What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People: Goes the other way? I think not! 2


Intellectual Dabrowski had finished his experiment https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/what-seth-godin-doesnt-understand-about-gifted-people-goes-the-other-way-i-think-not/ and drawn a neat QED beside the conclusion. They had not been able to induce cheetah abilities, anatomy and physiology in Caramel Cat and the Tortoise by subjecting them to a rigorous regime of making good choices, developing good habits, positive thinking techniques, training and practice.

It could be argued that Caramel Cat had been less than enthusiastic about the whole operation; which could have resulted in less success than expected. As it was, he learned some useful strategies, which did improve his speed marginally and improved his muscle strength and breathing, but did not enlarge his nostrils or ribcage or give him any other cheetah attributes.
Caramel Cat professed to really not being fussed about becoming a cheetah as he considered that, in many ways, cheetahs were not the best model of a cat – “Far from the “best cat,” the cheetah would seem to be barely a cat at all” as Stephanie Tolan wrote in her brilliant analogy ‘Is it a cheetah?’ http://www.stephanietolan.com/is_it_a_cheetah.htm

The same could not be said of the Tortoise. He desperately wanted to achieve cheetah characteristics and worked very diligently at all the exercises and embraced the thinking techniques wholeheartedly. And he did become very fast – for a tortoise! But in every other way he was still a tortoise.
But Imaginational Dabrowski continued to think about the problem for a long time.
Probably it was the phrase ‘Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted?’ that acted as a springboard for Imaginational’s reveries.
Imaginational always warms to discussions that began with ‘What if…?’ and ‘Wouldn’t it be great…’

He wondered about what had motivated Seth Godin to write

Actually, it goes the other way
Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted? In fact…
It turns out that choices lead to habits.
Habits become talents.
Talents are labeled gifts.
You’re not born this way, you get this way.

Was Seth trying to explain/downplay his own giftedness in an egalitarian –yes you too can have what I have – manner.

Was he trying to create conversation in relation to positive thinking as suggested by his next post at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/02/rehearsing-failure-rehearsing-success.html  or about cause and effect  as in http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/02/signals-vs-causes.html

Or was he, as a commenter on Susanne Thomas’ Building Wing Span blog http://buildingwingspan.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/what-seth-godin-doesnt-understand-about.html  suggested acting as a guru and trying to provoke action in his followers


Imaginational felt sure that Seth Godin would have a purpose in writing and speculated about whether it might relate to an upcoming project or book.
Was he canvassing opinions about the nature of giftedness or trying to influence public opinion about it?

This paragraph seemed to indicate that he was intending to teach something or change something but his intentions were not really clear


And Imaginational wondered what if it was possible to create a state of giftedness in yourself? Just because the answer at this point in time seemed to be a clear negative it did not necessarily mean that it would always be the case.

Maybe it was a Cake type argument. To bake a cake you needed to have enough of the right ingredients but how could you generate the original raw ingredients after you had baked it?

Maybe it was a Star Trek type argument. Maybe the arrow on Gagne’s model only went in one direction because on Earth we live in a linear time frame. We are born, we age and develop and then we die. Maybe if we did not live within the restrictions of a linear time frame we could gain experience and mastery which could then retrospectively cause adjustment to the essence and wiring of a person.

Maybe it was an Imaginary/ Imaginal type argument like the argument he had with Intellectual Dabrowski about the possible but highly improbable existence of the Tree Octopus https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/imaginational-dabrowski-counsel-for-the-defence-2/ .  Maybe there would come a time when it would be possible to imagine things into existence and people would be able to create giftedness in themself. And when that time came what would education look like? In fact who knew what developments there would be in education, in medicine, in philosophy?
And if it were possible would everyone want to do it?

As Gilbert and Sullivan observed “When you have nothing else to wear But cloth of gold and satins rare For cloth of gold you cease to care Up goes the price of shoddy!”

If people could create giftedness in themselves would it still come with all the downsides of asynchrony, heightened intensity and sensitivity and the social isolation that are felt by the gifted now? Or would it be the common condition with no negative aspects?

And if self made giftedness became the common condition what would happen to the people who chose not to do it? Would it be considered mandatory to

Make Choices
Build Habits
Earn Talents
Be Gifted

And what about the ones who, like the Tortoise, with the very best will and intention and effort were not able to self activate giftedness through good choices, good habits and hard work?

Imaginational explained all these thoughts to the others.
Sensual sat and scratched his head and Psycho Motor went outside to chase butterflies.

“I think maybe I could imagine being able to create giftedness in yourself” Imaginational said.

“That is just wishful thinking!” scoffed Intellectual.

Emotional Dabrowski said “I think that to even be able to think like that you would have to be gifted already”

This post has been nominated as one of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Rapid Responses to the topic “All children are gifted” To read more responses to this topic see


What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand about Gifted People : Goes the other way? I think not!


When Seth Godin writes something people take notice. He is an entrepreneur, founder of ventures such as Yoyodyne and Squidoo and the author of bestsellers such as Linchpin and Purple cow. He has 184,000+ likes on his Facebook page and 246,500+ followers on Twitter.

So when he wrote this blog post at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/02/goestheotherway.html it caused consternation to many parents, teachers, service providers and advocates in the field of gifted education.

Here is the post in its entirety:

Actually, it goes the other way

Wouldn’t it be great to be gifted? In fact…
It turns out that choices lead to habits.
Habits become talents.
Talents are labeled gifts.
You’re not born this way, you get this way.

It also caused consternation among the characters at Sprite’s Site.

I found Intellectual Dabrowski setting up experiments to test Seth Godin’s assertion.
He had called in the Psych-owl-ogist https://spritessite.wordpress.com/tag/psych-owl-ogist/  to provide background information and Myth Buster Columbus Cheetah to help sort facts from common misunderstandings.

“I have explained various aspects of giftedness” said the Psych-owl-ogist.
Here  https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/the-psych-owl-ogist-2/

Here https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/the-psych-owl-ogist-3/

And here https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/the-psych-owl-ogist-6/

I have discussed Prof Francoys Gagne’s DMGT model and how the various catalysts influence the development of innate giftedness into fully developed talent.
But you need to note that the talents are being developed from already existing giftedness.
Note that the arrow in the diagram points only in one direction!


There is much emphasis today on talent development and that is good.
But talent must not be confused with giftedness.
Giftedness as the Columbus Group definition says is ‘asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm’.
Yes, there is evidence of plasticity of the brain and renewing or changing of neural pathways but becoming proficient at something will not by itself create that initial state of asynchronous development and heightened intensity.
Making good choices, developing good habits, practice and persistence are great character attributes for mastering a talent and should be encouraged.

But the problem I have is with the linking of giftedness to achievement and also the assertion that everyone is/can be gifted. Yes, everyone has areas of ability. Yes, everyone has talents which should be developed and encouraged. Yes everyone is of equal worth as a human being!!!

But no, everyone is not naturally academically gifted. As the film The Incredibles points out “If everyone is special – then no-one is” And if nobody is gifted then we do not need to make any special provisions for their education.
And as Columbus Cheetah says “All cheetahs are animals but very few animals are cheetahs!”

“So Columbus Cheetah and I have designed an experiment” said Intellectual Dabrowski “We know cheetahs are perfectly designed to run fast. They have the long legs, flexible arched spine and enlarged chest, nostrils and lungs.
If Seth Godin is correct we can give Caramel Cat and the Tortoise all the attributes of a cheetah through choice, habits and talent development.
Choices lead to habits.
Habits become talents.
Talents are labeled gifts.
Columbus Cheetah has painted cheetah spots on Caramel Cat and the Tortoise and will be conducting a rigorous regime of training (including concentrated flash carding) and practice, practice, practice in an attempt to produce a cheetah performance and thereby cause an alteration in the very anatomy and physiology of Caramel Cat and the Tortoise.”

“And why are the Pair O’Noids  here?” I asked

“Probably because they recognise Seth Godin as someone with much power to influence public opinion and are concerned that he may add to the myths surrounding giftedness that advocates are already trying to counter.
Also the phrase ‘Talents are labeled gifts’ probably reminds them of the Newspeak of Orwell’s 1984 and the changing chants in Animal Farm
They probably wonder whether Seth was testing public reaction and the reactions of various groups or trying to change opinion when he posted” said Intellectual

Seth Godin’s post was discussed on the Twitter Irish gifted  #gtie chat The transcript can be read here http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/65121/Gifted-vs-High-Achiever

Other blog posts written in reply to Seth’s post can be read here

Pamela Price Red, White & GrewTM

Susanne Thomas Building Wing Span

Sara Wilson Watch Out for Gifted People

Mona Eby Chicks Life with intensity

Peter Lydon Gifted and Talented Ireland

Kate Arms-Roberts

Jen Torbeck Merrill Laughing at Chaos

Jeff Shoemaker Ramblings of a Gifted Teacher

Kim Modolfsky The Maker Mom

Lisa Rivero writing a post for Psychology Today

This post has been nominated as one of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Rapid Responses to the topic “All children are gifted” To read more responses to this topic see


When extended family don’t get giftedness


This week on Global #gtchat on Twitter powered by Texas Association for Gifted and Talented http://txgifted.org/gtchat  we will be discussing “When extended family members don’t get giftedness” and criticize every aspect of parenting gifted children.

Thinking about the topic made me think about the Tweet family’s Great Aunt Hashtag. Great Aunt Hashtag was undermining Tweet and Retweet’s confidence in their parenting https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/the-psych-owl-ogist-1/ by criticizing Retweet’s nest cleaning and food preparation methods https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/in-my-day/ and was completely unsympathetic with Tweetelle’s dietary concerns https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/tweetelle-becomes-a-seedetarian/
She did not recognize and value Tweetelle’s art work. https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/in-my-day/

She certainly did not understand the Tweetlets sensitivities and overexcitabilities and accused Retweet of over stimulating them; although she was unwittingly contributing to the stress levels  and causing Tweetelle to have nightmares https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/in-my-day-reprise/
She believed that all Tweetlets should be seen and not heard https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/in-my-day/and should be treated as they were ‘in HER day’ and kept quiet by filling them with food and singing banal nesty rhymes to them!

She tried to influence family decisions regarding the Tweetlets’ choice of school https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/finding-the-right-flock/  and definitely did not approve or support their decision to homeschool using NEST Ed

To Great Aunt Hashtag the Tweetlets seemed so strange that she suggested maybe they were cuckoo chicks which had been put into the Tweet family nest. https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/cuckoos-in-the-nest/

We have seen the effects of Great Aunt Hashtag’s interference but we have not really seen any suggestions for deflecting it or coping with it.
Tweet and Retweet are sure to find some helpful suggestions during the Twitter  #gtchat session.

Gtchat provides an outlet for the gifted community to network and discuss relevant topics each week. During the 24 hour interval including a recent week’s chat, over 100 participants posted tweets from 25 states in the U.S. and from 12 countries. See http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/fostering-parent-awareness-and-creating-community/

To read summaries and transcripts of past  #gtchat sessions see the Global #gtchat blog at http://globalgtchatpoweredbytagt.wordpress.com/
and to continue the discussions on Facebook see http://www.facebook.com/#!/gtchatmod?fref=ts   

Moodle Sandbox


I have been introduced to Moodle https://moodle.org/  by an online course  and I am investigating it as a method for turning some of the teaching units I wrote into online courses.
Each participant in the course has been given a Sandbox area on the E-capability moodle in which to play and experiment and learn about how to use the Moodle.
So the characters from Sprite’s Site are having fun in the sandbox and the Twitter birds remembered that they already had a sand tray used for illustrating the Higgs Boson particle https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/the-un-olympics-bower-5-02/
It is too early to share what I have done so far. I will keep you posted

Let’s go fly a kite! 4

The Twitter birds have been creating some kites as part of the Brilliant Chaos Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/brilliantchaosonline/ February creating challenge.

Now it is time to give the kites a test flight.


At first Tweetelle could not get her Love kite to fly because of the butterfly weighing it down. And maybe it did not help that she was holding the tail of the kite instead of the string. But eventually, with help from the butterfly the Love kite flew!


The Global Communications kite proved to be a bit too powerful for Tweetil to handle!



The Peace Kite flew well and the Twitter birds enjoyed the ride!


Let’s go fly a kite! 3


The Twitter birds are creating some kites as part of the Brilliant Chaos Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/brilliantchaosonline/ February creating challenge.

The messages they wish to convey with their kites are Love, Peace and Global Communications.

Here are the finished kites. The Twitter birds will give them a test fly before sending them.


Let’s go fly a kite! 1


My friend Leslie Graves is looking for some pictures of kites.

Lisa Lauffer created a lovely one for her on her iPad and posted it on her Artisan of creative miracles blog at

Susanne Thomas created some beautiful glass ornaments with kite motifs and posted them on her Building wingspan blog at http://buildingwingspan.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/artish-journey-submission-6-lets-go-fly.html?spref=fb

And the Twitter birds are creating some for her as part of the Brilliant Chaos Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/brilliantchaosonline/February creating challenge.

Twitter Birds are not really sure about how to make kites – at the moment they are working on them with hammer and nails!