something wrong. If they were right to treat me this way. And on the other hand I know I shouldn’t try to be perfect, because that’s impossible. And look were it’s getting me. Miss Perfect shouldn’t be falling apart like this about a stupid thing. Well, miss Perfect probably would’ve thought of retrieving her card on time.

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The naked truth

Why is it that people don’t want to hear the truth? I honestly can’t understand.

After yesterday’s concert people where talking about how they played. I said to two of the clarinetists who played in the last piece: “Yes, I liked how the clarinet section sounded, just this one solo passage at the end was not in tune.” And the girl who played the solo took it really bad. She even said to me that I made her feel very bad, because she had been quite happy about the way she played. I appologized saying that it was absolutely not my intention to make her feel bad. But this morning in quartet rehearsal she kept avoiding talking to me, and whenever she had a remark about something she would look directly at me, even though I had nothing to play at that moment.

So I’ve been asking myself: What did I do wrong?

I feel bad, because I made her feel bad. But the truth is, I just told her the truth (and if it was someone else I would’ve done the same, so it’s absolutely nothing personal), that it was good, but with the insinuation she might still improve this passage (which she obviously didn’t notice, because the whole passage was to low, she didn’t correct it).

So, am I not entitled to try to help her?

I, myself didn’t play good, in my opinion. After the concert the conductor comes to congratulate me with the words: “I know I’m a difficult person sometimes, but you did really well.” And my clarinet teacher said he also liked how we sounded. And I keep wondering if they really thought it was good. Because in that case I should really lower my expectations of me, and of all other musicians for that matter. I desperately want them to tell me the truth. How can I trust my teacher’s opinion if the one time he tells me I did good, I don’t agree with him?

I want to hear the truth, the naked truth. And even though I don’t understand why other people prefer not to hear it, I try to only give my opinion when it can help the other person, and I never ever forget to start with the things that were good.

I used to think everyone thought the same way I did (in every aspect, not only about truth). I’ve learned now that it isn’t as I thought. And I adapt. But they can’t possibly be asking me to keep my opinion silently to myself?!

Categories: Personal | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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