Communicating — When Your Mind Travels At Warp Speed

photo courtesy Mubariz Mehdizadeh, Unsplash

You have a lot to say. A gazillion ideas run through your head. Insight. Analysis. Book reviews. Strong opinions. Inventions. Songs. Stories. Responsibilities. Poems. To Do Lists. Intuitions. Worries. Self-criticism. Images of catastrophes yet to unfold.

You may have trouble communicating these ideas. Being heard. Feeling understood.

For several possible reasons:

How do you choose which of the gazillion to share? It’s hard to grab onto any one idea when they’re flying so fast. You don’t know anyone who cares about dark matter. You could pontificate excitedly for hours about your latest research but even your dog falls asleep after ten minutes. You can’t control your urge to correct people’s errors. You were told girls shouldn’t look too smart. You were seen as the trouble-maker in your family. Teachers ignored you when you raised your hand for the 50th time that day. You were told boys shouldn’t have so many feelings. You’re an introvert. You’re an extravert. You’re not speaking your native language. You’ve been bullied for your smartness. You talk really, really fast.

So what do you do?

Well, first, darlings, depending on your interests and your depth and who you’re trying to communicate with, you may have to practice limiting your sharing and slowing your speech. I’m so sorry to tell you this. What you need to understand, though, is that it’s not because you are flawed in some despicable way. Quite the opposite. It’s more likely because you’re ahead of your time. I’m hoping that more humans are being born every day whose minds travel at warp speed. You just might be a trail blazer. And that can be a lonely place.

What else? Practice active listening with people you care about. Listening deeply is a great way to reach someone and it’s more likely that they’ll reciprocate.  And if you’re a better writer than speaker, try writing a note to get your message across. And, remember: Don’t waste your time with the toxic people.

Then, look for activities where you can nourish yourself and let your mind fly.

Here’s a partial list:

Start a blog. Keep a journal. Write a book. Get another degree. Become a researcher for wikipedia. Learn to meditate. Study a martial art. Become an indexer. Learn NVC. (nonviolent communication) Become an entrepreneur. Get involved in activities you love and use your intuition to find other RFMs. Learn the Argentine tango. Become a college professor. Talk to trees and rivers. Paint. Read and contact your favorite authors. Find a therapist who loves smart people. Write comments on a blog for rainforest minds.

You have a lot to say.

And the world needs to hear it.


To my bloggEEs: Have I told you that I love you? I feel so honored to be able to help you see what amazing beings you are. Tell us your experiences with communication and what you’ve found that helps. And thank you to the bloggEEs who suggested this topic.

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

58 responses to “Communicating — When Your Mind Travels At Warp Speed”

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  1. You Are Not Broken — A Strategy for Navigating Life With Humans Who Think You Are | Your Rainforest Mind

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  2. Nina Avatar

    My experience that I’ve crossed the line too much that now I even feel a bit uneasy when writing on this same blog, even to yourself, as I am a bit on edge while I await your reply. I just feel like everyone gave up on me, even though it is what made me finally get up for myself, and decide to take my life into my own hands. Suddenly feeling left out and finally without any hope to get acknowledged feels “a bit” heavy, but at least my heart doesn’t feel obliged to suffer so it could somehow please others by getting at least on the same page with them. It’s that loss of connection, closeness, intimacy, which feels unsettling, but it’s something that can be accepted one day by getting used to it, like so many things I already did in my life, which I felt won’t be possible.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      It may be even more apparent these days with the pandemic how much we yearn for connection and intimacy. I hope you can feel some sense of belonging, at least, here on my blog as you read the posts and the other comments. <3

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  4. Rika Febriani Avatar
    Rika Febriani

    Hi Paula,
    Interesting to read your article on RFM’s, it’s like finding an old friend. I usually channeling my energy through meditate, it’s help “calming down” my mind. And you’re right about the feeling of loneliness that constantly feel by people with RFM’s.
    I’ll always wait for your article Paula…


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for commenting, Rika. Glad to have you here.

  5. medleymisty Avatar

    I don’t know.

    One thing I’m proud of with Valley is that it appealed to people of all ages on a lot of different levels. One reader told me that her young daughter gathered her friends around her computer at her Halloween party and they all read it and liked it as a scary thriller story, and then an older teen told me it helped her get through her mother’s cancer, and older adults have told me that they found a lot of meaning in it that was relevant to their lives.

    I’ve noticed my newer stuff is not nearly as accessible. I think it’s a great deal better in terms of writing skill and aesthetics and playing with language and imagery, because I’ve learned a lot in the eight years since Valley, but it definitely doesn’t have the same reach and no preteens are going to be reading it at their Halloween party. But it’s what makes me happy right now, so hey.

    I guess that’s what I have to contribute to this conversation, maybe? Like over the years I’ve read a lot of the gifted stuff on the internet. Tried to participate over a decade ago, but I found out that I don’t fit in even on gifted forums. And I’ve noticed this push towards conformity all over the place, especially when it’s parents talking about their gifted kids. Which I also noticed and appreciated how you said that it didn’t mean that we were flawed, because that is how it feels most of the time when people talk about it, like they’re saying that their kids need to be other than what they are, that they need to cut off their toes and bits of their heel until their foot fits into the glass slipper.

    I think it’s okay sometimes to be like “Hey, you know what, I’m writing this for me, and it’s cool if you’re into it and it’s also cool if you’re not.”

    But that is influenced by my chainsaws and my attempts to stop letting them cut me so much, so, you know. I’m all into not playing their game anymore and accepting my feet the way they are and wearing whatever shoes I want to.

    But I guess, when I do want to reach other people, like with Valley….actually, honestly, I really wrote Valley for me too and I didn’t consciously make it accessible and I’m not consciously making my current work less accessible. They’re both just reflections of who I was when I wrote them, really, and now I’ve lost my whole thread of thought.

    I don’t know. These days I mostly silently read the blogs of people who are very different than me, and discussions on mainstream sites, and I just try to observe humans in their natural habitat and not say anything so that my ego and my anxiety don’t get activated and I can just listen and learn. But I do still need to talk sometimes, and you seem nice and welcoming, even if my anxiety gets in the way here too. After the Bad Times, the internet is terrifying and it takes me a while to trust new people.

    Trying to think of helpful things to say about communication now that I’ve gone and muddled myself up….

    Well, okay, so one thing I’ve learned is that silence is not rejection. I often feel like I’m shouting out into the void and like no one cares or reads or understands, but then sometimes someone will come out of the woodwork and tell me that I’m their hero, that I inspire them, that my work helped them get through things in their life. And I never knew this and I thought no one was reading, but they were, and I was helping them and having a profound effect on them, and I was totally unaware of it. And sometimes friends will try to tell me that silence is not negative, that I intimidate people or that people are shy or that people who find a lot of meaning in what I say may not be able to articulate a response. So you might be reaching people and having an effect even if you think you aren’t.

    And I don’t know, maybe that’s a decent way to do things, actually. Shout into the void, silently read other people’s void-shoutings, and learn about each other without getting egos and personal issues in the way. But then that has the problem where people feel like no one is listening, so…yeah. I don’t know. Communication is hard.

    I say I don’t know a lot. Huh. Probably in some small part due to female socialization, but I think mostly it’s just important to me to reiterate that I don’t know anything, that I’m just here to learn, and that there are infinite possible answers for every problem, and a great deal of those infinite answers will be correct in some way.

    Hey, maybe that’s relevant to the communication thing! I think maybe it goes better when you make clear that you’re open to other people’s experiences and interpretations and things, and you invite other perspectives, and you make it into a thing where you’re all exploring a topic together, instead of a “Haha I’m right and you’re wrong!” thing.

    Again – I don’t know. LOL. 😉 But I think mostly I just play it as I go, learning and failing and learning and sometimes maybe succeeding a bit, and sometimes succeeding even if I don’t know it. I try to be open to other people’s experiences and to not be too self-righteous or sure that I’m right while also keeping up boundaries so that I don’t let the chainsaws in again, and I guess that’s probably about the best anyone can do.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you, medleymisty. I’m glad you’re here. Good to remember that you might not know how your work is helping others. And it makes sense to write because there’s something you need to say versus forcing it to be accessible but not satisfying for yourself. Appreciate your sharing your thoughts with us.

    2. Mark V Avatar
      Mark V

      I don’t know either.

      We live in a time when it’s practically a sin to admit not knowing, when it’s considered a sign of confidence and leadership to be full of BS and “fake it till you make it”, rather than to shrug our shoulders and admit ignorance and embrace the mysteries and ambiguities of the universe.

      So my thanks to you for saying that.

      But I don’t know. I often post replies here, but almost without fail I will click “post comment” and immediately feel some anxiety and regret. I write a lot because that is the best way for me to communicate, even though I rarely feel as if my writing has made me fully understood.

      “…over the years I’ve read a lot of the gifted stuff on the internet. Tried to participate over a decade ago, but I found out that I don’t fit in even on gifted forums. And I’ve noticed this push towards conformity all over the place…”

      Me too. See, more than all my gifted characteristics, the best part of me is wild and untamable. IMO that’s the best part of everyone, but most have had it beaten out of them in one way or another until the wild part of them and others is distrusted and detested.

      But I don’t know.

  6. Vanessa Avatar

    The glazed look and the subtle head nodding, as they widen their eyes as if I suddenly sprouted a third eye, remind me that I’m speaking another language. Sadly, this happens most frequently when I am speaking to top administrative educators regarding my RF children and how to meet their warp speed minds. I have learned to tone down my intensity and rapid fire thought process in conversation over the years. It is helpful to have a RF tribe in which you don’t have to modify the self in order to be heard.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Welcome to your tribe, Vanessa! Thanks for your comment.

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  8. Mark V Avatar
    Mark V

    How can someone so good at communication…be so BAD at communication?

    I speak and write the language very well….ONE of the languages anyway. The other languages such as body language, small talk or flirting? Not so much.

    I get it wrong so often. For instance there’s that subtle little dance of romance. I’m either totally missing all the not-so-subtle hints saying “I am interested!”, or I am coming on too strong when I had long been firmly put in the “friend zone”.

    I mean Jeez, it took someone else who knew the language to tell me that those people calling in the middle of the night or leaving secret notes for me were actually stalkers. I just didn’t get it.

    I still don’t. Not in romance, nor any other relationships. The streets just weren’t meant for top-fuel funny cars. Vroom.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      That “dance of romance” can be tricky, Mark. I just read The Course of Love by Alain De Botton. It’s actually about how partnerships work. The deeper issues that bring people together and the psychology behind them. I may write a post about it. You might like it.

      1. Mark V Avatar
        Mark V

        Thank you Paula, I might check that book out (but maybe not — as feared I have had a very hard time getting through “Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm”, even though it is fascinating and illuminating.)

        It’s not that I have given up on romance, but after several painful but (in retrospect) predictable outcomes, I realized that my chances of having a fulfilling relationship would always be jeopardized by my financial situation. Not just by others’ perceptions of me, but by my own perception of myself and the stresses inherent in poverty.

        About a decade ago it was a tough but necessary step to begin asking myself: what if no one ever loves me again? Can I handle that? Will it destroy me, or is there a chance it will make me stronger?

        The experiment isn’t over yet so the results aren’t in. 😉

        1. Mark V Avatar
          Mark V

          Maybe I’m not so clueless. I found this article by Alain De Botton in which he states pretty much what I did about facing life alone before trying to fill that void with another person:

          “We make mistakes, too, because we are so lonely. No one can be in an optimal frame of mind to choose a partner when remaining single feels unbearable. We have to be wholly at peace with the prospect of many years of solitude in order to be appropriately picky; otherwise, we risk loving no longer being single rather more than we love the partner who spared us that fate.”

          1. Paula Prober Avatar
            Paula Prober

            Not so clueless, Mark.

          2. hksounds Avatar

            Alain de Botton is such a lovely writer. Thanks for the article.

  9. Gabi Avatar

    Haha! I overwhelmed my husband this weekend, trying to make up a plan for the next year. It helps me to manage the overwhelm. His response was “All that planning is overwhelming!” I was like “Without this planning I’m a basket case!” So he is stating that he will agree with my plan if I draw it up, he has some editing and veto power. Then a few hours later I see him making a list of things that need to happen in the house we are possibly buying … I thought he didn’t want to plan, but I chuckled to myself, since that is exactly what he is doing, We will see how our plans meet in the middle.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Organizing and list making definitely help me with the overwhelm. Sounds like you two are actually on the same page! Thanks, Gabi.

    2. FredB Avatar

      “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight Eisenhower

  10. Chris Colazo Avatar
    Chris Colazo

    Have you ever had any trans clients? Do you find that the more marginalized an RFM person is due to intersections in various minority statuses (such as being an underemployed Queer person of color) can contribute to the alienation felt by us? If for no other reason than nobody can relate, or is willing to burn out for global, species-wide (or even more broad) justice? I see problems everywhere I look; but I also see countless solutions b/c true solutions are holistic & require systemic change… but people seem content to just turn the other cheek (complacency & lack of original thought are what is killing the planet & everything on it). I also consider myself an especially challenging case. I’m a transwoman of color who had a neglectful upbringing by chainsaws & had my legs (or face & spirit, to be more accurate) broken by lions in my rural schooling system (to use Stephanie Tolan’s metaphor of The Cheetah). But in addition to that, probably have a mild-to-moderate case of TBI b/c I’m 6’6” barefoot & have had a minimum of 6 concussions throughout my 31yrs of life. So I imagine my brain looking like a bruised pear, w/ a hippocampus that looks like Swiss cheese (b/c I’m also a gourmand lol). I’m also rather fond of cannabis, since it brings me down to everyone else’s level, evens out (or excuses) some of my “overexcitability” & also ameliorates my chronic pain more than any NSAID I’ve tried. I read the kindle preview of your book & believe I could get a lot of help from someone like you- more than from most counselors. But I worry that someone who specializes in Giftedness may not be transcompetent (even tho it’s just another form of “neurodiversity”, and you’re in Eugene) or have capacity to address my severe, chronic trauma. I’ve spent my entire life alienating people who took offense to me poorly trying to articulate how hard it is to be in the 99th percentile of intelligence, yet never pursued it as a reason to get counseling. I got counseling for my gender dysphoria & lifelong trauma, which utilized EMDR for 3yrs & facilitated my transition. But I’ve been out of counseling for a year after having moved to Portland, and am on OHP. So I feel like beggars can’t be choosers, especially since I recently was kidnapped but the police don’t believe me or care, and my ex mentor (and celebrity wannabe extraornidaire) convinced many of my activist friends back home that I made up the entire incident (including the fact that I was a sex worker) b/c I’m allegedly mentally ill & smoke too much cannabis. I guess I went in a bunch of different directions, so I’ll recap:
    1.) Do you agree that RFM people w/ intersectional identities are even more marginalized than their cis-het Caucasian counterparts?
    2.) And that normalizing so-called “neurodiversity” & listening to what we have to say will help heal an incomplete “neurotypical” society?
    3.) Are you trans *and* trauma competent?
    4.) Can you recommend someone in PDX who is covered by OHP?
    5.) Are you taking new clients?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Chris. For these specific questions, it would be best to contact me directly through email. My email is paula at rainforestmind dot com. Or through my About page. But for the comments here, I think, yes, if you have multiple minority statuses, you’d definitely be more vulnerable to alienation and challenges.

  11. K Avatar

    I was the trouble-maker in my family, as I want to talk about problems, to sort them out. I always want us to find an understanding for each other if there’s some friction between me and another person.And I wanted to talk to my younger brother about the difficult and painful things we went through as little children, so that we could understand what happened and support each other. (We haven’t been in contact for many years now.) And so… digging in everything, as I am doing, I’m the person from hell.

    I have a question. Why is it that people (to me it seems it’s most people) don’t want to talk about problems? Specially not personal ones? Is it because they can’t find solutions by doing it, or because it might hurt, or are there other reasons? It might be different reasons with different people, but what is common, sort of… ?

    1. Chris Colazo Avatar
      Chris Colazo

      It’s just fear/complacency. Same reason we procrastinate. Everyone has to address their demons someday, whether it’s in rehab or on their deathbed. Despite it being difficult, we’re the lucky ones b/c we have the capacity & ability to do the hard work of self-sssessment & self-growth. I’ve spent my entire life trying save my mother & sister from the traumas they inflict on themselves b/c they can’t get over their past. If you try to think about the most hurtful, shameful thing you’ve endured, you’ll likely wince as tho someone just shone a bright light in your face. And you’ll prolly do anything to avoid thinking about it. If you have a (semi) photographic memory that won’t let you forget or let go of details, you may do anything you can to distract yourself. That’s why a lot of people turn to so-called “addictions”. They’re running away from problems, which I vividly recall swearing not to do in D.A.R.E. until my chronic pain & 40hr workweeks made me curious enough to try cannabis. Soon, I found a way to isolate & daydream sans-shame! I believe there are essentially 2 things in this world: Love and Pain/Fear. Fear is just mental pain we experience when we think of something threatening, even if it’s as abstract of a threat as me learning how to apply eyeliner. We instantly race into the future to predict our humiliation & how we’ll react to it, so we hide the brush & liner in shame until the curiosity outweighs the fear. The best advice I’ve ever heard was “feel the fear and do it anyway” b/c true bravery comes from challenging maladaptive fears (not being reckless) and growing into someone mor genuine, vulnerable… and ultimately loving. Just my 2 cents lol

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      K. There can be multiple reasons that people avoid problems. And personal ones might be the hardest to face. Some people are more introspective or more willing to examine themselves, even if there’s pain involved. I’m not sure where that courage comes from but I think it’s courageous to look at oneself. Family members can be unwilling to work things out with you, though. But healing can happen for you anyway; usually with a good therapist. Of course, my bias is that it would such a better world if individuals were willing to look at the dysfunction in their families.

    3. Mark V Avatar
      Mark V

      I am also the trouble-maker in my family for similar reasons that you describe.

      Have you ever heard the term “Identified Patient”?
      I am cautious about how much stock to put into it, but the concepts seems to fit the patterns of my dysfunctional, secretive family.

      According to the theory, as long as my life is an emotional hurricane that personifies my family’s deep, unspoken dysfunction, they are free to live their lives as normal, relatively well-adjusted people. As I struggled with mental illness and poverty, when my family members were not obliged to interact with me at official family functions they simply pretended I did not exist. Whenever I was in the hospital or homeless, none of them bothered contacting me to say “we love you and we’re thinking of you”.

      I know it sounds like I may be hiding some unforgivable sin against them — and given their treatment it is hard to not feel guilty — but the fact is that as the eldest son and the most emotionally open and aware family member, I worked hard to try to make our family whole. At one point I even volunteered to give up my home to live with and care for our dying father because I was unemployed and had the time none of them did.

      When I finally had enough of their toxic BS and stopped attending family functions, not one of them ever asked where I was or why I stopped coming around. I suspected they knew deep inside, but were too afraid to allow themselves to consciously admit it.

      Are they bad people? I don’t know! As angry as I am for their apathy and selfishness, I am not the one to decide that. It has taken a long time, but I realized the only thing I can do is to stop wondering what is wrong with them and focus on making myself whole again. Some days I do great, others not so much.

      I pray you find the same patience and peace apart from your family regardless of whether they ever come around.

      1. Ro Avatar

        This is very relatable to me Mark – and no, I wouldn’t assume you committed an unforgivable sin against your family. Sometimes a drive for honesty is enough to exclude a person from relationship with family members of a dysfunctional family system. In my own life it felt like my family thought I was refusing to uphold the terms of a contract of that I never actually signed, and never would have agreed to.

        1. Mark V Avatar
          Mark V

          Thanks Ro.

          It isn’t just the suffering for want of honesty and accountability, it is also that you get labeled the troublemaker for daring to openly pursue it. It’s tough to stand your ground with toxic people and not feel as if you are being too demanding or judgmental.

          About 8 years after I had made my exit from the family, I got an email from my brother saying “We should bury the hatchet. I want you back in my life.” He made it sound like it was his decision to end our relationship, not mine, and that he was now ready to do me the favor of letting me back in.
          Without skipping a beat he added, “But if we are going to resume our relationship, you need to change your attitude.”

          I wanted to say “Excuse me? Are you insane?”
          But I tried to be patient and simply pointed out that any family that truly wanted one of their own back in their life would not attach caveats to the invitation.

          This angered him. The implication was then “How dare you? You’re the one that needs me the most and you’re turning me down?”


          “F*** you!”

          “Hey, thanks for reminding me of what I have not been missing.”


        2. Mark V Avatar
          Mark V

          Btw Ro, I forgot to comment on your perfect summary of how dysfunctional families maintain the status quo: “…it felt like my family thought I was refusing to uphold the terms of a contract of that I never actually signed, and never would have agreed to.”

          Exactly! By simply being ourselves we are in breach of contract!

          Not to defend them, but I suppose for fearful people who are so used to hiding behind rules and contracts and codes of conduct (no matter how informal or ill-defined), it is scary to have someone challenge those safety nets, perhaps even more so if they are a family member.

  12. Cara Avatar

    That’s too a lot of informations and possibilities of evolution are lost like that. It makes us suffer.

    Great ideas at the end to go further than our limitations. Thank you !

  13. ML Avatar

    The comments above about drive I think are hitting on something brought up by this post. I have consciously tried since about 1st grade to keep my thoughts to myself most of the time, but I still sometimes misjudge the level of someone’s interest and open my mouth and dump the contents of my mind into their lap, and instantly kill the conversation. But I feel like there is this drive that i can’t ignore, this need to think about things and turn ideas over in my mind to make sure I’ve thought of all sides of them. It’s not just that my brain works fast and deep, it’s that it needs to. To take the cheetah analogy, it’s like being built to run but being told running is wrong and everyone needs to walk at the same pace. But it’s not even about me and my need, it’s because the world has so much in it, there is still so much to discover, it’s like reading a really great book, and you have to find out what happens, but everyone keeps telling you that a page a day is fine and not to read ahead (yeah, i’m still a little bitter about years of class readings in school!). It’s so hard not to get ground down by years of being given the clear message that being different is wrong, and your multitudinous thoughts are not welcome.

    1. hksounds Avatar

      I suggest that you pay no attention to anyone who tries to stifle you. But then, see my earlier comment, above, for where that may take you.

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      There’s so much in this comment that will be helpful to others, ML. The distinction that your mind NEEDS to run fast and deep is a good one. And I’m sure many will relate to being held back from reading in school. Thank you for sharing.

  14. hksounds Avatar

    Hi Paula,

    Your list of solutions is wonderful but (you knew that was coming) you left off something. I’ve lived long enough to want to tell folks, especially younger ones, “Give yourself over to doing whatever you want. You can be happy, even if all by yourself.” Then I would add, “But, at the same time, never stop looking for that peer.”

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you hksounds. Important to appreciate the solitude and the wonders that can come from that.

  15. artyplantsman Avatar

    This is WONDERFUL and I identify so much. 🙂

  16. emje Avatar

    recently i have decided to close myself off a bit–to quit trying so desperately to be heard–& to just focus on what i am saying. to listen to myself. otherwise i find myself feeling lost & forgotten.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sometimes it’s important to take breaks and listen to oneself. Definitely important to listen to self. Thanks for sharing, emje.

  17. K. Avatar

    Yes, thank-you for writing this, Paula! Sometimes, I feel like a cheetah constantly running (quenching for thirst mentally) and other people feel like turtles that slog and take their time — turtles take a while to catch up. Sometimes being too curious can feel like alienation but at the sametime it is a precious gift to think and feel differently with taste and ideas. Though, it is difficult to connect and explore with most people that do not share the same plane of thought — but that is where emotional intelligence chimes in. Also, having very niched interests that are different from the mainstream norm makes one feel like an odd person at times. I really enjoy old films from the 20s-60s and most people have no recollection on silent films or golden films — I suppose this is one example. Thanks for writing this; I can relate!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      There’s actually an analogy about giftedness that uses the cheetah. If you google Stephanie Tolan and Is it a Cheetah, you’ll probably find it. Thanks for sharing your examples, K.

      1. K. Avatar

        Interesting — will look it up. Thanks, Paula! And thanks for writing these lovely articles. I appreciate them a lot. Cheers.

  18. Janeg Avatar

    Your posts are the best thing in my inbox. I always feel warmer inside after reading them. I have also bought multiple copies of your books as they resonate with a number of family members. So thanks! Ps I loved Robert B’s question about inner motivation and drive, as I wrestle with those questions too. And I am over 40…

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for buying my book, Janeg! Can you say more about your specific questions around motivation and drive? Could be a future post.

      1. Janeg Avatar

        Too many things to learn, too many projects to undertake, too many interesting jobs, too short a lifespan! Plus I want to be successful in any given field and actually contribute something. It’s a balancing act, especially as I also need/want to spend time with our children. I also wish that human understanding in fields that I will never be involved in (endocrinology, astrophysics, neurology) would hurry up with their findings so they can let the rest of us know. Too many unanswered questions!!

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Ah, yes. All those pesky questions!

        2. Kris Avatar

          I wrestle with many of the same things you do Janeg, and I’m 62!

          I wasted many years trying to fit in, also recovering from a dysfunctional family and early schooling that was mostly useless to me. Have since done two degrees as a mature age student – more interesting than school was, but still always itching to learn more and find the one thing (or things?) that really nail it for me in terms of intellectual satisfaction, creative outlet, and making a contribution to a better world.

          At this stage in my life I’m counting down the days till I can retire from my “real” job (which consumes far more of my time than any job should, and doesn’t tick any of the above-mentioned boxes). I practically salivate thinking about how much time I’m going to have to devote to all sorts of interesting things, once I no longer have to keep doing something that’s mostly very boring just so I can pay the bills.

          1. Paula Prober Avatar
            Paula Prober

            It’s never too late, Kris. I started this blog when I was 62!

            1. Beth Heinecamp Avatar
              Beth Heinecamp

              Wow Paula! That’s fantastic, I had no idea you started this blog at such a ‘late’ time! I hope that fact inspires others here, as it has me. Thanks for creating this blog and helping us to feel more connected to others and to life.

              1. Paula Prober Avatar
                Paula Prober

                You’re welcome, Beth. I’m happy to inspire!

            2. krismontgomery Avatar

              You’re absolutely right, Paula, it’s never too late. I’m just a late starter I guess. But I work hard at staying healthy ( which wasn’t always the case) and hope to live to a ripe old age, so here’s hoping I still have plenty of time to do amazing things 🙂

              I love your blog and the concept of RFM – it really helps me understand a lot about what makes me tick, and that I’m not alone. For most of my life I felt that, as a baby, I must have been abandoned by aliens on this planet. I saw various counsellors for brief periods over the years – none of them were much help. I’m pretty sure none of them knew much, if anything, about giftedness. But then, neither did I back then.

              I only began to understand giftedness, and hence myself, when I started researching about it because of the horrible time my son was having at school. He kept running away from school, with me chasing him most of the time. All he wanted to do at school was go to the library and “do research” as he put it. All his teachers wanted him to do was stay in the classroom and “learn” stuff he already knew. They tried to pin all sorts of labels on him, and in the end we found a fantastic online open access school, and he stayed home and did all his schooling by correspondence. He absolutely loved it. Now he’s at university, having just completed a degree majoring in philosophy and politics, with high distinctions all the way through.

              Sometimes I can’t help wondering what my life might have been like if my parents had allowed me to do my schooling the way my son did. Impossible of course, because there were no online schools back then. And my parents had no idea how monumentally boring school was for me (unlike my son, who voted with his feet, I just put up with it). University was a whole lot less boring than school was, thank goodness.

              When it comes to learning though, the best thing EVER, for me, is the internet. Such a smorgasbord of freely available things to learn. But still, alas, not enough time to learn everything I want to. I do pick away at it in the little bits of free time left over from my job and other commitments. But when I retire from work (couple more years at most) there’ll be no stopping me! :-))

              1. Paula Prober Avatar
                Paula Prober

                Kris. You might be surprised at how many RFMs feel like aliens from other planets. And who knows… 🙂 I look forward to hearing about all of your projects in the upcoming years!

          2. Janeg Avatar

            That’s amazing Kris, l am delighted to hear from someone who feels the same! I have just done one further degree as a mature student, and I am toying with another- but maybe I should save that for a time when my kids (6, 10, 11) are older. Luckily my job is fascinating, as I am still a little way from retiring!!

  19. Robert B. Avatar
    Robert B.

    And, yes, you’re right about “warp speed”. It is difficult for me not to think, and about so many things! There are times when it makes me feel so miserable—so anxious and depressed!

  20. Robert B. Avatar
    Robert B.

    I have so many ideas I would like to bring into being or fruition, things to learn and master before I die!

    30 years old is still young, isn’t it?

    *Sigh* My life would be a lot easy without these urges and desires…

    I have a question for you, Paula. Do you think those who are gifted has an inner motivation or drive different from the norm , which in turn causes or compels to act in a distinct manner (in quality and quantity)?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      30? Definitely young. I’ve seen a high level of drive/motivation in the RFMs I know. Especially drive to make a better world. It can be tricky because when they’re discouraged over the years by schooling or a dysfunctional family, that drive can go underground. Jacobsen writes about it in The Gifted Adult. If you haven’t read it, you might find it helpful. Thanks for sharing, Robert.

  21. VierVoeterVriendelijk Avatar

    I love you too!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober