1. A drive toward fairness and justice - Gifted children abhor injustice in any form, stand up to bullies, question unfair rules, and challenge undeserved authority. Some gifted individuals would rather fail a class, lose a job, or get knocked down in a fight than compromise their values. Although championing the underdog may be admirable at times, it can certainly irritate teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who don’t appreciate having their rules challenged or their weaknesses exposed.
2. High expectations for self and others – While some gifted individuals may be underachievers, most maintain high expectations for themselves, sometimes manifest as perfectionism. Along with this, they expect others to hold these same high standards. When they encounter unethical behavior, suboptimal performance, or inadequacies that can be corrected, they find it almost impossible to maintain respect or comply with what is expected of them.
3. Creative and inquisitive – Gifted individuals thrive on learning, engaging in creative pursuits, exploring new ideas, developing new concepts and inventions, and seeking the meaning of life. They shun rote learning, routine explanations, and simplistic ideas. Slowly paced instruction and boring, routine activities are torture for them. They challenge traditional explanations and concepts, and find new, inventive approaches to solve problems. While innovative and ground-breaking discoveries develop as a result of such creativity, bold challenges to the status quot can ruffle feathers and fuel conflict.
4. Greater sensitivity – Many gifted individuals possess heightened emotional sensitivities that result in stronger reactions to events and greater empathy for others. They are often strong-willed and strive for autonomy. These emotional characteristics, coupled with the likelihood that they have felt out of sync with their peers throughout much of their academic career, all contribute to the development of a non-conformist style.
Most important, though, is self-acceptance. When you already know you are different, it is healthier to embrace the positive aspects of this fact, than to bemoan it and wish you could be someone else. Gifted individuals can express their unique talents and maintain healthy relationships when they learn to accept and appreciate their differences.