I am not a Seth Godin fan, never really have been. He says some good things about marketing and life, but I don’t like his style.
However, many people I respect have a lot of time for what he has to say.
On Friday, he pissed them off.
See, he posted one of his little tiny blog posts on the concept of “gifted”. If he intended to be provocative and controversial, he succeeded.
In his post, he said: ”
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.”
He is wrong. Gifted and Talented are two different things.
“Gifted” is a biological reality, a sensitivity to stimulus. “Talented” is having skills.
Skills require habits of practice to be developed.
It is possible to achieve great things without gifted wiring through hard work, good choices, habits turned into talents. It is possible to have the gifted sensitivities and not achieve great things. But, the most impressive accomplishments of our world generally require both: start with an intellectual advantage and apply yourself.
The reason I am an advocate for individualized education is that without sufficient challenge, many gifted youth learn to slack off rather than apply themselves.
People who say things like Godin did make my job harder.
Gifted people are often seen as “weird” when compared to neurotypical people. Many adults suffered hugely for this as children. Godin’s exhortations over the years for people to embrace and display their unique qualities have spoken deeply and soothingly to many who keep my company in the world of gifted advocacy. Friday’s blog post hurt them deeply. And I understand why.
None of these people are people who think there is any value in being gifted for its own sake. In fact, most of them have suffered because of their giftedness. All of them agree that hard work is necessary for achievement.
Either Godin doesn’t understand or he is being deliberatively provocative. Either way, he pissed my friends off and I am mad at him.
I am not the only one. Here are some other responses to Godin’s post. Check them out and then come back and tell me what you think:
- Sething It All Wrong from Gifted and Talented Ireland, the only specialist website for teachers of Exceptionally Able children in Ireland.
- What Seth Godin Doesn’t Get About “Gifted” from Pamela Price at Red, White and Grew has a great overview of information about what giftedness is and why gifted kids have special educational needs.
- Actually, Mr. Godin, We ARE Born This Way from Jen Merrill, author of If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back?
- Actually, It Goes Both Ways, from Lisa Rivero at Psychology Today points out that innate giftedness is a real phenomenon AND practice and talent development are necessary components of achievement
- Gifted is About the Starting Point from the mother of a profoundly gifted teenager
- If Only You Were Right, Seth, But… from the Editor in Chief of GHF Press, the publications arm of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum
- What Seth Godin Doesn’t Understand About Gifted People