Do Any of These Personality Traits Describe You?
“Even if you have doubts about the extent of your giftedness, you will really bring your talents to life if you will embrace your drive to become, serve, create, achieve, and contribute.
Self recognition is not to fuel egotism or elitism, but to align with a more powerful, creative part of you that will let your heart, your knowledge, your talent loose on the world.”
– Mary Rocamora, M.A.-
1. General Characteristics
- Do you have a large vocabulary?
- Are you multi-talented?
- Do you have so many interests and abilities that it is hard to focus your energies on developing any of them to your satisfaction?
- Are you possessed of an unrelenting (and possibly off-the wall) sense of humor?
- Can you occupy time usefully without external stimulation?
- Are you persistently goal-directed in your behavior?
- Is your creativity apparent in all areas of endeavor?
- Do you have the need and the energy to develop more capacity?
“Derived from the Greek word for having a goal, entelechy is a particular type of motivation, need for self-determination, and an inner strength and vital force directing life and growth to become all one is capable of being. Gifted people with entelechy are often attractive to others who feel drawn to their openness and to their dreams and visions. Being near someone with this trait gives others hope and determination to achieve their own self-actualization.” (Deirdre Lovecky, “Warts and Rainbows: Issues in the Psychotherapy of the Gifted”, Advanced Development, Jan., 1990)
- Are you directed by an inner vision of your purpose in life, or have a dream that is all-consuming?
- Are you highly motivated to be all you are capable of being?
- Are you deeply involved in creating your own destiny?
- Do you continue to believe in yourself and your vision, even when no one else does?
- Are others attracted to your vision, wanting to participate?
3. The Overexcitabilities (part of the Theory of Emotional Development of Kazimierz Dabrowski), which determine developmental potential:
“The forms of `overexcitability’ are particularly prominent in the gifted and creative because there we find a higher level of energy and capacity for sustained effort; enhanced differentiation and aliveness of sensual experience; greater avidity for knowledge, discovery, and attitude of questioning and questing; greater vividness of imagery, richness of associations, and capacity for detailed visualization, and greater depth and intensity of emotional life. One may think of these five forms of overexcitability as the substrate of giftedness and creative talent.” (Piechowski, Silverman, Cunningham, & Falk, 1982) —
A. Psychomotor excitability:
- Are you a high energy person?
- Do you love intense physical activity and movement?
- Do you feel constantly pressured to take action?
- Are you impulsive?
- Do you have nervous habits?
- Are you restless, always on the go, incapable of just relaxing?
- Do you talk compulsively?
- Are you a workaholic?
B. Sensual excitability:
- Are you often moved to tears by music or the visual arts?
- Are you prone to eating and drinking excesses because they give you intense pleasure?
- Are you adventurous where new sensory experiences are concerned (food, music, erotic experimentation, different environmental settings, for example)?
- When you recall an experience, can you also recall the sensory aspects?
- Is the touch, smell, taste, and sight of sex as important to you as having an orgasm?
C. Intellectual excitability:
(Not to be confused with high intelligence, since many highly intelligent individuals do not enjoy intellectual activities and pursuits)
- Are you always questioning everything?
- Do you love to explore a wide variety of theories and ideas?
- Are you able to examine ideas outside of the framework of your own opinion?
- Do you enjoy research, analysis, and theoretical thinking?
- Is problem-solving a source of immense satisfaction?
D. Imaginational excitability:
- Do you write, speak, think, or dream in vivid imagery?
- Do you embellish the plain truth in ways that make your end of a conversation more impactful or amusing?
- Do you express yourself in ways that demonstrate a rich association of images and impressions?
- Do you entertain yourself endlessly with private jokes and wacky visual, auditory, or associational images?
- Do you creatively reframe events to support your perspective on life?
E. Emotional excitability:
- Are you excruciatingly sensitive, with intense emotions?
- Can you describe your feelings with great precision?
- Do you have intense emotional attachments to others?
- Are your emotions sufficiently profound to take you beyond yourself into areas of philosophical consideration?
- Do you suffer from extraordinarily high levels of fear and anxiety or suffer attacks of psychological depression?
4. High Intelligence
“Gifted adults differ intellectually from others. They are more sophisticated, more global thinkers. In addition, they have the capacity to generalize… They can grasp difficult concepts and phenomena. Their imagination and creativity are often incomprehensible to the average person… they have the ability to predict consequences… and foresee problems which are likely to occur. Gifted adults are able to see the pattern of development and growth, and therefore will recognize a trend. This allows them to predict and, by certain actions, to influence the trend.” (Annemarie Roeper, “Gifted Adults: Their Characteristics and Emotions”, Advanced Development, Jan. 1991)
- Are you an independent thinker, individualistic, and mentally self-sufficient?
- Are you a divergent thinker with unique and interesting perspectives?
- Are you highly intuitive, with insight and foresight?
- Do you enjoy experimenting with psychic and metaphysical ideas?
- Are you relentlessly curious and investigative?
- Are you verbally agile?
- Do you love intense discussions?
- Do you have an exceptional memory?
- Do you think things out at an accelerated pace?
- Can you work with extraordinary amounts of mental data?
5. The Search for Truth
“Those of us who are contemplative from the heart cannot tolerate the idea that life is accidental, purposeless, directionless. Therefore, we are faced with two alternatives: to erect and inhabit belief systems so as to posit meaning and purpose, or to cultivate the capacity to feel and experience life directly, and allow it to teach us its secrets, in accordance with our level of development.” (Mary Rocamora, director of The Rocamora School)
- Do you strive to understand the nature and meaning of life?
- Have you read extensively on the nature of mind or done any meditation practice designed to help you experience the nature of mind directly?
- Are you attracted to, and long for, spiritual or mystical experiences that will provide the basis for a deeper understanding?
- Are you preoccupied with death and the possibility of after-death experience?
- Are you determined to make a meaningful contribution during your life?
- Do you have strong feelings regarding issues of morality and justice?
6. The “Autonomous Factor” (from psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski)
“… the autonomous factor enables the individual to transcend the limitations of both heredity and environment through self-determination. The autonomous factor is a sense of inner-directedness, an inner drive to make conscious choices in accordance with those principles which are highest in oneself.” (Linda Kreger Silverman, Institute for Advanced Development)
- Are you driven toward self-actualization and self-perfection?
- Are you highly self-aware?
- Have you demonstrated the capacity for intrapsychic transformation?
- Do you feel a great deal of empathy and compassion for others?
- Do you exhibit a high level of moral responsibility and integrity?
“In a world in which emotional health is defined in terms of contentment, ability to relax, satisfaction with self and with life, and lack of inner conflicts, it is no wonder that the perfectionist is perceived as neurotic. Worse, the consistent messages that perfectionists receive throughout life convince them that there is some basic flaw in their personality which must be eradicated. This greatly exacerbates the amount of inner conflict with which they must cope. Not only do they feel shame, guilt and inferiority for not meeting their own standards; in addition, they feel shame, guilt and inferiority for having all this inner conflict. And this is where the tension can mount to the point of paralysis.” (Linda Kreger Silverman, 1987)
- Are you determined to do your best at all costs?
- Do you feel inadequate to measure up to your personal standards?
- Are consumed with self-doubt and self-criticism?
- Is self-perfection or the perfection of your life’s work the central driving force of your existence?
- Do you have a sense of your potential destiny and feel responsible to live up it?
- Do you have inappropriately high expectations of others?
“All introverts are perfectionists. All gifted individuals are perfectionists in something (usually not their rooms). The gifted introvert is the perfectionist squared.” (Linda Kreger Silverman)
- Do you prefer depth to breadth, concentrating on one activity at a time?
- Are you hard to get to know, more involved with your internal world than you are with others, and have only a few close friends that know you well?
- Are you easily humiliated, therefore keeping people at a distance?
- In a social situation, do you wait to be approached rather than introducing yourself, and take time to observe others before engaging?
- Do you develop skills in private before showing finished products to the world?
- Do you need privacy, respect the privacy of others, and resent having your personal space invaded?
“Advanced development has to do with recognizing and admiring a universal principle such as justice — and then growing to the point where you do justice. You do justice, not only because it is right but more so because you cannot do otherwise. You don’t believe in one thing but find yourself doing another; you become a just person.” (Karen C. Nelson, 1989)
“Excellence may be a universal ideal, but it is a personal goal for only a few. The attainment of excellence begins with a vision — a vision of what is possible. The vision does not visit everyone; it selects the most fertile ground for its development. What criteria does it use? Inherent capability, surely. However, there must also be emotional receptivity, a willingness to embrace the vision and devote oneself to it. If the ability is there, but the receptivity is lacking, the vision will be fleeting. It only remains with those who are willing to work toward its fruition.” (Linda Kreger Silverman)
- Are you driven to achieve “what could be” when you think of “what is?”
- Are you solidly connected to an inner vision and aware that that vision will continually evolve?
- Do you feel compelled to connect directly with painful social ills, so as to educate others through your compassion and sacrifice?
- Do you work tirelessly to make a contribution to better the world, in accordance with your ideals?