We Barely Talk About Giftedness, Until It’s Our Professional ChoiceDecember 7, 2023
Navigating the Complexities of GiftednessJanuary 12, 2024
Birds of a Rare Feather, Inventors, and Gifted Share These Characteristics
If you call yourself professional or think your work is worthwhile you are the core of our community. If you love to write or communicate in other ways and seem to show traits of giftedness, you are the trifecta winner in our community.
Meet Frans Corten.
In 2001 he founded Werk en Waarde (translated as something like “worthwhile work”)— dedicated to the development of special talents, e.g. gifted people and others, not fitting into average jobs. He offers job coaching, lectures, and inspiration workshops for individuals, as well as consultancy for companies.
If you are curious about people, especially the ones that show up as interesting, caring, focused on you, and fun, then you’ll enjoy his latest book, Exceptional Talented: Guide for the Gifted, Inventors and Other Birds of a Rare Feather published in 2021 and available in Dutch or English through his website at www.exceptionaltalent.eu and Amazon. (e-book version available March 2024)
As an exceptional talent – whether gifted or not – you may not automatically find your way in life and work. You can experience a big gap between what you need and what you encounter. This richly illustrated book will help you create your own path. Not by adapting, but by attuning instead. The book ends with portraits of exceptional talents and an inventor who has gone down this road before you.
It’s About Your Work and Your Profession
The most refreshing and original part of Frans Corten is he comes at this as a career coach and biologist with extensive experience in field observations. That means he can see and learn from careful observations while excluding disruptive factors. That means he sees and writes about adults who may be exceptionally talented with words and illustrations that connect with your understanding and desire to learn more.
Why does Frans feel it’s important to tell the world about the characteristics when combined relate to the highly gifted? He believes the highly gifted can integrate better if society understands how it can benefit from that. When he first started career coaching for gifted people in 2001, he was only the second professional doing so worldwide.
Today publishers, educators, social services agencies, mental health professionals, and scientists are taking the subject more seriously
The highly gifted experience confusion in their careers, unexpected conflicts, and opposition. They would benefit from a healthy emancipation process, as would the world. Both really need that.
This is not about one thing. Not about an IQ test. Think—the combination of characteristics.
One nasty habit everyone’s brain gets into is categorization and labeling. By reducing complex ideas or individuals to a single label, we risk oversimplifying their true nature and overlooking important nuances. This can result in stereotypes, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations.
In 2022 Frans added a leaflet to his book giving details about highly giftedness. Nearly nothing has been written yet about this small group.
Frans describes positive characteristics which, in a combination of five or more, can indicate high giftedness.
Here’s a sample of four. Buy the book to get all 16 and the full benefit of 20 years of thousands of interviews and observations of adults in careers. Remember, you need five or more in combination to inform and enlighten you on yourself or someone you know well.
- Being able to recall clear, verifiable experiences and observations from before the age of three.
- Having multiple personal experiences with clear observation, clear feeling, and clear knowing, which turn out later to be correct.
- Successfully taking on a missing role, different every time, in a team or process.
- Taking only a short time to track down the major factors in a problem where experts have failed to do so after years of research
You can dive deep into the work and vision of Werk en Waarde in articles and citations on his website. One of the most quoted articles is Gifted Adults at Work—the first article of Noks Nauta and Frans Corten from 2002, republished in the International Mensa Research Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2, summer 2009 about ‘Gifted in the workplace’.
How Do You Know You Are Gifted?
Frans said “I used to be a very fast learner at primary school. I could read at the age of five. So the idea of being very intelligent was discussed about me, not with me. In class, other kids asked me to explain difficult stuff, such as ‘You do it better than the teacher’. ”
In 2019 Frans went through testing with a psychologist experienced in giftedness and discovered he very probably belongs in the group of the highly gifted.
Q: Is this true for you? Because you are a deep thinker, highly intuitive, creative, analytical, and curious, you bring a particularly complex dimension to professional relationships
Frans: I do not see myself as a deep thinker. I easily get the whole picture, I spot relevant links, and I go easily to I higher level or see relevant details. But I am not interested in profound serious knowledge. Only when it is somehow obscure, forgotten, or extremely irrelevant, it can get my full attention. For example, the history organization, and functioning (travel possibilities) of night trains in Europe (sleepers) are highly interesting except for the technique of stock.
Now that international traveling by train is getting more popular again, I am gradually losing my interest. I also like to know why peculiar details in the train timetable are there. Especially when incidents occur, why can’t they use a better solution? Sometimes there is a good reason for it and I happen to find someone who understands the whole picture and all relevant relations and likes to explain it to me.
I am very creative in my mind and also very organized at a higher level. It forms quite a rare combination with my observation skills in human relations and interactions that sometimes seem to go near the clairvoyant realm. But at the same time, I can be struggling with interactions with groups of people especially when politics or strategic matters are involved. I do not understand them and to be honest I do not want to understand them.
Q: Did you become a professional on purpose or did your career path open a door into the profession you identify with today?
Frans: This December (2023) I am in highly professional training at the Findhorn Foundation to become a Dutch trainer for facilitators in the Transformation Game (Innerlinks.com). The original founders of The Transformation Game (1985) organized this training and professional colleagues and I are working on reintroducing the valuable game in the Netherlands. More information about Dutch training will follow in the course of 2024. The website www.transformatiespel.nl will become a hub for all recognized facilitators in the Netherlands.
This is one of the rare occasions that I can be close to myself and can be seen by the very experienced trainers, all of them in their seventies with many decades of experience and deep understanding including the spiritual level (finding to giving meaning to life). It can be difficult for me to express my needs because in my family there was no room for that. One of the trainers felt exactly what I needed and why I was hesitant, could find clear words for it, respected it, and worked around it. It deeply touched me because this happens rarely outside the two intervision groups I am in.
Q: Which of your communication skills do you seem to work on constantly, always learning, always evolving?
Frans: I am not purpose-driven. In my career when a door opens or an opportunity comes up, I may take a step forward. So I rolled in my first job, I rolled into HR and I started my own business. I also found my partner Guido in that way and we bought and lived in three houses in the last decades. All of them came to us unexpectedly.
I am always learning about human interaction, how to cope with them, and how to find possibilities and portals to move to a higher or more intense level.
When learning in a course: What will I/we do differently from now on? In my current training, there are at least five things a day. In most trainings I did, there were none.
Words to Live and Laugh By
The power of quotes and rhetoric is part of the gifted person’s thinking. Here are the quotes Frans often uses.
‘Niet aanpassen, wel afstemmen’. The key insight in my book is in bold. ‘Not by adapting, but by attuning instead’
‘Niet wetend, maar luisterend gaande de weg’ is described in my book, I found it under a statue of an innovative psychotherapist from the 70s. ‘Not knowing, but listening along the way’. The Dutch sentence is deliberately written in an unfashionable, old style.
One of the key confusions in the career of the gifted is that they can do things very well although they don’t give them pleasure or energy.
Often, if not weekly, we feature professionals who initiate meaningful conversations with other gifted minds and storytellers–and who they serve. They connect regularly through this blog, our newsletter, and their emails to nurture and support the network that enriches them. See more, learn more, and share more on our LinkedIn page —https://www.linkedin.com/company/gifted-professionals-communicators
If you are curious about how sensitive, creative, intense, professional, ethical, expressive, and clear you are about your intentions, wants, and needs, get the book Exceptional Talent. A Guide for the Gifted, the Inventors and Other Birds of a Rare Feather. Then check out the complete list of positive characteristics which, in a combination of five or more, can indicate high giftedness.